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.  
Fit Fitness IN…Use “Cues to Action”

Fitting fitness in can be a challenge, regardless of our age or our capabilities.  
Research tells us time-and-time again how important it is, that our health depends on
it, but we often fall off the wellness wagon.  The fact remains that we’re coming to
understand more-and-more just how important it is.  So…consider the idea of using
what we call cues to action.  Using cues to action is the idea of associating specific
activities of daily living (ADLs) with a specific exercise.  Keep in mind that each of us, in
terms of our cues and our actions, are likely to be somewhat unique!  Take the process
one-step-at-a-time; follow these guidelines to see how you can easily use this principle
personally and/or with your resident/patients (RPs):  

Step 1: On a piece of paper, write a list of ADLs you (or your RPs) do each-and-every
day (e.g. eat meals, watch t.v., take meds, talk on the telephone, brush teeth, feed a pet,

Step 2: On a second piece of paper, make a list of some exercises and/or activities you
feel would be beneficial to you (or your RPs).  These are to be simple one-at-a-time-
type things (examples below), and they should be things likely to make someone feel
good…to feel healthier and to have a better quality of life.  Important ones to consider,
which have been discussed in detail in previous FitXpress columns, are:
*Deep breathing; maintain or reduce BP, maintain or increase lung function, eliminate
CO² waste from the lower lobes of the lungs and reduce stress.
   *Wall or Countertop Push-ups; develop chest/arm/shoulder strength.
   *Bicep Curls & Tricep extensions; develop upper arm strength.
*Chair stands or sink squats; develop lower body strength.
   *Chair popcorn; strengthen hips.
   *The ball squeeze; strengthen core, hips and legs.
   *Shoulder rolls, elbow circles or back stroke; increase shoulder range-of-motion.
   *Body stirs; increase core strength and improve hip mobility.
   *Standing hula hoops; increase hip mobility.
   *Heel lifts (seated or standing); improve calf strength.  
*Heel stirs; improves joint mobility in hips, knees, ankles and feet.
   *Toe taps; develop strength in the front of the lower legs.
For more ideas look at the ADT archives and past FitXpress columns, check out a book
at the library or consider the purchase of a FitXpress chair exercise DVD; available at  
Step 3: Put list #1 and list #2 side-by-side.  Connect each ADL to an exercise/activity.  
Make a 3rd list of the individual connections you have determined.    

Step 4: Prioritize them from 1 (the most important) to ___...and you’re ready to fit fitness

It’s important to take it step-by-step; do your 1st listed ADL-Exercise every day for at
least a week.  Make that connection to take action each time you perform that particular
ADL.  Once the 1st one has been established…you will add the 2nd.  Now you’re doing
2, and you’ll do those for at least a week…until BOTH have become part of the norm for
you.  Now you’re off-n-running!  Keep going…add another…and another.  You decide
the length of your list…it’s your list and your decision.  Be sure to take notice of any
improvements you may experience.  Change it up if you start to get bored.  Develop 2
lists and do each for a week at a time.  KEY: Your mind is the most powerful tool you
have, and the power of positive thinking must never be underestimated!  J

If you have any questions or comments, our guestbook is a great way to communicate; (bottom of the home page).  Feel free to call; 800-481-7449 ext. #802