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.  
5 Fundamentals of Functional Fitness - a Review

This month we’re reviewing the 5 fundamentals of functional fitness already covered in
detail.  If, by chance, you missed out you can find more details on the following
information in our archives!  

There are many benefits associated with anyone of any age being physically active, and
it’s never too late to get started!  Among those benefits…improved heart and lung
function, increased strength and flexibility, enhanced balance and body awareness.  It
is important to emphasize that it is never too late to get started, and the following
physical activity-related suggestions are based on the FUNdamentals of Functional
1.        Cardiovascular Strength & Endurance
2.        Muscular Strength & Endurance
3.        Flexibility & Mobility
4.        Balance & Stability
5.        Body Awareness
No matter what age we are…these aspects of our physical wellness are essential.  
So…let’s visit each component in a very straight-forward manner in terms of what your
resident/patients (RPs) can do to be successful in that particular area.
1.        Cardiovascular strength & endurance are developed any time we do an activity
causing our heart to beat faster and our breathing pattern to be more rapid than the
norm.  For one RP it may be a walk down the hall and for another it may be some chair
dancing.  The question is what will challenge the individual’s current strength &
endurance of their heart & lungs?  Other options include:
a.        Bicycling and swimming (for the able RP).
b.         Vacuuming or stairs (again for the able RP)
c.        Just repeatedly pushing the hands / arms above the heart is sometimes enough.
2.        Muscular strength & endurance is developed by using various forms of
resistance.  Again, for every person the options are likely to be different and those
options may include:
a.         Weight training (e.g. free weights, bottles of water or bags of rice)
b.        Resistance tubes or bands (portable and effective)
c.        The RPs own body weight!  Appropriate for anyone…and obviously needs no
equipment.  Examples: Wall push-ups, bed crunches and small squats.  
3.          Flexibility leads to mobility and can be achieved by doing some simple stretches
each day.  With age we tend to tighten up in common areas of the body such as the
chest, shoulders, the back, the hip flexors and the back of the legs.  
4.        Balance leads to stability and is highly dependent upon many things including,
but not likely to be limited to:
a.        Overall body strength with particular importance to the muscles between the
knees and the ankles.  
b.        Keen senses with eyesight being most important, followed by the
somatosensory system (what you can feel) and finally the vestibular system (hearing).    
c.        Using one’s center of gravity properly (located in the area of the navel) is
essential for good balance.  One’s center of gravity must be over the supporting leg.
d.        Posture & gait habits play a very important role in balance.
5.        Body awareness is something that needs to be in-check at all times.  Instead, it
is often the furthest from our thoughts.  Good body awareness is one benefit of
exercise, and an individual with good body awareness is likely to be aware of posture,
gait and even breathing patterns.
If you read previous Words of Wellness columns all of this has already come together
for you and your RPs.  If, on the other hand, you read this and have questions…read the

Until next month, “Have a Healthy Day!”