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.  
Exercise as an Elixir

Exercise is seen by many health professional as an elixir.  “What is an elixir?”  An elixir,
according to Webster, is “a substance held capable of prolonging life indefinitely”.  
Exercise can make a huge difference for anyone, and the best part is that it’s never too
late to get started!    That’s right…I said “never” so none of your resident/patients (RPs)
would be excluded unless advised otherwise by their physician.

Some of your RPs may say, “Why should I?”   They may not understand the benefits
associated with being physically active.  If this is the case, the table found herein can be
used to explain the physiological changes that gradually take place with age.  Then,
even more important, you can also use it to demonstrate how being physically active
can counter those changes.  Help them to understand that their efforts will empower
them to higher levels of functional fitness.  

Encourage active aging; the simple idea of living life as fully as possible…engaged in
activities that enhance quality of life.  Although physical activity does not stand alone (e.
g. eating healthy is also key), the wide range of benefits found in this table are enough
to help anyone realize that it is indeed a key component of successful aging.    

Physiological Changes                                                          The Exercise Elixir*
Decline in functional capacity of .75% per year after age 30. Improved functional capacity.
Loss of .5 – 1 pounds of muscle/year after age 25.          Increased muscular strength.
Reduced levels of circulation.                                                Improved circulation.
Increased blood pressure.                                                     Decreased blood pressure.
Deterioration of lung capacity.                                                Increase in lung capacity.
Loss of bone mass.                                                                 Increased bone mass.
Reduced flexibility/ joint range-of-motion (ROM)                Improved flexibility/ROM.
Slower reaction time.                                                               Enhanced reaction time.
Issues with balance/coordination.                                        Improved balance/coordination.
Impaired blood flow to the brain.                                           Increased blood flow.
Increased incidence of arthritis.                                            Improved function of joints.
Lowered basal metabolic rate.                                              Improved basal metabolic rate.
Weight gain.                                                                              Weight maintenance or loss.
Decreased ability to fight off illness.                                     Increased ability to fight illness.
Slower recovery from illnesses.                                            Faster recovery from illnesses.
Increased incidence of depression.                                     Reduced levels of depression.
Increased risk of falling/impaired balance.                     Decreased risk/improved balance.
Negative postural changes.                                                   Postural improvements.

Increasing activity levels can be accomplished by doing anything that get an R/P
moving.  It can be as simple as chair dancing / exercises like the ones found on the
FitXpress Functional Fitness DVD series.

To learn more go to or call Nikki at 1-800-481-7449 ext #802.  Until
next time…encourage your R/P’s to Age Strong & Live Long in the spirit of Older
Americans!!  Be healthy…be happy!  