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.  
Health Challenges & Physical Activity

Although there are a host of benefits shown to be associated with being physically
active, many find it challenging to just do it.  It often becomes even more difficult as we
age and find ourselves faced with health challenges.  Even with such health challenges
taken into consideration, the majority of us are not precluded from being physically
active.  In fact, increasing one’s current level of physical activity is not only likely to
increase energy, strength, balance and mobility…but to ease the aches and pains often
related to common health challenges such as arthritis and back problems.  

However, this knowledge does not answer concerns resident/patients (RPs) may have
such as “which activity/exercise is right for me”… “where should I start?”...or “how much
is too much?”   The answer is good communication, starting with a health care provider
such as a physical therapist.  He or she can often provide information in terms of where
to start and will often offer specific programming recommendations for specific
problems (i.e. back exercises and/or stretches for back pain).  

Just as the information you get as an activity professional is constantly changing and
being updated…so is the information in the world of physical activity.  If you are using
VHS tapes or DVDs to get your RPs moving…make sure they are safe and effective by
checking the date.   Chances are you may have had some tapes donated or given to
you over the years?  Understand that anything over 10 years old could be questionable.  
If you choose to go ahead with an older title, maybe one your group likes, just watch for
red flags such as lifting both feet off the floor at the same time.  This is an old school
practice that is very hard on a person’s low back regardless of his or her age.  
Movements done should controlled and smooth, and participants should hear repeated
reminders regarding keeping an even breathing pattern, stopping when the need
presents itself and never doing a move that is painful or uncomfortable.  If you deem a
title unsafe, decide not to use it moving forward, and your group questions you…simply
explain that their safety is your #1 priority.

Talk to your RPs and help them to understand research has shown physical activity to
be like an elixir, serving to ease and/or improve the symptoms associated with many
health challenges.  Such efforts are also shown to improve functional fitness (e.g. lung
function, strength, flexibility and balance).  Disability is said to be a direct result of
disease and/or disuse.  Although we oftentimes don’t have control over how disease(s)
may affect us, we do have 100% control of whether or not we choose to be physically
active.  Don’t let yourself, or your RPs, become a statistic.  Make the move to empower
your RPs with safe and effective physical activity-related efforts.  Such efforts serve to
improve quality of life and maintain a certain level of dignity.  

FitXpress has a line of chair-type DVDs designed with the specific needs of older adults
in mind.  All 10 of the titles are current, safe and effective.  For a FREE sample DVD with
clips of 7 of the 10 titles call 1-800-481-7449.  Until next time, be healthy…be happy!