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.  
Resolving to an Attitude of Gratitude for 2011

“Cheerfulness is the best promoter of health, and is as friendly to the mind as to the
-Joseph Addison

After a holiday season filled sweets, relaxation, and football, many of us are resolving to
improve our health in 2009. While resolving to work out for an hour every day and
resolving to eat healthier are both beneficial…simply resolving to have a better attitude
may have more health benefits than we may have ever imagined.

Suppose…thankfulness is not only one of your most important positive emotions, but
that it linked directly to your physical and mental well-being. Suppose…it was in your
best interest to feel gratitude because it was good for you.  Surprisingly, that is exactly
what researchers are finding. Choosing to be thankful for what you have can
significantly improve your emotional wellness, which can also positively affect physical

Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at University of California Davis, is doing
research to determine the benefits of gratitude on weight management and overall
heart health.  He suggests being thankful is not only emotionally valuable, but also has
physical benefits such as lower blood pressure.
According to other recent research, people who are more thankful tend to:
-        Be protected against various negative health behaviors.
-        Have higher energy levels, more optimism, less stress, and better sleep.
-        Be at lower risk for disorders including depression, phobias and alcoholism.
-        Be in better physical health, exercise more regularly, and be happier overall.
So how are these benefits achieved? The key is recognizing and emphasizing the good
while devaluing the bad. Emmons comments, "To say we feel grateful is not to say that
everything in our lives is necessarily great…it just means we are aware of our

An attitude of gratitude can be achieved by anyone of any age…including your residents
and patients (RPs).  The following are some attitude of gratitude tips to use for RP
-        My Thankfulness Journal; take a few minutes each day to reflect on things you/your
RPs are grateful for.  
-        Optimist Award; recognition to those who exhibit a positive attitude, with the idea in
mind that positive attitudes rub off.  With this in mind, remember you may be the only
positive ray of light one particular RP sees in a given day.
-        Thank you Letters; Write a letter of thanks to special people RPs feel have made a
positive personal impact.
-        My Plate of Thanks; everyone gets a paper plate and writes at least 1 thing on the
plate they are thankful for (weekly endeavor or after a particular meal).
-        Seek out the Silver Lining; Help your RPs to find the silver lining when they
encounter difficult emotions/situations/people.  
As individuals, our personal wellness is comprised of more than just the physical and
emotional dimensions discussed in this month’s column. The other 5 dimensions are
mental, social, environmental, spiritual and occupational.  The New Year is a great time
to examine the 7 personal wellness spokes to ensure the tire of life is strong and can
provide a smooth ride along the road of life in the year to come.   

Saying “thank you” isn't just polite…it's good for us!  Starting today…resolve to be
thankful as your feet hit the floor each day.  An attitude of gratitude can make can make
all the difference in the world for you and for those you serve.  

FitXpress looks forward to the opportunity to make a difference for you, and for your
RPs, as we embark on a New Year!  We welcome your questions/comments/topics and
you can tell us what they are by visiting us at  At the bottom of the
homepage, click on sign our guestbook.  We look forward to hearing from YOU, and to
meeting your needs in the year to come!

Be healthy…be happy…and be thankful in 2011!  