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.  
Balancing Mind & Body Energies = Enhanced
Health & Wellness

When we think of the Holidays…we all have our own unique set of ideals, but one thing
most of us can agree on is the fact that there is a certain amount of stress involved with
the season.  As you know, even resident/patients (RPs) feel a certain amount of stress.  
So…let’s take another look at the idea of mind & body exercise.  

Researchers at the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI) for Mind & Body (MB) Medicine say,
regardless of our age or level of physical function, taking a small amount of time to relax
each day will lead to higher levels of resilience and improve the body’s capacity to heal.  
Dr. Herbert Benson, from BHI, suggests the very key to sufficient health and wellbeing
for all is integration.  Integration in terms of 1) having regular checkups and taking
prescribed meds 2) having needed surgeries to assure optimal quality of life and 3)
understanding everyone has an individual responsibility to practice self-care.  These 3
components are said to work hand-in-hand and lead to improved “quality” of life in a
society where “quantity” of life is prevalent.  “

What is self-care?”  Self-care is the idea of practicing positive lifestyle practices (e.g.
proper nutrition and exercise, socialization, spirituality & relaxation time).  Benson says
relaxation positively affects brain waves, assisting us in dealing with stressors.  He
says incorporating MB disciplines for the purpose of leading the body into what is
termed the relaxation response. When the body is in a relaxed state, alpha brain waves
dominate and serve to distract the body away from stress responses and toward a
calming state of inner peace and harmony.  A few MB techniques said to be effective
include deep breathing, positive self-talk, yoga and tai chi.   

Brain wave categories:
Category 1 ~ Beta waves – High-level waves where most are during the waking hours;
associated with anxiety and unease.
Category 2 ~ Alpha waves - associated with relaxation, healing, learning & focus;
associated with MB exercise and basic levels of meditation.  
Category 3 ~ Theta waves - REM sleep (a.k.a. dream sleep), vital for learning and
memory with potential for behavior change; associated with deep meditation & access
to the unconscious mind.
Category 4 ~ Delta waves – This is the level of deep, dreamless, trance-like state of

Summing it up…the efforts and thoughts associated with everyday life are said to
stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and beta brain waves.  The stress response
is usually the result, and this is often associated with feelings of distress, anxiety and
unease.  On the other hand, the efforts and thoughts associated with MB exercise are
said to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and alpha brain waves.  The
result is normally the relaxation response which is associated with feelings of a peace.  
Individuals who practice MB disciplines are generally more at ease and less agitated,
and have improved bodily processes and better sleep patterns.

Any time of the year, including the Holidays, we should all take time to relax.  MB
exercise is a great way to accomplish this goal, thereby reducing stress levels.  Even
RPs with the greatest limitations need to move, and can benefit from methodical
movement of a MB discipline such as Easy Tai Chi or Chair Yoga.  Both are very gentle,
and do not jar the body and/or joints.  Neither is difficult to learn, and both serve to
enhance overall health and wellness.  Give your RPs the gift of enhanced health &
wellness by requesting a FREE sample DVD from FitXpress which includes clips from
3 of our MB titles.  Call Nikki at 1-800-481-7449 or send an email;
to request your FREE sample today.

Until we meet again in 2011…be well.