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The Sequoia Advisor
IN THIS ISSUE                                                                September 15, 2008 
  • Putting a Stop to Foot Pain
  • Six Pack Absession
  • Sign-up... Whack-it League is
    Coming in the Fall
  • Free Active Adults FITT Testing Program
    for Current Clients



Putting a Stop to Foot Pain

Foot Pain Limits Healthy Activity

The worst thing that can happen is to have foot pain. Aching feet can keep you on the sidelines and prevent you from participating in healthy activities. Once you have painful feet, it can be very difficult to fix the problem. It turns out that foot pain is very common among societies that wear shoes but almost non-existent in barefoot cultures. For many years researchers were puzzled by this trend thinking shoes should be a good thing. But little by little, shoes became the obvious cause and the villain. Shoes are important in foot protection but how do you keep your feet healthy and still wear shoes?


How Your Feet Work

The feet are the most complicated bony structures in your body. Every time you take a step, the bones of the feet must absorb the shock forces created by your foot hitting the ground. Much like a bridge, your foot has an arch to support weight. Muscles in the foot support the arch and give it a normal healthy curve. When your heel strikes the ground, your foot must first be soft and pliable to absorb shock.

To push forward in the next step, your very same foot must become rigid. This constant soft then stiffing cycle is what makes your feet a wonder of science and engineering. When this shock absorption/ propulsion cycle does not work effectively, the result is excess shock. The shock is transmitted to your feet, ankles, knees, hips and back causing inflammation, pain and stiffness. Weak foot muscles, tight calf muscles and restrictive footwear disrupts the normal cycle.


Why Your Feet Hurt

The majority of foot pain comes from two conditions: Plantar Fasciitis and Bunions.
Both of these foot problems are to a large degree preventable. Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue along the bottom of your feet. This band becomes inflamed because of weak foot muscles, tight calf muscles and restrictive footwear. The longer this band stays inflamed the more scar tissue will develop. Bunions are a similar problem resulting from too much pressure being applied to the big toe when walking. Again, weak foot muscles, tight calf muscles and restrictive footwear play a role in bunion formation.


Some Costly and Failed Options
Most health and fitness professionals will prescribe either orthotics or supportive shoes. Both of these options are ineffective at solving foot pain. Orthotics artificially support your foot and over time, like any supportive device, weaken the foot muscles making the problem even worse. Supportive shoes act much like a cast binding and restricting your feet from normal movement. Over time this restricted movement also weakens the muscles causing more problems for your feet.  


Begin the Healing

Like any problem address the cause and your feet will start to feel good again. To begin, start wearing soft soled shoes that are super-flexible. This is your best choice for footwear. Even with athletic shoes, cheaper shoes that are soft are better than expensive shoes. Stay away from shoes with pronation control and other arch support features. What ever shoes you choose make sure you can bend it so that the heel and toe touch easily. Secondly stretch your legs and feet regularly. Therapeutic stretching requires holding each stretch for 1 to 2 minutes. For maximum benefit, only stretch after activity when your muscles and joints are warm. Next use Epsom Salt baths or foot soaks to help reduce swelling and ice massage on the plantar fascia to stimulate healing and control pain. Finally, go barefoot as often as possible to help strengthen the muscles of your feet. Grass and sand are particularly good foot strengtheners because they are soft and uneven to walk on.

When it comes to feeling better, having the right program makes all the difference  between success and failure. End the struggle with a painful body once and for all.
Contact us for more information on Fresh Start Active Adults or to schedule your free
Fresh Start consultation. Call Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email to to learn more. 



Six Pack Absession


Those Ads are Ridiculous

Watching the television ads talking about the latest and greatest fitness gismo that will "shed inches off your waistline" or give you "six pack abs" has become quite a comedy show. Whoever decided that seeing your abs is important was a genius. The big question is "who really wants or needs six pack abs anyway?" Everybody, right? Where did this obsession with our abdominal muscles come from? If you have six pack abs, do you attract more girls? Are you a healthier person? Can you play better tennis or basketball? And for you ladies out there, do you think the "skinny mini" look of the super models is attractive? Think again.


The Good Old Abdominal Muscle
Anatomically speaking, the abdominal muscle is no more important than any other muscle in your body. In the northern latitudes, the abs are cover-up so you can't even see it half the time. The "ripped" abdominal muscle look, AKA Six Pack Abs, is a mythical proposition handed down by the bodybuilding community. If you are a bodybuilder, developing muscular size and definition is important for competition. To win, you want the biggest; most defined and balanced muscular body possible. As a bodybuilder, you don't care about winning more tennis matches, enjoying better stamina when skiing, hitting a golf ball farther or having a stronger heart and lungs. The judges won't ask you to do real work. They just ask you to stand there and flex your muscles.


Succumbing to Marketing Fluff
Granted, many top quality athletes have very defined abs but that's not because they do a thousand sit-ups everyday. No, it's because their lifestyle, which is actually their training style, dictates a strict exercise and eating regime. Whether you see your abdominal muscles or not has more to do with the layer of fat covering them (determined by how much you eat) than all the crunches you could ever do or Abdominizers you could ever buy. Save your money for more healthful pursuits and don't bite on the hype from the exercise marketing machine that says abs are important.

All Show and No Go
There are two important reasons to exercise. The first is for your health and the second is to keep you in top shape making it more fun to participate in activities. One of the funniest sights ever was the World's Strongest Man contest that pitted strongmen against bodybuilders. The point was to show that bodybuilders by and large are not real athletes. Bodybuilders can lift large amounts of weight but they can't use their strength in a practical way. In the contest, bodybuilders and strongmen had to push refrigerators, lift 300 pound stones and try to pull a car. What was the final outcome? The bodybuilders looked pretty good as they tried to execute the tasks but they performed miserably because they could not match the strength, stamina or power of the strongmen. Interestingly, none of the strongmen were sporting six pack abs.  

What Makes More Sense?
Playing tennis, going to the gym, throwing a Frisbee or getting out your skateboard are all good forms of exercise. You now know that inactivity is not an option if you want good health. Inactive people experience many more health problems than physically active folks. When you do go to the gym, make it functional. Functional strength training (FST) helps you enjoy activities more by increasing your strength, stamina, flexibility and balance. FST is also good for your health increasing bone density and muscle mass; regulating your blood pressure and metabolism and rehabilitating and stabilizing knees, hips and back. Stop listening to and believing the hype and remember: There is no bad form of exercise; it really depends most on how you like to spend your time.


Staying active and physically fit is the best way to avoid chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, alzheimer's, osteoporosis and depression. Commit to Getting Active, Eating Healthier and Reducing Stress while living a healthier lifestyle. No matter how old you are, Fresh Start provides the education, motivation and accountability necessary to improve your health while helping you feel and look your best. For a free Fresh Start consultation, please call Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email to    


Sign-up for Fall Whack-it League Starting in September

Fall is fast approaching and we are starting our first 8 week Whack-it league. Each team will be playing an hour a week of doubles and/or singles. Find a partner and sign-up now. We will have a whole lot of fun and there will be prizes for the winning teams.
Whack-it is a fun and active way to: 

  • Reduce excess body fat
  • Improve muscle strength and bone density
  • Promote balance and body coordination
  • Develop eye hand coordination 
  • Strenghten heart and lungs and increase your stamina 

To sign-up your team or more information please contact:

Woody McMahon or Sigrid Jackman at 703-464-5171 or email to



Free Active Adult FITT Testing Program
for Current Clients

Your Conditioning is Important to Your Health
Research continues to show the positive effects of good physical conditioning on maintaining your heath and independence. You noticed I said physical conditioning not exercise; there is a big difference. Physical conditioning is a broader measure of fitness. It includes stamina, balance, flexibility and strength as its important components. Just going to the health club or Yoga studio is not enough to put you in good physical condition!


The Signs of Poor Physical Conditioning
The body will tell you when you're not paying enough attention to it. Stiff and sore muscles and joints, back and neck pain, shortness of breath walking up stairs, headaches, difficulty getting out of a chair, sleep trouble, arthritis and difficulty tying your shoes or putting on your pants are all signs of lack of physical conditioning. The best way to maintain your independence as you get older is to have a conditioning program that keeps your body in top condition.     


Testing for Physical Conditioning
We are offering FITT, the physical conditioning testing program affiliated with the Presidential Physical Fitness Awards program for adults. Once you complete the tests, you'll receive a conditioning score. You can compare your score with a national ranking system to see how well you did. For those interested in improving their score, we are offering an assessment fof your current fitness program; improved program design and conditioning classes specifically designed to improve your scores.    

The Time to Start is Now

It is easier than you think to improve your physical conditioning and your health.
Dedicating as little as three hours a week can make a significant difference in how you look and feel. Health problems don't need to slow you down or keep you from enjoying life unless you let them. Besides, getting active, eating healthier and reducing stress significantly improves most medical problems. Remember, it takes being proactive now if you want to be an Active Adult in the future.


Become An Active Adult Today
Testing is free for current clients and $39 for non-clients. Give us a call at 703-464-5171 or email to schedule your FITT test today.

You can also click on the link to take our
Health Investment Questionnaire, a great way to learn what it takes to stay independent and healthful for the rest of your life. 

Continued Good Health,


Woody McMahon

The Sequoia Advisor

Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.
483A Carlisle Dive
Herndon, VA 20170  

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) 2006-2008 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.

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