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The Sequoia Advisor

Important News You Can Use                 September 1st 2016

  • Building a Better Bone and Brain Health Exercise Program (Part 2)
  • Tai Chi... Moving for Better Balance
  • Up and Coming Health and Fitness Events

Feel Better... Live Better

Building a Better Bone and Brain Health Exercise Program
(Part 2 of 4)

by Woody McMahon

Phase 1 Improving or Re-Starting Your Fitness Program  
In the last article I spoke extensively about exercise and its beneficial effects on your physical and mental health. I also briefly outlined the three phase approach that I have
adopted after extensive research into adult fitness programs. I came to the conclusion that exercise programs developed for over age 50 adults  must be different.  Why? Because older adults have different goals and needs than their younger counterparts. They also have many more health problems (mental heath as an example) that must be addressed in any well designed fitness program. Combined, these differences scream for a new, more novel, more scientifically supported approach to fitness.   

The Three Phase Approach
Last time I said the exercise programs that you find at the local health club, YMCA or Yoga center are not well designed or suited for the fitness needs of older adults. Many of these programs have exercise safety issues and increase, not reduce the risk of fractures. Put another way, the exercises place abnormal stresses on the body creating safety concerns, don't address spinal and hip stabilization and are not targeted to ADL's. I also suggested that a well designed exercise program for bone and general health must contain three phases allowing the body to transition from a sedentary to active state.

Today's article is going to focus on Phase 1. This phase  provides activities to increase muscular stabilization. What does that mean? It means that the exercises that you learn in Phase 1 are designed to stabilize and support your spine and hips. These are the very joints that are most vulnerable to fracture and are most needed in more advanced balance and fall prevention activities. After careful study, I have adopted the Sara Meeks, PT exercises because they are an excellent first step to better bone, back and general heath. You can watch a demo video here.

Phase 1 Preventing Spine and Hip Fractures
The spine and hips are the foundation of your body. Fractures in these two areas of the body have life changing consequences. Many people do not survive a hip fracture or if they do, their quality of life is greatly reduced. Research has shown that the muscles that surround and attach to the hips and spine help protect these two important area of your body from fracture. Stronger muscles stabilize and strengthen these areas helping reduce fractures as well as improving your ability to move, stay independent and have fun in life.  

The Meeks Method
Bone and spine health are a big concern for everyone over age 50. Back problems, hip and knee pain, shoulder and neck trouble, arthritis and osteoporosis, along with a host of other medical problems, complicate any fitness program.  The exercises developed by Sara Meeks, PT and included in The Meeks Method are a great starting point for every older adult. Practicing and gaining mastery of  the exercises helps reduce or eliminate many of the above mentioned painful bone health problems. These exercises remain as the foundation for any well designed adult exercise program.

When diagnosed, most women get hyper-focused on their bone density score instead of their fracture risk. Reducing or eliminating fractures is the key. If you don't fracture then if really doesn't matter what your bone density score is or does. Something that also gets lost in the mix is that stronger stabilization muscles help reduce fractures. With a diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis most doctors will recommend weight bearing exercise, weight lifting exercise or Yoga along with walking. Unfortunately even though this is well intentioned advice, it is not the best course of action. Learning the Phase 1 exercises and postural changes first is the best way prevent fractures and increase both stability and safety.

Back Pain
Back pain needlessly affects millions of people every year. The Phase 1 exercises are a potent way to reduce and eliminate back problems. Improving muscular strength in the spine and hips as well as increasing spinal and hip stability solves most common back complaints. Practicing and following the Phase 1 exercises and postural changes helps eliminate back problems forever and lays the foundation for the more advanced Phase 2 and 3 exercise programming.  

Phase 1 Science-Based Exercise Tips
Following my three phase fitness approach increases the safety, effectiveness and function of your exercise program. Make sure to watch the video above and next time we will flush-out the details of phase 2 and 3. In the mean time, for increased safety and effectiveness, consider the following:

  1. Learn and practice the Phase 1 exercises and postural changes daily.
  2. Sit less and stand more in all aspects of your life.
  3. Limit or eliminate your seated exercise time by shifting to standing exercises instead.
  4. Eliminate the treadmill and bike and instead use dynamic walking, balance and/or walking pole drills.
  5. Practice your balance exercises daily.
  6. Remember your posture has a greater positive or negative 24 hour effect on your body than all of the exercises you will ever perform.   

Until next time....

Sign-Up for a No Cost 30 Minute (In-Person or By Phone) Health Strategy Session!
I provide in-person and phone based health strategy sessions to help you get more from your health and fitness program. In 20 minutes we can cover a lot of ground, and if your situation warrants it, schedule a full heath and fitness assessment to get you back on the right track. Contact me anytime to schedule at 703-628-2880 or email to

Tai Chi... Moving for Better Balance Classes Start February 2017 in Ashburn at Loudoun County Area Agency on Aging!

Fall Prevention and Balance Program! 

Scientific studies have shown that practicing Tai Chi can be an effective tool for improving your balance and reducing falls. I teach the Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance classes; a Tai Chi based fall prevention and balance program that has been scientifically shown to improve balance and reduce falls by up to 55%.

Click Here to Watch Dr. Li the Developer and Researcher of This Program Teach a Class>>>

For more information please contact Woody McMahon at 703.628.2880 or email to

We are seeking additional community Fall Prevention partners in the Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington counties. Please contact me for more information.

A Commitment to Fall Prevention
At Sequoia Health we are committed to helping our clients and the community prevent falls and fractures. Problems with your balance can occur at any age and generally develop slowly over time. Better balance and a stronger body are THE KEYS to preventing falls, fractures and improving the quality of your life. To read more about our fall prevention program and testing go to

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

Up and Coming Events

S.A.I.L Instructor Training at Marymount University
S.A.I.L is an acronym for Stay Active and Independent for a Lifetime. I was invited to participate in the S.A.I.L instructor training on Wednesday September 21st as a part of the Northern Virginia Falls Prevention Coalition. Being able to teach the S.A.I.L exercise program along with Posture Perfect!TM and Tai Chi Moving for Better Balance will be a great asset to all of my clients fitness programs.


Falls & Fractures!
We Can Help You Stay Safe!

A Simple 10 Minute Test That Can Save Your Life!

Our Fall Prevention Screening offers three simple tests that can accurately predict your risk of falls, future mobility and balance that can lead to fractures and other injuries. These tests are a part of the CDC- STEADI Fall Prevention Program. Once you know your score and risk level, we'll help you create a falls prevention and balance program to reduce your risk of falling. You can practice these simple activities at home or join one of our Falls Prevention Classes.

To lean more go to Fall Prevention Screening and watch the videos that demonstrate the tests that we will use in your screening. For more information or to schedule your screening contact Woody McMahon at 703.628.2880 or 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.



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) 2006-2016 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