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.  
Be Healthy…Be Happy

The message this month is as simple as that!  Be healthy…be happy.  We all strive to
be happy, and experts suggest happiness begins with a positive approach to health
and personal wellness.  This applies to all of us, regardless of our age, gender,
ethnicity and/or profession.  Professionally speaking, the healthier you are the more
successful you are likely to be as you function better and feel better.  So…you may be
asking yourself, “how does a person achieve personal wellness (PW)?”  It all begins
with awareness…awareness of the dimensions that make up our PW.  Those
dimensions are as follows; physical (e.g. being active and eating right), mental (e.g.
being a life-long learner), social (e.g. having a positive support system), spiritual (e.g.
having a belief in a higher power and good morals/values), environmental (e.g. not
being exposed to second-hand smoke) emotional (e.g. having compassion for others)
and occupational (enjoying the work we do).  The more aware you are of how the
dimensions support one another and work together, and the more you strive to balance
them, the more personally empowered you will become.  

You may think right away of physical wellness when you think of making improvements
in your personal wellness, but physical wellness is only the tip of the iceberg.  Although
it is a great place to start, you don’t lose sight of the other 6 dimensions.  The following
10 tips come from various health experts (e.g. the Mayo Clinic & the Nat’l Health
Institute) and serve as a bit of a checklist for anyone of any age!  

1.        Listen to your body.  Bodies are designed to communicate on an ongoing basis.  
In order to be truly healthy we have to listen and recognize unexplained changes.  
Unexplained changes that persist should be discussed with a health care professional.
2.        Get back to the basics.  Focus on small, everyday actions that play such a large
role in overall health and wellness (e.g. wearing sun screen to ↓ risk of skin cancer,
brushing / flossing teeth 2X/day to ↓ risk of heart disease and managing stress for ˄
3.        Get regular health screenings.  Regular check-ups are essential, serving to
identify and address health issues before they become serious.  Most health care
providers are more than happy to provide a time-line specific to age, gender and family
4.        Know your family history.  Genetics play a role in many chronic illnesses.  
Knowing your family history in terms of what illnesses have existed in your family (e.g.
mother, father, grandparents and extended family) over the years serves to increase
awareness and provides the opportunity to catch illnesses in the early stages.    
5.        Know & understand your numbers.  Having healthy HDL, LDL, triglyceride, weight
and blood pressure numbers serves to assist in detection and prevention of health
6.        Avoid acidosis.  Being Ph balanced is not optional.  In order to live your body
stays Ph balanced by balancing incoming acids and alkalines present in foods.  The
majority of Americans are reported to be lacking in intake of alkaline-based foods (e.g.
fruits & veggies), which are said to ideally comprise approximately 70% of our diet.  
Instead, foods high in acid (e.g. fatty meats, chips, sweets) are shown to be the norm.  
In addition, we then store these excessive acids in our fat cells (acidosis) in an effort to
keep our body Ph balanced.  Acidosis then rears it’s ugly head in the form of health
issues that are often seem as harmless (e.g. unhealthy hair, skin and nails and poor
immunity levels).  Often these simple issues become more complex in later years.
7.        Avoid excess belly fat; shown to increase risk of lifestyle diseases such as heart
disease and diabetes 2.
8.        Make physical activity a priority understanding that a balanced regiment includes
cardio, strength and flexibility.  Movement (e.g. walking, dancing or bicycling for
cardio…doing some weight training for strength and simple stretches each day for
flexibility) is fundamental to good health and personal wellness.
9.        Think positive.  A positive attitude in all we do makes all the difference.  If you say
you can…you probably will.  If you say you can’t…you probably won’t.  You must believe
to achieve.
10.        See the big picture!  Take a close look at each dimension of your personal
wellness, deciding for yourself where some tweaking may be needed.  
Remember…there’s always room for improvement, and it all starts with awareness
and a desire to make a change.     

Efforts made related to striving for higher levels of personal wellness do involve a
certain level of time, effort and commitment…but such preventative measures are
sources of empowerment that have proven time-and-time again to enhance existing
levels of PW.  They have also been reported to increase energy levels and vibrancy.  For
many older adults health disparities are obvious, but good lifestyle practices and
choices are still vital and can make a big difference.  Empower the older adults you
serve by using the information provided by FitXpress to help enhance functional fitness.  
As an Activity Professional, keep the 7 dimensions of personal wellness in balance for
a better you!     Until next time, be healthy…be happy!