Maintaining good health is a big challenge for many Nigerians and questions about it are such that doctors and other healthcare professionals will probably not get tired of hearing.
There are many variants of the original question but the facts that often shine through are the same: how to remain in good health essentially in the midst of plenty and in an increasingly sedentary working environment.
In the pursuit of these essential facts, many people would do well to remember that they have the ultimate responsibility for the maintenance of their own health.
The key thing to remember at all times is that in all that we do, is moderation in every department of our lives. That has to be the most important take-home lesson today and always: be it in our eating or drinking habits.
There ought to be nothing like working hard and partying hard. It is far less risky to work smart and party or play in moderation. When a useful balance is struck in this way, life can be prolonged barring accidents.
The other doctor is our meals. When people claim to be taking lunch at an eatery, they could do so with a meal of poundo-yam and vegetable soup with meat or fish. This ordinarily is a balanced meal if taken with water and if the amount of the swallow is not enough to cause breathlessness.
However, either because this meal is being taken outside of the home or a desire is present to demonstrate some measure of affluence, some people would take a soda in addition to the above rather than have a glass or two of water.
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That addition of the soft drink has effectively transformed the balanced meal into an unhealthy plate of food with a much larger amount of sugar profile in the blood than is considered healthy. By the time you have done this for most afternoons over a one year period, there is the danger of gaining weight and increase of the girth of the abdomen such that the individual is now also at risk for developing arthritis of the knee and hip joints, of developing the metabolic syndrome, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
As it for the regular meals, so it is for the fast foods as we like to call them. There are some who now describe themselves as vegetarians and therefore avoid carbohydrates, fats, sugars and salt. However, when they choose to take a vegetable salad, they add mayonnaise to it and also some cheese.
The effect of these additions is to transform a vegetable salad into a cheese burger which is as unhealthy as the example described above. The consumer just adds on salt, fats and sugars over a length of time that eventually turns out to be unhealthy. The range of cumulative deleterious effects on the body is much like has been itemised above.
The current example of a supposedly smart meal has been rendered unhealthy by the various additions designed to make the dish more palatable. The example shown above is increasingly the attitude to food of the nouvous riche. Either way leads to ill health, disease and infirmity but they can be prevented.
Prevention remains a cheaper option than cure for any condition and sometimes, the means to obtaining such preventive means are even free. However, it is absolutely difficult to convince people to take even those free options.
The other doctor of ours today is the specter of exercise. Any form of exercise is ultimately beneficial and even a 30 minute fast walk down the street in the neighbourhood does a range of beneficial things for the body if done consistently over time. It improves the strength of the muscles of the legs and trunk.
It also increases the bulk of the heart muscles to the extent that they actually would beat more strongly and pump out more blood as they do so. They will also become more amenable to increased bulk which will help promote better heart health for the individual.
In these circumstances, the heart is better equipped to fight off challenges and cope without undue strain with emergencies. Exercise also promotes mental wellbeing as much as it improves the circulation. On the whole, weight control and even weight loss are easier to achieve when there is a good exercise regimen. When such exercises become more strenuous, the benefits are correspondingly better up to a point. Such exercises include riding, swimming and running.
READ ALSO: ‘I developed heart failure in my 20s’: This Woman’s Battle With The Chronic Medical Condition Will Teach You To Value Your Own Life
One thing many of us play with in a negative way is rest. Over the years on this page and on other healthcare channels, people have been constantly reminded of the benefits of taking adequate rest. In our country, it is fashionable to find people who want to work all year round without even taking a break, otherwise known as the annual vacation or leave.
In the advanced countries of the world, people spend an entire year planning for their annual vacation and when that time comes, nothing except serious illness can prevent them from having it.
The state of their countries shows that progress is not determined by how many hours a day you put in to your work or by how many vacations you choose to not have; it is determined rather by the ability to work with all your heart, then take a step back from it all for a while and return at a later date refreshed, calmer and perhaps even wiser to face the work you left behind with renewed energy and fresh perspectives. That kind of cycle has implications for the overall wellbeing of the individual. And it shows.
The air we breathe also has a lot of implications for our overall health. In some of the world’s most polluted cities, where the level of air pollution is so bad that people often even see the air they breathe, certain diseases that shorten like expectancy are rife. Various types of respiratory tract infections, skin conditions and even cancers are more common in those areas than the world average.
So, for the citizens of Mumbai, New Delhi, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City among many others, many people are in hospital battling with bronchial asthma, lung cancer, skin cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other conditions because they have inhaled polluted air for most of their lives.
READ ALSO: Why Skipping Breakfast Is Bad For Your Health – Research
It used to be that bad in Los Angeles, but dedicated efforts to reduce emissions have led to cleaner air and the environment and made that city safer with cleaner air resulting and less disease.
The last member of this group is stress which is now known as a real accelerator for heart disease. If all men would replace stress factors with genuine love for their neighbours and spouses, the overall health of the people would perhaps become better.
Tags: Dr. Sylvester Ikhisemojie, Exercise, Good Health, Soft drink
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