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The Sequoia Advisor
IN THIS ISSUE                                                          December 1, 2007 
  • Natural Light Chases the Blues Away
  • Six Pack Abs... Who Really Needs Them?
  • Give the Gift of Health 
  • Welcome to Suzanne Riley and Active Adults 




Natural Light Chases The Blues Away

The Daylight Hours Are Getting Shorter

It's that time of year again when the days are getting shorter and the amount of sunlight you receive is less and less. Getting enough natural light is important to your health. Changes in your hormone balance occur as the days get shorter and exposure to natural light is reduced. The disrupted hormone balance can lead to a lethargic and depressive mood. The symptoms associated with a lack of natural light are more noticeable in the winter when so much time is spent indoors. The type of weather your area experiences, cloudy days vs. sunny days, also has an impact on your total natural light exposure. 


How Does Natural Light Benefit Your Health

Natural or full-spectrum light, as it is called, is essential for good health because of its positive affects on hormone balance. Your brain requires a certain amount of natural light each and every day. The natural light that hits your retina (light gathering area inside the eye) is transmitted to an area of your brain called the pineal body. The pineal is the brain center for the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin regulates daily body rhythms, most notably the day/night cycle (circadian rhythms). Normal melatonin levels are important for natural sleep cycles and proper immune system function.


Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD

Just about this time of year, certain people who are extremely light sensitive start experiencing something called the "winter blues" or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is the most extreme version on the body and mind of a lack of natural light. People affected by SAD exhibit extreme depressive behavior and complain of a lack of energy, increased need for sleep, a craving for sweets and increased weight gain all as a result of decreased light exposure.  

How to Get Healthy Levels of Natural Light

During the summer, getting enough natural light is as easy as taking a walk for 10 to 15 minutes without glasses, sunglasses or contacts. Without these devices on the eyes, natural, full spectrum light easily passes into the eye, striking the retina and positively affecting your brain. In the winter, taking a 10 to 15 minute walk midday provides at least some natural light exposure. To augment your outdoor natural light time, you'll need to consider purchasing an indoor source of full spectrum lighting. The kitchen is a particularly good place for full spectrum lighting because of the amount of time most people spend cooking and eating.


The Benefits of Full Spectrum Indoor Lighting

Tailored Lighting has a patented full spectrum light source called SoLux. Their light sources replicate the daylight spectrum to near perfection. SoLux light sources have been verified by leading medical equipment and light therapy companies in Europe. These companies have incorporated the SoLux light source into their products with great success. No other light source is known to replicate daylight more accurately and precisely than SoLux.  The outstanding success stories from these European companies are a testament to Tailored Lighting's commitment to producing the best daylight simulation products for SAD and other light deprivation ailments. To learn more about indoors natural lighting options, go to SoLux Lighting and Your Health. 

In 2008, commit to Getting Active, Eating Healthier and Reducing Stress while living a healthier lifestyle. 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     



Six Pack Abs... Who Really Needs Them?


Those Ads are Ridiculous

Watching the television ads as they talk 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. Next in line are the weight loss programs showing you ridiculous before and after pictures with "results not typical" posted below. They are a hoot as well. The big question is "who really wants or needs six pack abs anyway?" Where did this obsession with our stomach muscles come from? If you have six pack abs, do you attract more girls? And for you ladies out there, do you think the "skinny mini" look of the super models is attractive? Think again.


The Good Old Stomach Muscle
Anatomically speaking, the stomach muscle is no more important than any other muscle in your body. In the northern latitudes, you can't even see it half the time because it's covered-up with a shirt or other article of clothing. The "ripped" stomach muscle look, AKA Six Pack Abs, is a legacy 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. Big deal!


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 buy. It is only the wishful thinkers and sorely misinformed that bite on the hype from the exercise marketing machine. Watch any of these "body beautiful" ads playing on your misplaced vanity and you'll see what I mean.  

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 like golf and tennis. 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? Well the bodybuilders looked pretty good as they tried to perform the tasks but they performed miserably against these strongmen. Most of the bodybuilders just could not match the strength, stamina or power of the strongmen. Another interesting note, none of the strongman 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. We 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.



Holiday Gift Giving

The Christmas season is upon us. What better way to say "I love you" then with a gift of health. We have created some nice gift certificate packages for personal training, cooking classes and massage therapy. We have also put some Special Santa pricing on them for your friends and loved ones. Call us today at 703-464-5171 or email to for more information. We have gift certificates to fit every budget. 
Here is an example of some of our Santa Gift Packages:


Santa Gift Package #1 $199

One Hour Massage, One Hour Health and Fitness Evaluation and One Hour "Get Started" Personal Training Session.  A $250 Value

Welcome to Suzanne Riley and Active Adults 


Welcome to Suzanne Riley, the newest member of the Sequoia Health Team. Suzanne is an ACE certified personal trainer with a special interest in working with the over 55 population. She has teamed-up with AARP and their special discount personal training program to offer Fresh Start Active Adults. She is available for in studio, in home and at the office personal training sessions. To learn more about Fresh Start Active Adults go to and click on Active Adults.


On the personal side, Suzanne lives in Sterling, VA with her husband Tom and their two children Adam, a Freshman at James Madison Univ. and daughter Lauren, a Junior at Potomac Falls High School. Suzanne has a passion for cooking healthy meals, loves the outdoors and exercise. She wants to share this passion and help others end their struggles with staying active and eating healthier. In her spare time she is active in the Youth Ministry of Riverside Presbyterian Church, plays racquetball and loves to spend time with her dog Gracie.


For more information on Suzanne's Active Adults program, contact her at 703-464-5171 or email to   


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) 2006-2007 by Sequoia Health and Fitnes
s, Inc.

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