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As far as feedback on the Posture Perfect!TM class goes, it has not only met my expectations, but exceeded them! There are several reasons I enjoy the class...
The Sequoia Advisor
IN THIS ISSUE November 15th, 2009
Feel Better... Live Better
Strong to the Core
by Woody McMahon
So What is Your "Core?"
The Core is defined as the muscles of the lower back, abdominal region,
pelvic area and diaphragm. Whenever you lift or move, these muscles are
designed to work together to stabilize the body. If these muscles do not
function correctly, then greater stress and possible injury to the spine
are the result. Traditionally, sit-ups, leg lifts and back extensions have
been used to strengthen these muscles. However, these are not the best
exercises to properly engage the core during lifting and moving activities.
The Core is best strengthened in the standing, kneeling or unstable
sitting position (like that found on a fitness ball). Multidirectional
movements are more effective at helping the Core muscles activate in the
proper sequence and at the correct time. Exercises performed on the floor
for Core strengthening are less effective because the important
proprioception (signals) from the feet are not involved. These foot signals
are crucial for the proper timing of the muscular contractions. Proper
function of the Core is also dependent on breathing.
The Importance of Breathing
The proper function of the Core is tied to the breathing cycle though the
diaphragm. During lifting or any other exertional movement, the properly timed
out-breath helps to raise the diaphragm. Breathing synchronizes the diaphragm
with the other muscle of the Core resulting in stabilization of the spine
and pelvis. Lack of or backwards breathing robs the Core of one of its key
muscular components. Improper breathing will also raise blood pressure and
reduce oxygen transfer in the lungs placing unhealthy stress on the heart
and vascular system.
Getting the Most From Your Core
Getting proper stabilization of the spine and pelvis is as much a timing
event as it is an issue of strength. Training the Core to perform like you
would use it in real life is the best way to maximize performance. That
means a majority of your Core exercises should be movement based and
multidirectional. The intensity of each exercise will depend upon your
conditioning and ability to control your body movements. Here are three
Core exercises that will work magic on your body.
Plank (also called Bridge)
Lie on the floor face down like you are going to perform a push-up. Instead
of your hands being on the floor, place your upper body weight on your
elbows and forearms. Now with the upper body weight on your elbows and
forearms, get on your toes and lift your hips until your body is perfectly
parallel to the floor. Hold this position for up to 3 minutes (beginners may
need to start at 30 seconds). Be sure to breathe regularly during the
entire time. Do not let your hips sag at any
time during the hold.
Walking Lunge with Single Arm Press
Start with a single dumbbell you can handle comfortably. Place the
dumbbell next to your shoulder. Start your walking lunge by taking a bigger
than normal step forward. Once you have your balance, press the weight
above your head as you breathe out. Return the weight to the starting
position and then take your next step and repeat the arm press. Once you
have done six or eight with one hand do the same number with your other
Walkout on the Fitness Ball
Start by lying face down on a fitness ball with your hands and feet
touching the ground. Walk your hands forward away from the ball letting
your feet leave the floor. Make sure to keep your back and legs straight as
you continue to walk forward. Go as far as you can without falling off or
until your feet touch the back of the ball. Make sure to keep your hips
elevated and back straight all the time. Walk your hands back towards the
ball making sure to keep your legs straight and feet off the ground.
Exercise is one of three important lifestyle habits essential for good
health. If you have special needs then a health and fitness expert with
special training is essential as well. Contact me to discuss how Fresh Start
can help make the most of your exercise time by building a stronger body
the right way.
With my unique program you'll improve balance, strength, flexibility, energy
and stamina while feeling and looking your best. Call Woody McMahon at
703-464-5171 to schedule your no cost Fresh Start consultation. You can also
email to Woody@SequoiaHealth.com.
Don't Let Stress Get the Best of You
by Woody McMahon
Stress Affects it All
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to do all the right things and
then wake up one morning and have a heart attack? Or, have you been curious
why, after going to the doctor, all of your tests come back negative and
you still feel like poop? These are both good examples of how the negative
effects of stress are not being effectively managed. When uncontrolled,
stress can slowly erode your quality of life turning it from joyful to
painful. But why does this happen and is there anything you can do about
Brain Controls Body, Not the Other Way Around
Understanding how your body works goes a long way to fixing the problem.
The brain is connected through the nervous system to every single cell in
your body. Said another way, what goes on in your head is directly
transmitted to all of the cells in your body. These communications from the
brain either give your cells a healthy pep talk or a severe berating. If
you think this doesn't happen, what is that little feeling in the pit of
your stomach when you have nervous or scared thoughts? Conversely, when
you are in love, those thoughts of walking on clouds make you feel just the
Stress Neutralizes Other Healthy Lifestyle Changes
The big unrecognized problem is that stressful thoughts can undo many
other healthy behaviors. So let's say, with all the best intentions, you
try to eat right, make it to the gym and do your workout, take your
vitamins, drink lots of water and go to the chiropractor, massage therapist
or acupuncturist for preventive health. Is this going to be enough to keep
you healthy? Unfortunately the research says no. All these positive actions
can help reduce the negative effects of stress but they cannot compete with
24/7 stressful thought patterns.
Tackling Stress Head-on
The secret to dramatically improving health and longevity is to create a
healthy shift in the messages you send to your cells. Can you do this? Sure
you can. Science has now shown that our thought patterns are learned and
not inherited. So along with the other healthy lifestyle habits mentioned
above, an equal balance of activities to help change your brain to cell
messages is essential good health. Here are some suggestions for improving
the messages your brain is sending to your body.
#1) Make Time for Yourself
Whenever anyone says "I don't have enough time to do that because," it is
really a secret code for "I don't want to do that." Using jobs, kids and
other assorted reasons as a part of your "I don't have enough time to do
that because" statements is not a good idea either. The truth is that you
can find the time to do those things you want to do. Making time for you
sends a positive and healthy message to your body saying "I care about
myself." It is a crucial lesson that yields enormous health benefits.
Remember the old saying, "If you don't look out for yourself, who will?"
#2) Switch to Positive Self-Talk
Instead of "I feel or look fat" you can try "I am glad I have enough food
to eat to even be fat" and "If I want to weigh less, I can just eat less of
all that food I am so fortunate to have." Looking for the positive in your
life (yes everybody has some) and thinking about that immediately reduces
stress and improves your brain to cell communications. Positive self-talk
will also allow you to achieve your goals faster.
#3) Practice Meditation for Mental Centering and Balance
Feeling healthier and happier is all about reducing the confusion in your
head. Meditation is nothing more than switching your focus. Sitting
quietly, listening to music, becoming engrossed in an interesting hobby or
taking a relaxing walk and suddenly realizing you have lost track of time
are all forms of meditation. Meditation helps quiet and balance your mind
and improves the cellular communications.
Stress is the #1 cause of excess weight gain. Follow our Fresh Start
Healthy Weight! system and you can reduce your weight and improve your
health at the same time. We provide the education, motivation and
accountability necessary to improve your health while helping you feel and look
your best. For a no cost consultation, please call Woody McMahon at
703-464-5171 or email to Woody@SequoiaHealth.com.
Pets and People
Thanksgiving Pet Tips
by Ingrid King
Check out the following tips from the ASPCA experts for a fulfilling Thanksgiving
that your pets can enjoy, too.
If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it's boneless
and well-cooked. Don't offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delicious, but it and many other
herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and
central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are
especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.
No Bread Dough
Don't spoil your pet's holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to
ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal's body heat causes
the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting,
severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency,
Don't Let Them Eat Cake
If you're baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs-they could contain salmonella bacteria that
may lead to food poisoning.
Too Much of a Good Thing
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick
of pumpkin pie shouldn't pose a problem. However, don't allow your pets to overindulge,
as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse-an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it's best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.
Keeping these tips in mind will ensure a happy and healthy Thanksgiving for all family members, human and furry!
Ingrid King is a former veterinary hospital manager turned writer. She publishes
the E-zine News for You and Your Pet, covering topics ranging from conscious
living to holistic and alternative health. She shares her experiences with
consciously creating a joyful, happy and healthy life for pets and people on her
popular blog, The Conscious Cat. Ingrid lives in Northern Virginia with her
tortoiseshell cat Amber. Visit http://www.ingridking.com/
Osteoporosis Support Group Meeting
"Healthy Bones Come From a Healthy Body" Woody McMahon
Topic: Weight Training Clinic: Come Learn to Lift Safely
Date: Tuesday December 8th
Time: 6 to 7 pm
Place: Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc
483A Carlisle Drive, Herndon, VA
Come dressed in comfortable clothes and bring water. For questions and
reservations please contact Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email to
Do All You Can For Your Bones
Be Bone Strong! makes it possible to reduce fracture risk by helping you change your
lifestyle. Along with your doctor, we help you create and implement an effective
osteoporosis treatment plan. We support and educate you in making important lifestyle
decisions that will improve your condition. We also offer a sympathetic ear and shoulder
to lean on until you get over the unnecessary fear and worry of your situation.
With the use of Skype, emails, phone calls and the internet, you can benefit from the
only complete osteoporosis prevention and repair program. Video consultations,
stress reduction activities, healthy eating plans and functional weight bearing programs
all available in the comfort of your own home over your computer.
Be Bone Strong! is unlike other programs that just focus on dietary changes, calcium and
vitamin D to increase bone density. Be Bone Strong! works to modify ALL the lifestyle
factors that help you increase bone quality.
Our unique three step process makes it easier to improve bone strength faster:
Step 1: Personalized Osteoporosis Lifestyle Assessment
Step 2: Comprehensive "Make My Bones Strong" Plan and Program
Step 3: Implementation Support, Motivation and Consultation
Follow The "Big 5 for Healthy Bones" and you can't go wrong:
1. Increase daily stress reduction activities. This helps lower cortisol and homocystein
levels while reducing calcium loss.
2. Safe and sufficient weight bearing exercise to stimulate muscle growth and balance. This is essential for increasing bone quality and preventing falls.
3. Dietary changes that balance protein with fruit and vegetable intake.
Fruits and veggies contain greater amounts of water, minerals and antioxidants with generally lesser amounts of animal protein to reduce total body inflammation.
4. Establish year round vitamin D3 levels in the 50-80 ng/mL (or 125-200 nM/L).
This should be confirmed by regular 25-hydroxyvitamin D testing.
5. Calculate optimum water intake for maximum hydration. Water is very important
in helping the kidneys regulate pH and detoxify the body.
Test your bone knowledge and take our Strong Bones Healthy Body Quiz at http://sequoiahealth.com/hbquiz_
To learn more about Be Bone Strong! Online or to schedule a free consultation, please go to
http://www.sequoiahealth.com/ and click on Be Bone Strong!
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) 2006-2009 by Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.