Magazine Feature Article: It’s Not Rehab!

It’s NOT Rehab!

Central Baptist HealthwoRx Fitness and Wellness Center

by Meriah Kruse

A quick visit to Central Baptist HealthwoRx Fitness and Wellness Center will reveal a lovely, well-equipped fitness center with a full load of classes available and a friendly staff. With few exceptions, it seems like….well… a fitness center! So, why does it have the moniker of a well-respected local hospital affixed to its name? If it’s part of a hospital, isn’t it for sick people, or people in need of rehabilitation?

So, if it’s not rehab, then what is it? The reason you may be asking these kinds of questions is because what they are doing at HealthwoRx is a pretty new idea: it’s a medical model fitness and wellness center. To be more exact…

First, a few more things that HealthwoRx is not. They are not a therapy center: there are no physical or occupational therapists plying their trade. They are also not a clinic. There are no doctors seeing patients. What they are is a fitness center with benefits. First benefit: each of their staff members is a certified health professional of one kind or another. Staff includes nurse health educators, registered licensed dietitians, exercise physiologists, cancer exercise specialists, and certified fitness practitioners. Second benefit: there is a professional on the floor of the workout spaces at all times offering free advice. Free advice! HealthwoRx has recognized that oftentimes people are working out in a gym with inadequate support. Often a personal trainer could be hired, but many people do not have the wherewithal or the interest in that kind of intensive relationship; they just want some advice on the best way to use a fitness machine or participate in other wellness activities. At HealthwoRx, that’s exactly what they get. (For those who do want an intensive one-on-one relationship in order to address their individual needs, there are personal trainers, dietitians, massage therapists, and weight management professionals whose services are for hire.) Third benefit: upon joining (for an extremely reasonable monthly fee), each person receives a thorough assessment including a health risk assessment, basic body fat analysis, goal setting and more. This information is used to help folks design their individual fitness plans. Fourth benefit (yes, there’s one more): each new member receives one free consultation with a registered licensed dietitian, included in their membership.

Director Teresa Smith describes the mission of HealthwoRx in informal terms, “We are here for everybody, all ages, shapes and sizes, and levels of fitness,” and in more formal terms, “Our focus is to impact the health of the community we serve by providing a comprehensive program including assessment, intervention, evaluation, and ongoing support for individuals making long-term lifestyle behavior changes.”

Okay, now it’s starting to make sense. This medical model fitness center was born out of the desire to serve the community. Although a department of Central Baptist Hospital, HealthwoRx is conveniently located at The Mall at Lexington Green, occupying the spacious, window-lined sections at the far end of the shopping center.

So, who are the people behind this new enterprise? First, there’s Smith, the popular, energetic and talented Director of HealthwoRx who runs the show. She is a registered and licensed dietitian who has worked in the field of health education and health promotion for 25 years.

Then there’s Smith’s close advisor and fellow staff member Diane Sutton, who serves as the Fitness and Wellness Coordinator at HealthwoRx. Sutton has over 25 years experience as a Certified American College of Sports Medicine Fitness Practitioner, cancer exercise specialist, personal trainer, fitness director and program director.

Smith and Sutton are both quick to add that there are many others who make the whole clock tick at HealthwoRx, and neither is jumping to take all the credit. This air of service-to-others rather than service-to-self creates a kind of feeling that is priceless in any arena, and particularly in the fitness industry, where oftentimes people need to check their egos at the door and to face their shortcomings so that they can get down to work and make improvements in their physique, in their health, and in their outlook. There’s a good feeling in that building that Smith and Sutton have helped to create, and the entire staff seems to support. One recent newcomer to HealthwoRx reported on her first visit, and gave the staff five stars for being supportive, friendly, knowledgeable, warm and inclusive. The facilities themselves are beautiful. It’s well stocked with the kind of equipment you’d expect, as well as three beautiful studios where they offer a mind-blowing array of classes, including: kickboxing, Zumba, Tai Chi, Qigong, spinning, stretch and tone, turbo kick, cardio and strength training, step aerobics, a 6 a.m. Early Bird general fitness class, and much more.


Central Baptist HealthwoRx Fitness and Wellness Center is located at 161 Lexington Green Circle, Suite B-2, in The Mall at Lexington Green. Memberships are $30 per month, which includes access to all classes and more. For further information or to set up an appointment to stop by and see their facility, contact 859-260-4354.


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