Hamilton Wellness Center is where the weak can get strong and the strong can get stronger.

Watching the comings and goings of a typical weekday, one can see athletes pushing their bodies to the limit, adults working to stay healthy and physical therapy and cardiac rehab patients pushing themselves to heal.

“Our facility is known as the diamond in the rough,” said Wellness Center Director Jared Cook.

“The facility and programs are such a wonderful resource, and we want people to take advantage of having a place like this, to come and not only exercise but also enjoy the social aspect of the Wellness Center with friends and family.”

“It’s the happening place from 7 a.m. ’til 2 p.m.” said Rita Oldham. That’s when the mostly-retired crowd works out.

“Some of us come in with our oxygen tanks, limp to get on a machine, then go to town!

“I’m in awe of some of the people down here during the daytime.”

Oldham says the “cream of the senior citizens” can be found at the wellness center every day, “doing the best we can” in the pool, cardiac rehab and classes.

“If something creaks and doesn’t work, we work on it,” she said.

Many of her friends work out in the heated saltwater pool with Donna Anglin, who also offers her arthritis exercise class on “dry land.”

Her favorite class is Tai Chi, which is taught by Sensei Jon Hodges, who volunteers his services three times a week and most days has a full house of students.

Tai Chi combines the five power principles of breathing, movement, relaxation, focus and intent to bring health, harmony and balance.

Last Wednesday’s class began with “becoming aware of how you feel,” as Hodge pointed out that it is a healing class with a focus on self and quality of life.

“Quality of life takes being active in your life,” he explained. “There’s a level of awareness if you pay attention to how you feel.”

He began by having the class breathe in for three seconds, hold for 12 and exhale for six.

“Do that 10 times a day in a row, and it will change your energy level,” he said. “It will reduce the damaging effects of stress and improve your concentration, focus, energy levels and overall health.

“I have found breathing to be one of the most important elements in bringing your body into balance and harmony,” he said.

“Using meditation breathing is a gateway to learning how energy feels and how to move it through the body. It is a physical sensation that helps one bring awareness and presence into their life.”

Last week, he moved the class through the five elements of focused movement and breathing, and although there were no jumping jacks or push-ups, every member of the class finished in a sweat.

Hodge also offers classes via youtube and his website,

“Mastering Life Force is the result of almost 20 years of martial arts and spiritual teaching,” he said.

Since 1990, he has been training and teaching martial arts. He is a career martial artist who continues to study and train to enhance his mentoring and teaching abilities.

At 55, his focus is serving others through mastery of mind, body and spirit. He is a recognized Master of Tai Chi and Chi Kung and a board member of the Association of Martial Artists World Wide.

“It is hard to put into words the mental, physical and spiritual rewards that can be achieved through the practice of these arts,” Hodge said.

“No matter what talents or career you have, Tai Chi and Chi Kung will bring about such a healthy pervasiveness that every aspect of your life will blossom and improve.

“When I started using Chi Kung regularly, I dropped my blood pressure from an average of 155/95 down to an average 118/78 in two weeks.

“The doctor told me back in that time I would be on blood pressure medications the rest of my life. My blood pressure is still normal today after 20 years.

“Another amazing effect is how I feel and my energy level. I am 55 years old and I feel like I’m in my 20s. Daily practice, and thoughtful intent also helped me to overcome a nasty ankle injury.”

Chi is an eastern term for the energy that permeates and moves through everything that exists everywhere. Scientists call this life force quantum energy and have found through experimentation that quantum energy is affected by thought.

In controlled experiments they found the outcome of an experiment changes as they think differently about the experiment.  

“That is something very important to think about,” Hodge said. “When you direct your thoughts, quantum life force energy changes and creates different outcomes.

“So, what we think co-creates what we manifest through the interaction of our thoughts and life force.

“With Tai Chi and Chi Kung we learn to work with this life force. You learn how the energy feels and how to direct it with focus, and emotional intent. We learn how to identify, direct and use Chi in the balance of mind, body, emotional and spiritual health and harmony.”

Tai chi classes are offered Tuesdays at 2 p.m., Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and Thursdays at 9 a.m.

Cook, who teaches Bosu HIIT class and offers orientation and personal training, said patrons come to the center from other towns, and with 24-hour access and Fitness on Demand video kiosk, there’s no excuse not to fit exercise into anyone’s schedule.

Circuit training, yoga, arthritis aerobics classes all have certified instructors, and free orientation for new members includes two hours of personal training.

“One of the best things about our facility and programs we offer is the Silver and Fit and Silver Sneakers memberships,” Cook said. “These programs are based of the Medicare health plan, Medicare Supplement carrier or group retiree plan.

“If an individual is covered by their carrier, their monthly membership fee is covered completely!”

For more information about classes or other services, call the Wellness Center at 386-1670.

Get In Touch

The Hamilton Herald-News
P.O. Box 833
Hamilton, TX 76531

 (254) 386-3145
 (254) 386-3001