Lilia Cárdenas: we should take care of our health now, not wait until we are sick

“The trainers tell us ‘who is going to take care of your health or take care of you when you get sick in the future?’ and that is what inspires me the most,” said Cárdenas.


Translated by NANCY OY


En Español

Imagine not being able to breathe. Not being able to walk. Imagine having pain in all of your body, especially your back and hips. Imagine being afraid to go outside and walk. Imagine being afraid of making any movement past 30 minutes because you know you can’t handle the pain, even though you don’t know the reason.

This is the situation of Lila Cárdenas.

Cárdenas went to several doctors before being diagnosed with lung infection in February 2013. Since then, her life has changed. Today, she can walk, run and exercise without any issues.

Cárdenas, 58, lives in Sylmar in the San Fernando Valley.

Since September 2012, Cárdenas has suffered due to lung problems. She visited three different doctors to find the solution to her pain and difficulty breathing. The first doctor told her she had problems because of climate change and her allergies. The second doctor told her she had bronchitis and recommended she use an inhaler, which was not good for her health. The third doctor told her she had pneumonia.

Finally, in February 2013, a fourth doctor, in Cuernavaca, Mexico, told her she had an infection in her left lung. The doctor told her that if she wanted to cure the infection she would have to start exercising and going outside little by little to improve her breathing.

Cárdenas began to exercise, little by little.

“I started to walk in the afternoons and ate better,” she said. “In the beginning I weighed 178 pounds and little by little, I began to lose the weight.”

In September 2013, Cárdenas started going to the San Fernando Park where she signed up to exercise.

In January, 2014, the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) began in the city of San Fernando. DPP is part of the 100 Citizens program implemented by Steve Loy and his kinesiology students from California State University, Northridge (CSUN).

“When I first started, I couldn’t run a lot, nor do movements for a long period of time,” said Cárdenas. “The trainers told me to do whatever I could.”

For Cárdenas this program is important. Since she started participating she has lost approximately more than 13 pounds, she said.

“I like how they motivate us and tell us what are we waiting for? to take care of our health,” said Cárdenas.

The program is of great help because the trainers are strong and motivate participants to do more to take care of themselves and learn about nutrition, she said.

Not only has Cárdenas learned different exercises, but also how to eat healthier.

“My diet starts with a smoothie of fruits, vegetables and powdered protein,” she said.

Cárdenas also eats food with low-sodium, like fish and grilled chicken. She doesn’t eat potatoes or rice and doesn’t use condiments when cooking.

“The hardest thing is waking up at 5 a.m. to start the day,” she said. Cárdenas wakes up her early to help her daughter take her granddaughters to school and from there she starts her exercise session.

“I feel gratitude towards the trainers. They helped me change my life and move forward,” she said. Cárdenas’ inspiration comes from her own life and from having good energy.

The mother of three: two daughters and a son, Cárdenas was born in Cuernavaca, Mexico. She decided to immigrate to the United States in 1980 when she was 24. Cárdenas is a motivated and healthy woman, with strength to move forward and have a good, healthy lifestyle.

“We are all happy with her progress and happy to see her continue forward,” said her daughter Mangolia Mandujano, as she sees her mother get better.

“The trainers tell us ‘who is going to take care of your health or take care of you when you get sick in the future?’ and that is what inspires me the most,” said Cárdenas.

Now, Cárdenas weighs 158 pounds and wants to continue and lose more weight.

“The program is something that inspires me,” she said. “I don’t want to take care of my illness nor wait until I get sick.”

Tags:  #100CitizensCSUN 100 Citizens 100 Citizens Program 100 Ciudadanos California City of San Fernando El Nuevo Sol health Jorge Reyes Salinas Latinos Nancy Oy prevención de diabetes Salud San Fernando

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