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The Sequoia Advisor

IN THIS ISSUE                                                               September 1st 2015

  • Sit Less... Stand More... Live Longer!
  • Plants Help Make Your Home Healthier
  • NEW Evidence-Based Falls Prevention Classes
  • Volunteers Needed for the LivMD Investigational Study
  • Posture Perfect!TM  Try Your First Class for FREE!

Feel Better... Live Better

Sit Less... Stand More... Live Longer!
By Woody McMahon

Stand More and Sit Less
The health benefits of standing more and sitting less are becoming more and more apparent. Several studies on the effects of prolonged sitting have confirmed what we already intuitively know. Sitting too much, a.k.a, a sedentary lifestyle, is just not good for your health or longevity. One study, conducted in 2009, says the following and I quote:

"prolonged bouts of sitting time and a lack of whole-body muscular movement are strongly associated with obesity, abnormal glucose metabolism, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and cancer as well as total mortality and "are" independent of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity." It is important to note that this study did not look at the dramatic increase in falls and injuries that occur in people who sit for long periods of time.

As I tell clients all the time, "Sitting more only makes you better at sitting." You need to stand more and sit less.

Move It or Lose It
In a nutshell, the researchers found two things. First, the more you sit the greater your relative risk for chronic illness and disease. This is probably the result of decreased circulation and reduced oxygen levels in the blood. Second, they found that long periods of sitting can actually neutralize the health gains that you receive from regular exercise. This finding is worth being aware of even though the reasons behind it are unclear.

Sit Less, Stand More
Spending less time sitting can significantly improve your health and reinforce your exercise efforts. Researchers also found that for "each 1-hour increase in sitting time watching television increased the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure and blood sugar and increased belly fat) in women by 26%, independent of the amount of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical exercise performed. This was approximately the same quantity of decreased risk (28%) of the metabolic syndrome that was induced by 30 minutes of extra physical exercise."

What This Means to You
The authors have discovered an important premise when it comes to your health and activity levels. They agree that exercise based physical activity improves your health in many ways. No one argues this point anymore. They were also able to show that non-exercise activity was as important to your health as structured exercise. Examples of non-exercise based activity include using the stairs, housework, walking to the copier or bathroom, doing housework, yardwork and walking instead of using a car. The authors found that the more non-exercise activity that is incorporated into your daily life, the less chance you have of developing the diseases mentioned above.

Do Not Sit When You Exercise
Unless you are forced to exercise sitting because of severe balance or leg problems, don't. When you sit, the compressive forces on your spine are multiplied 100 fold. Combine the sitting position with say an overhead press and you are creating a potentially dangerous situation inviting vertebral compression fractures (breaks). This is especially true if you are over age 50 or have been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis. Standing is the best position for a majority of your exercise program. When you stand you also get additional benefits such as better balance, back, hip and leg stability and increased stamina and coordination.

Activity Substitutions Can Boost Your Health
The authors of this study are NOT saying that you should stay in constant motion during the day. Sleep, resting and daily naps are all still a very good health practices as is participating in a regular health-based exercise sessions. They are suggesting that your health can be significantly improved by just moving a little bit more during the day. When creating a healthy activity plan, it is important to look at activity levels both outside and inside a structured exercise plan. So to maximize your health, try these simple activity substitutions:

1. Climb stairs rather than using the elevators and escalators.

2. Take a 5 minute active break such as going to the copier or the
    bathroom every hour during sedentary work.

3. Walk to the store or to lunch rather than taking your car.

4. Rake leaves rather than using a leaf blower.

5. Stand to talk on the phone instead of sitting.

6. Consider a standing desk to check email and social media.

Finally, remember to include 180 minutes of moderate-intensity physical exercise a week 2 hours of which should emphasize balance training. That comes down to about 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week.

Would you like help in getting the most from your current exercise program? Maybe you would like to begin an exercise program and don't know where to start? I provide easy to follow health-based exercise programs that help improve your bone health, posture, balance and strength while reducing fall and fracture risk. Contact me anytime for a no cost consultation at 703-628-2880 or send an email to

Plants Help Make Your Home Healthier
by Woody McMahon

Chemicals in Your Home
Your home can be a potentially unfriendly mix of volatile organic chemicals (VOC's) like formaldehyde, molds and other contaminants. The EPA has identified as many as 900 VOC's inside homes coming from clothing, furniture, paints and carpets. These VOC's can also be released into your home from fertilizers, glues, plywood, fiberboard, particleboard and certain types of insulation Another source can come from some disinfectants, antibacterial soaps and even beauty products. You spend many hours in your home so you want the environment to be as healthy as possible.

Healthy House Plants
Bill Wolverton, an environmental scientist and retired senior researcher at NASA, has been studying the air cleaning effects of indoor plants for about 25 years. He has found that certain indoor plants can remove harmful chemicals as well as molds, viruses and bacteria while increasing oxygen levels. In an interview with PBS, he said, "We're wise to use plants. Much of our furniture is made of synthetic materials; there are pollutants in carpets, bedding – even mattresses."

Nature's Air Filters
Plants are ‘nature's living air filters' that can literally suck out these pollutants absorb them and break them down." There is a
misconception that plants are bad for people who have allergy and asthma symptoms. Interestingly, Mr. Wolverton's research has shown just the opposite. Plants actually remove allergic irritants helping symptoms rather than increasing them.

How Do Plants Keep Air Clean
In the soil, plants have natural colonies of "friendly" bacteria growing on their extensive root systems. To make food as a plant grows; it absorbs chemicals, airborne microbes and carbon dioxide through the leaves and releases oxygen in return. The bacteria, viruses and VOC's are transferred to the root system where they are destroyed by the bacterial colonies. The benefit of houseplants is their ability to increase oxygen levels while reducing harmful levels of contaminants.

How Many Plants Do I Need?
NASA research showed that generally two 6 inch potted plants per room was enough to provide a dramatic improvement in air quality. The larger the plants the more air they were able to clean. NASA also found certain plants are better air cleaners than other. Here is a list of beneficial plants you should have in your home.

Healthy Plant List

- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

- Lady palm (Rhapis excelsa)

- Areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)

- Ficus alii (Ficus macleilandii)

- Peace lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)

- Golden pothos (Epipremnun aureum)

- Arrowhead vine (Syngonium podophyllum)

- Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifritzii)

- Dwarf Date palm (Phoenix roebelenii)

- Rubber plant (Ficus robusta)

- English ivy (Hedera helix)

For more information on Bill Wolverton's research on healthy house plants go to

House plants are just one of the many ways that you can improve your health and wellbeing. If you are interested in learning how to feel better naturally or need health and fitness suggestions and advice on living a healthier lifestyle, email or call me for a no cost consultation at 703-628-2880 or send an email to

NEW An Evidence-Based Falls Prevention Program! 

Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance
Better balance is THE KEY to preventing falls, fractures and improving your quality of life. Recently I had the privilege of taking a 2 day, 16 hour training in an innovative, evidence-based falls prevention program called Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance (Tai Ji Quan is also known as Tai Chi in this country) with Dr. Li of the Oregon Research Institute. I am currently the only instructor authorized to teach this course in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia.

What makes this program so unique is that it has been shown through scientific and clinical research papers to reduce the frequency of falls by over 50%. Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance modifies traditional Tai Chi movements and creates a unique, therapeutic balance system. The movements and activities integrate motor, sensory and cognitive components to improve postural control, balance, gait and enhance performance of daily functional tasks and mobility for older adults. The classes are especially helpful for those who have movement and cognitive impairments and balance challenges such as
with Parkinson's and Alzheimers's disease.

Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance is a 2 hour a week, 24 week program that has the potential to prevent and manage various diseases by improving balance, circulation, coordination, confidence, well-being and quality of life in middle-aged and older adults. It is a great addition to the CDC recommended goal of participating in 150 minutes of regular exercise per week.

To introduce as many people as possible to thos wonderful program, I am offering FREE introductory classes for the Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance functional therapy program. 

For more information please contact Woody McMahon at 703-628-2880 or by email to

Give the Gift of Health!
Posture Perfect!TM Classes...

Looking for the perfect healthy birthday gift for someone? Consider purchasing a gift certificate for one or several Posture Perfect!TM classes. Gift certificate amounts start at $25. This is the perfect gift, the gift of health, to give to someone you love.



LivMD Updates

More Volunteers Need for Our LivMD
Investigational Study

We are conducting an investigation study of the Marodyne LivMD Low Intensity Vibration device. We are looking for a wide range of study participants with a broad set of health conditions. The study will collect a variety of information from the volunteers to assess the effectiveness of the LivMD for:

  • Improving Circulation
  • Restoring motion to joints
  • Redeveloping muscles
  • Assisting as an adjunct treatment for obesity
  • Relieving aches and pains throughout the body

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer study participant, please contact Woody McMahon at 703.628.2880 or email to

Here is a testimonial about the LivMD from a psychotherapist in Rhode Island. She read about the LivMD in my newsletter and then decided to buy one and give it a try. Here is her testimonial in its entirety:

"Hi Woody,

I love it!  No back pain any longer and my last osteo scan stunned my doctor showing the first improvement in #s ever.  She said it was a statistically significant change.  I was using it twice a day 7 days a week.  My balance has been much, much improved, energy higher, focus better, sleeping longer.  I sent Marodyne a quick note letting them know the results even though I hadn't been using it very long.  There were no other changes I had made other than the platform.

My life became very sedentary a few months due to other health events. Tests couldn't find anything and I became curious about lymph problems that could be causing the extreme lower leg edema.  I looked at recent research on the LivMD and saw that it can also help with that - hooray! So, I'm back on the machine as of Tuesday - not as vigorous because my feet hurt - hopefully that will improve.

No one I know personally owns one, but a few clients have reported their gyms employ vibrating devices.  Their descriptions make me think they are higher in vibration. They haven't reported any exercises that were added to their routines by the gyms.   I put mine outside on nice days (covered porch) and let people know they can come by on days when I'm working and use it.  (I'm a psychotherapist with a home office.)

Thanks for the check-in - as ever I wish you were in Rhode Island and value your newsletter.  If you ever make videos for purchase of your programs, please let me know.  Are you thinking of exercises people can do while ON the LivMD or in conjunction with its use?

Kyle Hopkins"

Posture Perfect!TM First Class FREE

If you have never tried Posture Perfect!TM you owe it to yourself to come to one of our convenient classes and see how good it makes you feel. We want you to give us a try. Come take your first Posture Perfect!TM class for FREE. It's on us... what do you have to lose?

Please call Woody McMahon at 703.628.2880 or email to for more information or to make your reservation.

The FREE Posture Perfect!TM class helps introduce you to the many benefits of our safe and effective posture, balance and strength program co-developed by Sara Meeks, PT and Woody McMahon, personal trainer.

Come and experience how each class can help strengthen your bones, improve your balance, alleviate back aches and neck pains, improve osteoporosis and teach you how to sit and stand-up straighter. 

The History of Posture Perfect!TM
When I developed the Posture Perfect!TM classes over 2 years ago, there were no safe and effective exercise programs available for "over age 50" adults. Everywhere I looked there were older adults in classes that used seated exercises (bad for your back); machine style exercises (bad for your balance) treadmills (a poor hip and leg strengthener); and performed movements
that involved crunching, bending and twisting. (increases the risk of spinal compression fractures).

Posture Perfect!TM solved all of these problems by offering a safe and effective approach helping older adults become more active. Each class improves your posture, strengthens your bones, enhances your balance, alleviates back aches and neck pains, reduces fracture risk and teaches you how to sit and stand-up straighter. 

We have several people in our current classes who are coming to strengthen their bones and over half of the others are interested in exercises and posture changes to help make their backs and necks feel better.

Please call Woody McMahon at 703-628-2880 or email to for more information, class times and reservations.

Posture Perfect!TM Testimonials...
Posture Perfect's! momentum continues to grow. Here is a glowing testimonial from one of our class members.

"Posture Perfect!TM class has not only met my expectations, but exceeded them! There are several reasons I enjoy the class. The small class size gives each of us extraordinary personalized training; your knowledge, expertise, patience, and sense of humor makes me look forward to coming to a class I thought would be only for 6 weeks; and I have learned so much more than I expected."

"For example, I now think about my posture every time I sit, and just when I thought I'd begin to have a hard time rising from sitting on the floor, you taught me how to make it easier. I try to practice some of the balance exercises a couple of times a week (I know, I should do it more often!). I thank you for all I have learned from you so far, and hope to continue this class for the foreseeable future!"
Paula S.

Read more about S.A.F.E. and effective Posture Perfect!TM classes.

Continued Good Health,


Woody McMahon
The Sequoia Advisor

Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.
483A Carlisle Drive
Herndon, VA

Required Disclaimer: The material provided herein should not be construed as a health-care diagnosis, treatment regimen or any other prescribed health-care advice or instruction. The material is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of medicine or any other health-care profession and does not enter into a health-care practitioner/patient relationship with its readers. The publisher does not advise or recommend to its readers treatment or action with regard to matters relating to their health or well-being other than suggesting that readers consult appropriate health-care professionals in such matters. No action should be taken based solely on the content of this publication. The material and opinions provided herein are believed to be accurate and sound at the time of publication, based on the best judgment available to the authors. However, readers who rely on material in this publication to replace the advice of health-care professionals, or who fail to consult with health-care professionals, assume all risks of such conduct. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.

Copyright (c) 2006-2015 by Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.


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    A mindful and holistic approach to Fall Prevention, Balance, Full Body Functional Strengthening and Posture Exercises for All Ages! Our Science-Based Exercises are Safe and Appropriate for Your Ability. Our Exercises Help Improve Osteoporosis, Osteopenia, Fear of Falling, Balance and Strength Problems. Reston, Great Falls, Herndon, Middleburg, Arlington Sterling and Northern Virginia.

    483A Carlisle Drive
    Herndon, VA 20170

    300 West Washington Street
    Middleburg, VA 20118