What Nigerian Workers Do Wrong Health-wise… And Sometimes Right

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Hi readers, I am a random doctor who has visited many random offices and made lots of observations some of which might be of relevance to you. But before I begin it is pertinent to note that they are a variety of work environments and thus a variety of different behavioral patterns depending on the number of hours, income, town and general health consciousness of the individual or work administration. I guess I should discuss it under the different important segments.

FEEDING HABITS
Here I think we do it quite wrongly. Ideally we should have a healthy, wholesome breakfast to start the day, take lots of fluid due to our climate as the day goes on, a decent lunch and a light dinner. However due to what we believe is time factor, most Nigerians rush a bland breakfast of bread, noodles or leftovers from last night. For the other meals we chose one of two options – either an excessively heavy lunch in an attempt to compensate for other meals, and then another drab dinner, OR a little snack for lunch and then a excessively heavy dinner before going to bed, both of which are wrong.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Nigerians are being drawn more and more into a sedentary lifestyle, and most of our work places demand long hours on a desk and equally long hours on our ride to and away from work giving us very little room for physical activity. This forces most to resort to starvation in an attempt to stay fit (or sexy – that’s what y’all actually want innit? ). Starvation over physical activity/exercise is actually very wrong. You should eat well and healthy, and work out more. How you can make time out for that with the hustle and bustle in a mega busy city like Lagos is what I don’t know. More work place gyms maybe? Or sacrifice 3-4evenings per week to work out instead of collapsing in fatigue. Youll be surprised how refreshing the next day will be. Tennis, soccer, basketball etc are great ways to have fun & exercise.

SLEEPING HABITS
I don’t know what to blame more for poor sleeping habits, hectic work hours or blackberries and social media. But I bet if we threw away our Black Berries and tweeted less we’ll get a lot more sleep. At least 7 hours sleep is healthy, preferably up to 8 or 9hrs. Siesta for about 30mins to 1hr is recommended but may be unrealistic in most settings. How will you like to here your accountant is having a siesta while you’re waiting in line?

UNWINDING HABITS
1759 is an epic fail. It’s not ideal to have a bottle of beer or any other alcoholic beverage on a daily basis. Recommended drinking allowance is 21units of alcohol per week for males and 14units/week for females with at least 2 alcohol free days. Above that and you have several health complications begin to occur internally for which you will be unaware of. 1 star, 1 small stout, 1 shot of JD, 1 glass of wine all estimated as equal to 3units. So about 7 bottles of beer per week with at least 2 alcohol free days is okay for guys and about 4shots of baileys per week for girls.

So if you wanna grab that bottle after work, have 1 ,2 or 3 times a week and then take 2 or so on weekends. P.S- the occasional binge drinking in the club wouldn’t kill you but that’s off the record. YOLO shey? No time. But occasionally like once in 2months.

Cigarettes kill, smokers will still smoke no matter what we say. For health purposes keep off those cancer sticks, no recommended doses.
Weed and other illicit drugs are better left as university experiments, tried when you’re young and discarded now that the wisdom teeth are out.

WORK PLACE LAWS
I might not be an expert here but I believe when work has commenced you should be certified healthy and fit to work and if during work you fall ill and your doctor recommends rest, you shouldn’t be made to work or victimized as a result. This is not the case in many offices here in Nigeria. Also medium to large sized companies should cover their workers healthcare to a certain level which is also slow to pick up in Nigeria, so check up the rules and know what your entitlement/right is. But don’t over-push it, because we are still in Nigeria and unemployment is real.

I think that’s about it for now. I hope this is of some benefit to you. Basically your health decisions are in your hands and a conscious effort is all it takes, so have orange juice when your tired around noon, log off twitter when u get home, register at a nighttime gym or run before you bath in the morning, have a glass of wine at dinner with the wife or boo instead of 3 harps with the boys on champions league Wednesday, and wrap up when hitting it with the coworker, yes I know you do that too but be safe about it.

Be good and be healthy. There’s nothing to be more thankful for than good health, and its predominantly in your hands to keep it that way.

Cheers.

Dr Chino (@stillchino)

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