Watch out everyone, Lola might just lap you. Averaging 9,000 steps/day and motivating her colleagues along the way, she is a force to be reckoned with!
Let me take a step back and introduce you all to the Para La Naturaleza Walker Tracker Program. Located in Puerto Rico, this group is a blast to work with and is always looking to the positive side of things. Perhaps all those good vibes add to Lola’s energy and stamina.
“Lola, you’re a champ.” That’s what co-workers say to María Dolores Méndez, who manages the greenhouse on the Nature Reserve of Las Cabezas de San Juan.
In the mornings María moves from one part to another of the reserve looking for seedlings to transplant. Afterwards, “Lola”, as her endearing coworkers call her, walks from her house to the community track in Fajardo. There she walks 17 laps, which add up to her 9,000 steps per day that she records on Walker Tracker.
Since Lola was a small girl she’s gone everywhere by foot. Because she didn’t have another way of getting around, walking was an integral part of her life, so when the opportunity to participate in the Para la Naturaleza Wellness Program came along, she was all in. This was a chance to go back to being what she used to be, a person who walked everywhere. She chose the 10,000 steps-per-day level challenge and has not stopped since she started. Lola has noted improvements in her health, she feels more upbeat and is more active. Lola says: “Everything is better” since she’s increased her activity level and made some adjustments to her diet. During her last visit to the cardiologist the doctor said: “Lola, your blood pressure is like that of a kid. What have you been doing?”. Lola explained all the changes she had made as a result of the Wellness Program and the doctor asked her to continue these activities as they were benefiting her health. In addition, the program nutritionist proposed she lose 4 pounds, Lola lost 5.
Not everyone has the energy and strength that the 72 year old María has. Her enthusiasm is so great that she invited a friend to walk with her on the track, but a few days later, her friend lost interest and stopped coming.
Whether or not she has company, “Lola” makes an effort to be in one of the top places in the competition. Lola is focused on winning. Her pedometer only tracks walking steps and she insists that to make it to the finish line “what you have to do is walk”. In addition, she tells her fellow participants that if they put some effort into it “you can all be winners”.
The relationship with her colleagues has greatly improved since the program started. “We’ve grown closer because we have more in common to talk about”, Lola states.
Lola urges everyone else to accept the challenge, because it is very good for their health. During the first few days they may be tired and might feel some achy muscles, but they’ll see the benefits will start adding up quickly. Lola shares this bit of advice with enthusiasm: “don’t give up, move forward and you won’t regret it”.