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.  
Is Exercise Enough?  Not exactly, say many

As we hit 2011 running, many of us have made resolutions to be more physically active
or to “diet”.  Too many times when the resolution is to be physically active…we’re
sabotaged by rewarding ourselves for the time spent walking or pedaling.  If we reward
ourselves for our time on-the-move with a cupcake…we are literally walking or pedaling
in place.  On the other hand, when the resolution is to “diet”…we may not realize it, but
we are sabotaging ourselves just by using the word.  Keep reading.

Experts say; regardless of our age…exercise and good nutritional choices are equally
important, and it is our responsibility to make each of them a priority in our lives.  This
goes for your resident/patients (RPs) too.    For those who cannot make decisions for
themselves, they need you to be a positive role model and to provide them with
guidance throughout the New Year.  Go ahead…keep reading.  

Physical activity takes place only when we make it a priority and schedule it into the day.  
Back in the day…individuals had to harvest the land each day, walk to the market and
remove that horrible snow manually.  Today…we find ourselves using a snow blower to
clear the drive so that we can jump into the car and drive the local grocery store to buy
just about anything we want.  Even our leisure activities such as a walk in the park and
a night at the bowling alley have been replaced by a walk to the in-home computer
station and a night snuggled up under a warm blanket with a movie.  Activities of daily
living, a.k.a. ADL’s, are much different in this day-n-age.  With this in mind, we have to
take it upon ourselves to prioritize, and help our RPs to do the same each-and-every

Help your RPs to understand the benefits of being physically active; weight
management / loss, stronger bones and muscles, better balance, increased flexibility
and range-of-motion, improved lung function and better overall body awareness.  
Physical activity also serves to reduce stress and promotes better sleep, among a host
of other benefits.

“Diet”…the word itself translates to deprivation, and as humans we are designed to
seek out what we need to live and to thrive.  Therefore, just using the word often leads
to failure.  Instead, consider seeing your efforts as positive nutritional changes /
habits…all part of having a positive lifestyle.  Any small change that is made can
translate into big health benefits.       
Benefits associated with positive nutritional habits include reduced risk of type-2
diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers.  Regardless of age,
these efforts are shown to enhance sleep habits, mood and self-esteem while
boosting energy and immunity.  

Goals & Tips for a positive lifestyle plan:

General health: an accumulation of 30 min/day most days of the week.      
Weight maintenance: Choose a variety of foods that follow the FDA’s food guide
Weight loss: 45-90 min/day most days of the week.        
Weight loss: Same guidelines apply while also…

  • Eat nutritionally dense foods.  
  • Listen to your body…always do what it says.
  • Choose foods high in alkalines.
  • Get physician approval before getting starting.
  • Staying well-hydrated with plenty of water
  • Include cardio, stretching & strength training.
  • Choosing whole grains; pasta, bread, rice
  • Include deep breathing and relaxation time in an effort to reduce stress and
  • Opting for a fruit or a vegetable when it is snack time.

To be truly healthy, we must make physical activity and positive nutritional habits a part
of our lifestyle.  The word “lifestyle” is the key.  Bad habits are not always easy to
break…and good habits are not always easy to form, but nobody ever said life was easy
either.  Our attitude about any situation often carries us through, and positive self-talk is
a great place to start.  Make it personal using the following examples as a guide; “I am
going to do this”…or “I will accomplish my goal”…or “I believe that I can and I will”.   Pick
a phrase that works for you…that feels good, and check that it includes at least one
word of affirmation such as those italicized in the example statements.  

If you have specific topics you would like to hear about, or if you would like a refresher
on a previous topic, go to and express your wishes in my guest
book (bottom of the home page).  My mission is to assist you in your quest to empower
those you serve to higher levels of functional fitness, and I look forward to doing this in
2011 and beyond!!  

Until next time, be healthy…be happy!