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.  
A Healthy Diet Makes a Mindful Difference

This month takes a detour to explore nutrition as it relates to the aging body and brain.  
Aging bodies and brains are ever-changing and have specific needs.  As you read keep
in mind that unless we, as care-givers, take good care of ourselves we will not be
healthy and able to take care of those we care about (e.g. residents, patients and our

Balanced nutrition is essential for body and brain health. A well-balanced diet includes
carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture 2005)
provides science-based advice on food choices for good health. The guidelines
recommend a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-
fat milk; includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts; and is low in
saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt and added sugar. For the good of yourself, your
family and your residents educate yourself on the unique needs of the aging body and
brain, and consider consulting with a registered dietitian.

Water is essential for the electrical transmissions within the nervous system that make
us sensing, learning, thinking and acting organisms. Water makes up 50%–60% of our
body weight (Kravitz 2008) and comprises as much as 80% of the brain. Ideally, we
want to drink one-third of an ounce of water per pound of body weight each day (a quart
per 100 pounds) and should double that amount when we are under stress. Coffee,
tea, caffeinated soda and alcohol are diuretics and inhibit re-absorption of water in the
kidneys, causing more water loss in the urine. A drop of just 2% in the body’s water
level can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, low energy, grogginess and trouble with
processing information (Hannaford 2005). The take-home message…water is
essential for improving brain health and enhancing lifelong learning.

Remember…the key to a healthy mind is lifelong learning.  Boost brain health by eating
right, exercising and doing something different now-and-then.  This is also great advise
for your resident/patients, and by this I are referring to doing something…anything
different than you normally would (e.g. brushing your teeth with the opposite hand,
taking the North route vs. the South route, crossing your arms with the opposite arm
over the top, etc).  Understand that anytime you, or one of your residents, do something
out-of-the-norm you are making connections between the right and the left
hemispheres of the brain.  

Until next month, be healthy…be happy!
Visit us at where you will find resources for being physically active
with your residents and patients!  There is something for everyone, and we put the FUN
into FUNction so your residents/patients will return to your classes time-and-time
again!  J