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7. Comfortable shoes Avoid over-tight footwear that will crush your feet

7. Comfortable shoes Avoid over-tight footwear that will crush your feet

This value is 0.8 g / ml. The formula for calculation: alcohol content (in grams of pure alcohol) = amount of the drink (in ml) x (% by volume / 100) x 0.8 Example: 1 glass of beer (300 ml , 5% by volume): 300 ml x (5/100) x 0.8 = 12 g alcohol

Lose weight during the alcohol break

Certain areas of the brain that are responsible for appetite and the feeling of hunger are activated during alcohol consumption. We are only too happy to reach into the chip bowl or buy a kebab before going to bed. The salty snacks that can often be found in bars also make you thirsty again. Refraining from alcohol can also prevent food cravings.

Another reason why many people lose weight during the break is the fact that many drinks – especially sweet cocktails – contain a lot of sugar and are calorie bombs.

Sleep better without alcohol

It’s known to be easier to fall asleep with alcohol, but research has shown that sleep quality is poorer. The restless sleep means that you are not rested the next morning. For the time being, doing without it can mean that you will fall asleep more difficult. You are used to the effects of the wine or beer in the evening. In return, your sleep will be better overall.

Better skin without alcohol

On the one hand, alcohol removes water from the body, which can make the skin look dry and sallow. On the other hand, alcohol can make the face look puffy, for example. This is because a hormone is activated that absorbs water. By doing without, you give the skin a break. It can regulate the moisture balance and recover.

Curb the desire for alcohol

"Changing one’s behavior is generally difficult", says Michaela Goecke, head of the BZgA addiction prevention department. "If you have successfully done without for a while, you can reward yourself, for example with a visit to the cinema." In order to get a grip on the desire for alcohol, little tricks help: If you do a little thing in such a situation or distract yourself, the desire for alcohol often passes quickly.

Alcohol is often a part of social gatherings. So should you stay at home during a drinking break? Social events should not be avoided as a matter of principle. "But you should make your position clear: in the form of a friendly but determined no to alcohol", says Goecke. "It’s not rude not to drink alcohol." There are also many non-alcoholic alternatives to the usual drinks.

Enjoyment or already addiction ?: With these two questions you can recognize alcoholics test for men: Are you an alcohol addict? Test for women: are you an alcohol addict?

Do not make up for alcohol twice after the break

When the alcohol fasting period is over, however, caution is advised. "Those who prove their ability to abstain for a month and then drink all the more and make up for doing without are doing themselves no favors", warns Prof. Falk Kiefer. The medical director of the Clinic for Dependent Behavior and Addiction Medicine at the Central Institute for Mental Health in Mannheim advises instead to regularly avoid alcohol on at least two days a week. This also helps the body in the long term.

Sources used: news agency dpa-tmnKenn-dein-Limit.deUniversity of Sussex: Dry January Great Britain (English) own researchAdditional sourcesShow less sources

Muscle cramps are usually harmless, but they can also be an indication of a serious illness. Here you will find possible causes of the sudden muscle pain and tips on what you can do about cramps.


Causes of muscle crampsWhat helps against cramps? Relieve crampsMedication and alternative methodsHow does a cramp develop? Muscle cramps during pregnancy

Most athletes are familiar with the feeling: During training, a lightning-like pain paralyzes the calf, thigh, foot or back. The reason is a muscle spasm – an unwanted muscle contraction in which the affected muscle suddenly hardens. "Muscle cramps during exercise are usually caused by a lack of fluids and minerals"says nutritionist Karsten Köhler from the Sport University Cologne. "With high losses, the risk of cramps is significantly increased."

But cramps can not only occur during exercise. Most people have probably already experienced a night-time calf cramp. After a few seconds to minutes, the muscle usually relaxes on its own. Regular muscle cramps can also be the symptom of a serious illness. 

Food against mineral deficiency
Photo series with 9 pictures

Possible causes of muscle cramps: 

Mineral deficiency: A muscle cramp is often caused by a mineral deficiency. The body lacks important salts such as magnesium, sodium, potassium and calcium, which are, however, necessary for muscle function. They are largely dissolved in the body’s fluids and are known in this form as electrolytes. If the ratio of water and electrolytes is disturbed or if too little water is generally drunk, muscle cramps can result. Above all, athletes have an increased need for fluids and minerals due to sweating, which is why cramps can occur more frequently if these are not adequately balanced.

Factors that promote mineral deficiency: • Lack of fluids • Heavy sweating • Drug and alcohol consumption • Fever • Diarrhea • Vomiting • Medication (eg diuretics) • Pregnancy

Magnesium deficiency: recognizing symptoms and correcting them

Warning: Muscle cramps are often immediately attributed to a magnesium deficiency. However, this does not have to automatically lead to cramps. On the other hand, there are many people who suffer from muscle cramps despite adequate magnesium intake. 

Overloading the muscles: When our muscles work, the fibers in the muscle contract – this is also known as muscle contraction. If a muscle area is stressed too intensely or for too long, a permanent contraction can occur. A well-known example are footballers, who usually suffer from severe cramps in overtime. In addition, one-sided or unfamiliar loads can also cause a muscle to cramp. Shoes that are too tight: Nightly calf cramps and cramps in the feet in particular are often triggered by uncomfortable shoes. These press the vessels off, so that the blood flow is disturbed. People with malpositions of the feet, such as flat or splay feet, have an increased risk of muscle cramps in the feet. Neurological diseases: Some diseases of the nervous system are associated with muscle weakness that can trigger muscle cramps. One such disease is polyneuropathy, which affects several peripheral nerves in the body. The most common triggers are diabetes mellitus, alcohol abuse and various autoimmune, infectious or cancer diseases. Diabetes: As a side effect of diseases such as diabetes, muscle cramps occur, among other things. Diabetes not only affects the metabolism, but can also trigger functional disorders in the body. In the long term, the nerve disease polyneuropathy can develop, which is one of the causes of leg cramps. But even in the first phase of the disease symptoms such as cramps in the legs show up. Hormonal diseases: An underactive parathyroid gland is accompanied by a calcium deficiency. As a result, typical symptoms of the disease are cramps in the face, arms and legs. An underactive adrenal cortex (Addison’s disease) also leads to disturbances in the electrolyte balance, above all to a potassium and sodium deficiency, which is why patients usually also suffer from muscle cramps. Muscle disorders: The muscles themselves can also be the undesirable trigger for calf cramps or thigh cramps. However, certain muscle diseases, so-called myotonia, occur rarely. In myotonia such as Stiff-Man Syndrome and Myotonia congenita Thomsen, the tensing and relaxing of the muscles is defective. The diseases can be hereditary, but can also be triggered by a vitamin D deficiency or hormonal factors. Liver disease: Patients with cirrhosis usually suffer from severe cramps in the legs. Kidney diseases: The kidneys are of fundamental importance for processes in the body. In addition to regulating blood pressure, they also help eliminate waste. If their functionality is disturbed, the substances remain in the body, which significantly disrupts the fluid balance. As a result, cramps can become noticeable in the calves, feet and other areas of the body. Circulatory disorders: Circulatory disorders can also be behind muscle spasms. Doctors call the phenomenon "Peripheral arterial disease", PAVK for short. Classic features of the disease are cramp-like pain in the calf. In addition, the leg feels cold, is pale and the pulse beyond the arterial obstruction can no longer be felt. Women often even have pain in the entire leg or just in the heel. The blood circulation can be disrupted, among other things, by increasing hardening of the arteries, the expansion of arterial walls or inflammatory vascular diseases. Smokers, overweight people, diabetics and people with high blood pressure or cholesterol levels are particularly at risk. According to the BNK, around 15 to 25 percent of people over 65 years of age are affected by PAHV.

Preventing muscle cramps: what helps against cramps?

1. Magnesium If you tend to have muscle cramps while exercising, you will often hear the tip to take magnesium. "It is believed that magnesium offers some protection against muscle cramps"says Professor Herbert Löllgen from the German Association of Sports Physicians. However, the mineral does not provide absolute security against muscle pain. Athletes and people who suffer from nocturnal calf cramps should generally consume enough minerals to prevent muscle cramps. Magnesium tablets, for example, help. Whole grain bread, legumes and nuts also contain plenty of magnesium. 

Drink enough For prevention, it makes sense to drink enough and, if necessary, to resort to so-called isotonic drinks. When it comes to mineral water, it is definitely worth taking a look at the label: good sports water contain more than 100 milligrams of magnesium per liter. Some people rely on taking in sodium chloride during exercise and mix a little of it in their drink. That can definitely help, but is more for the die-hard. In principle, juice spritzers and mineral water are sufficient for exercise, as they also contain minerals.

3. Exercise Regular endurance sports such as jogging, swimming, walking or cycling stimulate the blood circulation in the legs and prevent cramps in the calves and thighs. However, it is important to ensure that you compensate for the loss of fluids and minerals.

Regular stretching exercises Those who regularly suffer from cramps in the calves can counteract this by stretching the calf muscles. One way to stretch your calves is to step in front of a wall, bend your front leg, and press your back heel into the floor until you feel a slight pull in the calf. Alternatively, sit on the floor with your legs straight and pull your toes up so that your heels are no longer touching the floor.

5. Warmth To prevent nighttime calf cramps, it can help to keep the legs warm by putting on warm socks or placing the legs on a hot water bottle or a cherry stone pillow.

Alternating showers Regular alternating showers with hot and cold water can also prevent calf cramps. They have a relaxing effect and at the same time train the veins.

7. Comfortable shoes Avoid over-tight footwear that will crush your feet. You should also wear high-heeled shoes less often if you are prone to cramps, as they put additional strain on the calf muscles. In the case of a misaligned foot, appropriate insoles can relieve the feet and help prevent cramps.  

Treatment: relieve cramps

A good supply of magnesium and fluids is especially necessary to prevent cramps. But what to do if it cramps and hurts? Exercise helps against acute muscle pain. "It is most effective to immediately stretch the muscle", says nutritionist Karsten Köhler. Deep and conscious breathing is beneficial.

If that doesn’t help, try walking back and forth slowly. Warmth and a light massage can also provide relief and relax the muscle. And what about the quickly thrown in magnesium tablet? "She can help in individual cases", says Koehler. However, there are no reliable findings. 

Muscle cramps in the calf: The calf muscles can be stretched by stretching out your legs while lying down and pulling your toes up. This stretch also helps if the back of the thigh becomes tense. 

Muscle struggles in the thigh: If the front of the thigh is affected, bend the leg and grasp the ankle with your hand. Now pull your foot back towards your buttocks, press your pelvis slightly forward and keep your knees together. Use the other hand to support yourself on the wall or on a chair.

Muscle cramps in the back: The best way to relieve a back cramp is warmth. A hot bath, warming ointment or a hot water bottle promote blood circulation and relax the muscles.

Muscle cramps in the foot: In the event of a cramp in the foot, it usually helps to pull the foot firmly with your hand. A foot bath or massage can also relieve the spasm. 

Therapy: drugs and alternative methods

If the pain occurs again and again despite preventive measures, you should ask your doctor to clarify the cause. For people who often suffer from muscle cramps, special prescription drugs containing quinine are available on the market. However, these can be associated with serious side effects and should not be used by children, adolescents, pregnant or breastfeeding women. 

Researchers from Göttingen are also working on a therapy with epilepsy drugs. Which epilepsy drug helps in each individual case and triggers the least side effects, however, must be tested individually for each patient.

There are hardly any non-drug approaches. At the German Sport University in Cologne, the researchers came across a possible new therapeutic approach by chance: electrical stimulation.