FUNdamentals in FUNctional FITness
by Nikki Carrion, MA
FitXpress LLC
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Co-Owner; FitXpress
Nikki Carrion is co-owner of Fit Xpress
Consulting Services in Waterloo, IA.  
She has over 25 years of experience
in the field of health promotion and
says her passion for her work comes
from her desire to practice preventive
health and promote positive lifestyle
changes.  Although she works with a
wide variety of ages, from college
students to older adults, she says her
focus is on empowering older adults
to higher levels of functional fitness.   

Nikki has a graduate degree in
Community Health Education with an
emphasis in Gerontology from the
University of Northern Iowa.  She also
has a number of certifications
including balance training, chronic
disease self- management, exercise
for hip & knee replacements, group
exercise instruction, personal
training, yoga and pilates.


  • MA; Community Health
    Education.  University of
    Northern IA.  Emphasis in


  • Enhance Fitness Master
    Trainer ~ University of
    Washington, WA.
  • Chronic Disease Self-
    management Master Trainer
    ~ Stanford University, CA.
  • Balance Trainer ~ Cal State
    Fullerton, CA.
  • Personal Trainer / Fitness,
    Yoga & Pilates Instruction ~
    Nat'l Exercise Trainers

Nikki Carrion’s primary
passion and mission is to
empower older adults to
higher levels of functional
fitness.  Besides the Relax &
Breathe CEU module,
FitXpress has a series of
chair exercise DVDs as well
as a training module for
activity professionals.  
FitXpress methods are safe
and effective AND
demonstrate how to put the
FUN into FUNction!
For more information go to:
check out the product page.
Empower yourself with
or call 319-404-4219.  
FUNdamentals in FUNctional FITness:  Balance

Greetings!  This month is a follow-up to last month’s Words of Wellness column.  We
are discussing the final “Fundamental of Functional Fitness”; balance.  We’ve already
discussed the importance of proper breathing patterns, muscular strength and
endurance, and flexibility.  You may be asking yourself, “Why wait so long to discuss
balance when it is so very important?”  The reason is because it is a deep topic
needing a great deal of attention, and it is my primary passion where I focus the
majority of my attention.  Therefore, I have a great deal of information to share that I trust
you will find very intriguing.  

Last month I mentioned the determinants of balance to include postural alignment,
muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, 3 of the 5 senses, chronic conditions and
overall body awareness.  These are determinants pertaining to the resident/patient’s
(R/P) physical self.  An additional determinant, not mentioned previously, is this month’
s focus…that of the R/P’s personal space and their awareness of that space.  As
mentioned previously, most falls happen within a home or living space.  Therefore,
having a high level of awareness of one’s personal space is crucial.  With this in mind,
let’s determine what we can do to reduce risk for falls within the living space of a R/P.

Some of you may already be aware of the CDC’s Home Safety Checklist, and others of
you may not.  For those of you who are not, or for those of you who may want to brush
up, go to the following website link where you will find this powerful and effective tool:

You can use this checklist yourself to spot environmental hazards within the R/P’s living
space, or better yet…for those who are able, empower your R/Ps to perform the
checklist themselves and report back to you!  Even if your facility is right on top of these
issues, this powerful tool is great for increasing individual awareness and providing a
sense of control and independence.  

The checklist is a simple series of “yes” or “no” questions.  After answering the
questions the idea is to go back over the list and to take necessary actions to correct
the items needing attention.  If you opt to have R/Ps perform the checklist and report
back…sit down and take a look at the results with them.  To move forward…have the
R/P make a list, on a separate piece of paper, of the specific areas that do indeed need
to be improved upon.  Then…ask the R/P to prioritize, numbering the items with the
easiest to change being #1…and so on.  Do only the first 2 or 3 to begin with, and this
priority approach will serve to give your R/Ps a taste of success which will, in turn, serve
as a motivation to continue their fall prevention efforts.         

Remember, this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of reducing the risk for falls for
your R/Ps.  I look forward to seeing you right back here next month when we will
continue our discussion by investigating those determinants that are related to the
physical self.  

Until then, be healthy…be happy!