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.  
10 Tips for Recruiting Class Participants

This month let’s discuss how you might go about recruiting new members to your
physical activity class.  Previous columns armed you with information needed to make
your class the best it can be, but information doesn’t necessarily fill chairs in the
classroom.  Get started by getting excited about your program!  Get excited by having a
plan in terms of what it is that makes your program stand out from the rest.  Ask yourself
what you can do to get your resident/patients (RPs) talking.  Consider the following 10
tips as you begin this thought process:

1.        Call RPs by their given name when you see them, and tell them you’re starting /
have started an activity class that you’d love to see them benefit from.
2.        Design health-related table tents to be placed in the congregate meal area, and
change them out on a monthly basis (e.g. use info found in the FitXpress columns
since its inception to provide FUNctional FITness Facts.  Add…For more information,
come to our FUNctional FITness class.  
3.        Develop a FUNctional FITness bulletin board.  Try to display this board where it
will be visible to all, not just to those who are in your class.  Use it to spark curiosity if
you’re just getting started, and use it on an ongoing basis thereafter to:
a.        Provide health-related information.
b.        Post the birthdays of the month.
c.        Promote an incentive program that is in-the-works.
d.        Tout the benefits of being physically active.
e.        Announce upcoming opportunities related to your classes.
Let your imagination run wild in terms of the information you can provide!
4.        Take attendance and have prizes / perks for perfect attendance in any given week
/ month.
5.        Have a weekly theme (e.g. flexibility, upper body strength, lower body strength,
balance, nutrition, proper posture, using your assistive device correctly, taking time to
breathe deeply, etc.) and provide handout(s) to compliment your theme.
6.        Develop the buddy system, asking your participants to “bring a friend to class”.  
Progressively link RPs with a buddy, and then encourage them…to encourage one
another to remain physically active.
7.        Have a birthday list and designate 1 day of each month that you have song-n-
treats for those who have birthdays in that particular month.
8.        Form a “hall walkers” club, and encourage growth by giving the group a catchy
name.  Have them sign their favorite tunes as they walk the halls with-or-without a
guide, and do a write-up about them in your facility newsletter.
9.        Provide Health Talks once or twice a week and do it where you have the highest
level of visibility (e.g. after a congregate breakfast, lunch or supper).  Post a calendar
each month of the topics you will discuss and periodically provide a handout related to
the subject-at-hand.
Last, but not least, end each-and-every class with words of encouragement from you (e.
g. good job everyone…see you again on Wednesday), and have them share the same
type of encouraging words with one another (e.g. congratulate your neighbor for
investing themselves by coming to class today, tell your neighbor to have a healthy day,
say to your neighbor…stay healthy, etc.)

Well, that’s it for now!  See you next month when we’ll discuss more ways to empower
your RPs to higher levels of functional fitness.  

For more information, visit the FitXpress website; or call 1-800-481-
7449 (ext 802) to speak to Nikki if you have any questions regarding the FitXpress chair
exercise DVD line.  Mention having read the Activity Director Today column and receive a