Hooked on a Feeling
Jose Ortiz, an Occupational Therapist by trade, has been teaching wellness at Queens Community House for 15 years. Last October he made waves at our Pomonok Senior Center by introducing a new, and some might say unconventional, exercise class. “We had some leftover equipment from another program, so I thought we could use it to start a boxing group,” he said. “We put up the heavy bag and bought eight pairs of gloves. Now people are buying their own gloves so they don’t have to share.”
“It’s not about hitting the bag hard; it’s just about going through the motions,” Jose said. “I put on mitts and create a rhythm: ‘One two jab, one two bat.’ This keeps their focus and helps with hand-eye coordination.” He takes each student’s skill level into account and encourages them to set goals in class. “Some of my students average about 5,000 steps in my class. Others aren’t there yet, but are working up to it.”
The class is offered every Monday. “Most of my students are women in their sixties and seventies.” Jose says his students are reporting less joint pain, decreased stress and a more positive attitude because of his class.
Jessica Chin, Pomonok Senior Center Assistant Director, is thrilled with the new class. “It's helping participants keep active, strengthen their muscles, and increase sharpness. The class also attracts new members who normally do not participate in our other exercise classes.”
Jose believes in whole body wellness, and after class he counsels his students on positive eating and mental health habits. “With boxing, the training and discipline comes from within, which is why people like it so much.”