Even at the beginning of the corona pandemic, it became clear that on average men seem to be more ill than women. Researchers may now have come a little closer to solving the riddle. The immune systems of men and women seem to react differently to the virus. Doctors worldwide have been researching the corona virus for months. But there are still many unanswered questions. Experts are still puzzled as to why men apparently get more sick with Covid-19 than women – and also more often die after a virus infection. The first indications of this were already available shortly after the start of the pandemic based on Chinese patient data. The trend also continued in other countries, including Germany. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has so far listed 9280 deaths in connection with Covid 19 disease – 55 percent are men, 45 percent women. And that although both sexes are infected with the virus about the same frequency. US researchers have now examined how the immune systems of men and women react to infection with the virus. The results were published in the journal “Nature” and provide evidence that different immune responses in men and women may play a role in the observed differences. The team around the immunologist Akiko Iwasaki examined a total of 17 men and 22 women who were treated in a hospital shortly after their diagnosis. Among other things, blood samples and throat swabs were taken from these and analyzed. The data from 59 other men and women were also included in the analysis. Men’s immune response is weaker The studies showed that women produced significantly more so-called specialized T cells. In addition to antibodies, T cells are an important pillar of the human immune system . You can recognize and fight structures foreign to the body. For example, there are T cells that kill the body’s own cells that have been infected by viruses. Others activate so-called B cells, which then produce antibodies. In the case of men, however, the mobilization of this defense force was fundamentally weaker. Weak T cells were also associated with more severe disease processes. The activation of the immune cells also decreased with age. Women, on the other hand, had a “pretty good, decent immune response,” even up to the old age of 90, according to immunologist Iwasaki. These results are by no means surprising. It is already known that the immune system of women can generally fight off viruses more strongly than that of men. The reason for this is unclear, but it could serve as some kind of protection for unborn children. On the other hand, women suffer much more often from autoimmune diseases – i.e. diseases in which an excessive reaction of the immune system triggers complaints by directing the immune system against the body’s own structures. The researchers also found elevated cytokine levels in the blood of all patients. These are messenger substances that are formed during an immune reaction and are considered to be important markers of inflammation. Certain cytokines – including interleukin 8 and interleukin 18 – were elevated in all of the men examined, but only in a few women. On the other hand, if women had elevated values, they also became more ill. It is already known that a so-called cytokine storm can occur in individual cases during a Covid 19 illness, a potentially life-threatening derailment of the immune system. Even if the study is quite small and ultimately cannot prove that the observed differences are solely due to gender, the researchers hope to gain new impulses for the therapy and prevention of Covid-19. The observed differences could possibly play a role in immunization by vaccines, but also in the gender-specific therapy of corona patients, they write in a press release. But more research is needed.
Thinning hair, receding hairlines and bald spots: hair loss is a nuisance, but nobody has to put up with it. These remedies and therapies curb hair loss and stimulate growth. Whether you realize it or not, you lose hair, anytime and anywhere on your head. This is normal and not a cause for concern at first. After six years every hair says goodbye. And a new one grows back. We lose about a hundred hairs a day. Temporarily it can be more. Typically, more hair falls out in spring or fall. Hormonal fluctuations can also temporarily clear the head. However, if the hair hangs in abundance on collars and pillows or if they hang in tufts in the brush, then that is a bad sign. There are many reasons for this loss: In some people, the hair roots are particularly sensitive to hormones. Or they suffer from iron deficiency. Various medications can also get on the hair. Experts only speak of pathological hair loss if you lose more than a hundred hairs a day over a long period of time. Hair loss is a matter for dermatologists Experts differentiate between four different types of pathological hair loss. They can affect men and women alike: predisposition hair loss usually manifests itself in the form of a receding hairline, light hair on the back of the head or hair loss on the crown. Circular hair loss begins with coin-sized bald patches. With diffuse hair loss, too much hair goes out everywhere. Pitted hair loss leaves bald, scarred areas. The sooner you see a doctor, the greater the chance of successful treatment. Hair is so-called skin appendages – therefore dermatologists are responsible for hair problems. It is best to go to a hair specialist in the university clinic or in a special practice. With the help of various tests, he can determine what type of hair loss you have pretty quickly. The doctor determines the disease with pinpoint accuracy The pull test gives the doctor an initial indication of how severe your hair loss is. For the test, he grabs a tuft of hair between his thumb and forefinger, pulls it gently and plucks the hair out. If this works painlessly in different places, then this is a sign of hair loss. In order to determine more precisely what your hair is like and how it is looking at hair loss, the doctor makes a so-called trichogram. He also plucks hair for this: He pulls the first tuft out where the hair is already thinning. He takes the second sample – as a control – from a healthy area. He counts the hairs under the light microscope and calculates how many hairs are in the growth or resting phase. Usually around 85 to 90 percent of hair grows. The doctor also uses the so-called Trichoscan to check how much hair is in the growth phase and how quickly it is growing. To do this, he shaves a small area on your scalp. Three days later, he dyes the shaved hair and saves a video image of it at twenty times magnification. A software helps the doctor to calculate the total number of hairs and the ratio of hairs to each other that are in the growing and resting phase. For some forms of hair loss , your doctor will recommend a biopsy. To do this, after a local anesthetic, he will remove a small piece of tissue about four millimeters in size from your scalp. He examines this tissue under a microscope and can then determine which disease you have. Stiftung Warentest has tested over-the-counter hair loss remedies for stern.de . You can read the result here . Hereditary hair loss Did you have a receding hairline as a young man? Or is the hair thinning on the back of your head? Perhaps your grandfather, father, and uncle had thinning hair too. Then you probably suffer from hereditary hair loss. It was born in your cradle. Doctors also speak of androgenetic alopecia, which is hormone-related. This means that the hair cells are more sensitive to the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The hair roots suffer from this . If they die off completely, the corresponding areas remain bare. Constitutional hair loss is the most common reason for a light head in men and women. Men lose their hair on the forehead, parting and back of the head. Women lose their hair along the middle parting. Countless products promise remedies: biotin, panthenol, zinc, vitamins, algae, phytoflavonoids or grapeseed oil. However, it has only been proven that two preparations actually stop hair loss: tablets with the active ingredient finasteride and the minoxidil solution. However, as soon as you stop using these drugs, they no longer work. This remedy only helps men The prescription finasteride is only approved for men. It is ineffective in older women and dangerous in pregnant women: it damages male fetuses. The agent prevents the conversion of the hormone testosterone into the “hair-damaging” sex hormone DHT. The result: the testosterone no longer causes hair loss. Studies over a period of five years confirm the effect. Finasteride was able to stop hair loss in 90 percent of men. In every second man, the hair thickened visibly within six to twelve months. But the undesirable effects of the drug are sometimes considerable: the desire for sex can decrease and the number of sperm in the seminal fluid also decreases. If the product is discontinued, the quality of the semen improves again, but the use of the product, especially for young men, is controversial. This solution stops hair loss and stimulates hair growth The non-prescription and hormone-free minoxidil supports the growth of hair cells. It works in women and men. Women apply a two percent solution to the scalp twice a day, men take a five percent mixture. Studies prove the effect: After that, hair loss stopped in 80 percent of those involved. In every fifth woman, the hair thickened visibly. Occasionally, however, the skin of the head is sensitive to the agent. It’s itchy, reddened, or allergic. Rarely does it grow more hair on the face. Pregnant and breastfeeding women must avoid minoxidil. People with arrhythmias, low blood pressure or migraines should also be careful. So-called antiandrogens also help some women. They are designed to prevent active testosterone from acting on the scalp. But there is no major scientific study to prove this. Also, taking these pills increases the risk of gaining weight and developing a thrombosis or embolism. This is especially true for women who smoke. Circular hair loss (alopecia areata) The circular hair loss is shocking: for no apparent reason, tufts of hair fall out, often within a few days. Bald circles remain on the scalp. They are lined with short hair that gets thinner and thinner towards the tip – the so-called exclamation point hair. In fact, all of your head hair can fall out – including your brows, eyelashes, and nasal hairs. However, those affected rarely lose their body hair. But the fingernails are as rough as sandpaper and interspersed with grooves or pits. Those who suddenly go bald don’t have to put up with it. Because there is hope of spontaneous healing: With every third sufferer, the bald spots grow over again on their own within six months. After a year, the matter is forgotten for every second person. However, the hair can fall out again at any time. A zinc treatment can help with bald spots Experts estimate that around one to two percent of the population will experience circular hair loss at some point in their lives, men and women of all ages. Experts argue about the cause. Circular hair loss is almost certainly an autoimmune disease: the immune system evaluates its own hair root cells as foreign. That is why the immune cells defend themselves against the hair cells. The hair follicles become inflamed and the hair goes out. Scientists have carried out many studies in recent years to test the effectiveness of immune-weakening substances such as tacrolimus and anti-inflammatory drugs such as sulfasalazine or cortisone. Treatment with different lasers was also examined. So far, however, there is no standard therapy for circular hair loss that has proven to be really effective in scientific studies. If you have few bald spots, a three-month zinc treatment may help. The trace element is said to stimulate the immune system. You can also coat the bald spots with corticosteroid solutions or creams that your doctor prescribes for you. However, this treatment should not be a permanent solution. Circular hair loss: In severe cases, doctors trick the immune system If none of the therapies work for you, your doctor will suggest a rather aggressive but effective treatment: immune therapy with the active ingredient diphenylcyclopropenone (DCP). He applies the product directly to the scalp. The chemical triggers allergic contact eczema. It attracts the immune cells away from the inflamed hair roots – towards the scalp. There they can no longer cause damage. The therapy works for about every second person affected, even if the hair loss was years ago. However, DCP is not officially approved for circular hair loss. Therefore, only special treatment centers offer the therapy. Diffuse hair loss You are slowly but surely losing your hair all over your head. You can already see your scalp. Then you may have diffuse hair loss. With a little luck it will pass. Because your hair is not destroyed. Their growth is only hindered. A disease can be to blame for this, but also a lack of iron or protein. A high fever can trigger hair loss, as can serious surgery or a so-called crash diet. Even for specialists, the cause is not easy to find. Also eligible are: Infections such as the flu or tuberculosis, impaired function of the thyroid gland, hormonal changes shortly after giving birth or after stopping the pill, Medication, such as after chemotherapy, or heparin injections that thin the blood, Poisoning or environmental influences. During the conversation, the doctor will therefore ask you whether you are taking medication and, if so, which ones. He will take your blood and, depending on the suspicion, have your iron or thyroid levels determined in the laboratory. A trichogram is also helpful when looking for the causes: The doctor can use this light microscopic examination to determine how much of your hair is growing and how much is in the resting phase. He can tell the extent of the hair loss from the result. Once the cause of the hair loss has been identified, it is easy to treat. If the problem is with one medicine, your doctor will recommend another one. If you have an iron deficiency, he will suggest an iron supplement. If the thyroid is sick, he will prescribe appropriate medication. Basically, once the underlying disease has been treated or the deficiency has been remedied, the hair usually grows back completely within three to six months. Pitted hair loss If your doctor speaks of pitted hair loss, it unfortunately means for you: The hair will not grow back. Where your hair has fallen out, scars, pustules, scales or hairless spots form . The mostly rounded scars can look pale inside. Outside it is surrounded by an inflammatory, red-colored edge. The scars occur because the hair stem cells become inflamed before the hair falls out. They lie in the hair follicle at the lower end of a narrow hair tunnel that medical professionals call the hair follicle . The hair stem cells control the growth of the hair. If the hair follicles are destroyed by the inflammation, they are completely destroyed. The scarred scalp remains. This inflammation is a result of Skin damage, injuries , Burns , scalds or chemical burns, Autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus, Infections caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi, Tumor-related hair loss, for example in basaliomas and daughter tumors. In some cases it is possible to stop the inflammation in time. The doctor then tries to calm the immune system: with antibiotics, virus-inhibiting agents or preparations such as cortisone ointments . He will only recommend cortisone tablets in very severe cases , as these have too many side effects if they are taken over a long period of time. The treatment is intended to prevent the hair follicles from disappearing completely and only leaving scars. It is important that the doctor gets an exact picture of the disease before treatment. A tissue sample from the scalp can help. He will also thoroughly examine the remaining skin, oral mucosa and nails. In order to be able to observe the further course, he measures the size of the affected area and possibly also photographs it. expert advice Hans Wolff, hair expert at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, answers your questions: I have circular hair loss. Do I have to have it treated or can I wait for the hair to come back? One to two percent of people are affected by circular hair loss at some point in their life. The position is often limited, the size of a two-euro coin and often grows back in after three to six months. Fortunately, with this type of hair loss, the hair roots do not break. So for now you can wait and see. Then we try a three-month zinc cure in Munich. If it doesn’t help, we move on to immunotherapy with diphenylcyclopropenone, or DCP for short. Occasionally we also inject cortisone crystals under the scalp. Cortisone pills or infusions leave marks all over the body. They sometimes have severe side effects such as weight gain, bone loss and skin changes. This treatment is therefore usually not justified. How quickly does a treatment for hereditary hair loss work? Medicines and other therapies can only influence the hair during the growth phase. If they are already in the resting phase, they will definitely fail – with or without treatment. The drug can only work again on regrowing hair and lead to less hair going out. So whether the funds help can be assessed after three to six months at the earliest. Can alternative methods such as acupuncture or Chinese medicine also help? Alternative procedures and acupuncture do not work at all in treating hair loss. I also advise against having an expensive hair analysis for missing minerals. Such an analysis has no informative value – neither for recognizing nor for treating the disease. I don’t lose a lot of hair and still my hair is getting lighter. Why is that? With some, the hair on the head thins out, although hair is barely noticeable; others lose more than a hundred hairs a day and still do not go bald. Constitutional hair loss often develops slowly over the years without severe hair loss becoming noticeable. Does frequent washing make the hair thin? It does not matter how often you wash your hair for the course of hair loss. Only the hair that is already in the resting phase will fall out.
Vitamins are important for the skin: The relationship of vitamin A can fight acne and psoriasis. These substances are also found in moisturizers and anti-aging products. Our body produces vitamin A itself from precursors of the substance; it takes the appropriate building blocks for it from food, for example from egg yolks, carrots or cream. The vitamin – also called retinol – can then be converted into other important substances: These retinoids can perform very different tasks in the body. Our eyes, for example, need retinal to perceive light impulses. Other retinoids play important roles in skin cell growth. Local application with ointment is preferable to tablets; doctors should only prescribe tablets for severe forms of psoriasis. Patients with acne should only use retinoids as part of a combination therapy. Overall, retinoids can also help in the long term, and in the best case scenario they can even cure the skin disease. Certain retinoids do their job in the top layer of the skin , in the epidermis. There are the cells that produce the horny layer. The retinoids ensure that too much horny substance does not form. Also, the relatives of vitamin A can reduce inflammation in the skin. Because retinoids can control horny cells, dermatologists prescribe this substance to people with psoriasis . Because with this disease, the horny cells are too active, they cause, among other things, the dandruff. Retinoids also help with acne because they decrease sebum production. If the sebum glands are blocked and inflamed, the vitamin A relationship can curb the infection. Retinoids are usually added to ointments. You can apply it to the infected areas. But there are also tablets. Then the drug works throughout the body and can cause serious side effects. In the meantime, many cosmetic manufacturers have started adding derivatives of vitamin A to creams and lotions . The retinoids are supposed to hold moisture in the skin and thus make wrinkles disappear. But so far there are no studies that prove such an anti-aging effect .
What is inflammation? A distinction is made between visible and silent inflammation. You are familiar with visible inflammation : it is caused, for example, by cold viruses or a bloody wound on the knee. When viruses or bacteria enter the body, our immune system mobilizes an army of white blood cells (leukocytes) to fight the hostile microbes. If areas of the skin are affected, they swell, become red and hot. If we have a cold, we may develop a fever. These are all signs that our immune system activates the body’s own defense cells and sets repair mechanisms in motion. This inflammation can be seen, felt and observed as it subsides. They are absolutely important and useful in protecting our bodies. Silent inflammations, on the other hand, are less noticeable but constant in the body and initially manifest themselves with at most diffuse symptoms, which include fatigue Difficulty concentrating Headache, muscle pain and aching limbs Listlessness and listlessness Frequent infections Night sweats Food intolerance or cosmetic products Symptoms are rarely concentrated. But if you notice some of them repeatedly, you shouldn’t dismiss them as stress, but also consider silent inflammation as the cause and get examined for it. Because this subliminal but permanent inflammation mobilizes aggressive radicals, which act effectively against pathogens, but can cause great damage in the long term in the tissue of your body. Like a smoldering fire, they can spread throughout the body and cause great damage in the long term. How can I recognize inflammatory processes? In the blood count, silent inflammations could be recognized by a constantly increased CRP value . This C-reactive protein is a non-specific inflammation marker, which should normally be below 0.5 mg / l, in the case of a flu-like infection, for example, it can rise to more than 100 mg / l, and again to below 0.5 after the illness has been overcome mg / falls. In the case of silent inflammation, however, it is usually slightly increased. Another marker is an increase in the number of white blood cells ( leukocytes ); a decrease in the blood count can also provide clues. If you have symptoms of exhaustion over a long period of time or repeatedly, you should have your CPR values checked at the next check-up. Because silent inflammations are usually only felt indirectly, but in the long term they can shorten your life. What are the consequences of silent inflammation? As already mentioned, the first signs of silent inflammatory processes can be constant exhaustion and diffuse pain, which could also be associated with stress. The darned thing is that the symptoms are often rather unspecific: one person has a slight headache, another fatigue and a third irritation. Some do not even notice that they have silent inflammation in them. In the long run, autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatism, and dementia have been linked to it. But that’s not all. “Long-term elevated CRP blood values are associated with an increase in cancer, heart attack, stroke and general mortality risk,” explains human medicine specialist Dr. Peter Niemann in his book ” The Anti-Inflammation Strategy (ab 15,99 € ) “. The National Center for Biotechnology came to the same conclusion in a study with around 85,000 participants. Expert Niemann sees inflammation as one of the main causes of aging: “I am of the opinion that everyone can live to be 100 years or older and live happily and healthily. The fight against inflammation in us plays an important role in this.” How common is silent inflammation? Experts argue in detail about the frequency. “But if you take into account that 5 to 7% of the population already suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases, then it can be assumed that a third (or more) of the population suffers from one form or another of silent inflammations,” says Niemann. What are the causes of silent inflammation? Anyone who deals with the topic of silent inflammation will be shocked to discover that a lot of everyday life causes silent inflammation. Much depends on what we eat how much we move (at least 30 minutes / day with a pulse of 180 minus age) how big the waist circumference is (should be less than 94 centimeters for men), how much stress we have what environmental toxins we are exposed to Too much sugar and too much white flour are strongly suspected of triggering silent inflammation when eating . Like excessive alcohol consumption , they contribute to the development of fatty liver , which, like being overweight and above all too much belly fat, provokes chronic inflammation in the body. Niemann: “The environment is full of influences that affect both body and psyche. For example, they arise from inflammatory substances that occur in many foods. These include certain flavor enhancers and additives, residues of pesticides or so-called wrong fats such as certain trans fats or saturated fats are consumed. “ Which foods help against inflammation? It is amazing how easy a healthy life can be and the wide range of ways there are to counteract silent inflammation in your body. Above all, you can control a lot through diet. “Anyone who drinks coffee or tea has less inflammation in them, as do those people who can keep their sugar content below 20% , ideally below 10% of the required daily calorie requirement”, says expert Niemann. To curb the silent threat of internal inflammation, foods high in antioxidants should be on your diet regularly. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that protect your body from damaging free radicals by neutralizing them. Ideally, these ingredients should be found in your food every day: Onions garlic turmeric pepper ginger cinnamon chives “Switching to organic food can reduce the amount of pesticides ingested by more than three quarters, which in turn reduces the silent inflammation in us,” explains Niemann or plastic containers should be avoided because of the coating chemicals. ” It is also important which ingredients are used for cooking, with fresh foods with lots of spices, vegetables and fruit being preferred, and whether the ingredients have been sufficiently washed. What else can help against inflammation? In addition to nutrition, these components are extremely important for reducing disease-causing inflammation in the body: good sleep , lots of movement avoiding or coping with stress such as noise healthy gums, good dental care sufficient social contacts Of course there are also drugs (e.g. anti-inflammatory drugs or glucocortcoids) that can stop the inflammation in the body. However, for the most part these have enormous side effects and mostly suppress the immune system. Your doctor will only prescribe them in very severe cases. Better to try your diet and your lifestyle first.
Eating less – if you want to lose pounds through this alone, you will fail again and again. Because it is also important to bring movement into everyday life. Experts give tips on how to do this without any problems. Christiane Nauroth started the first diet when she was in her early twenties . Since then, the 39-year-old has been trying to get rid of her extra pounds. She has already tried a lot: smaller portions, potatoes instead of rice or fruit and vegetables instead of meat. Although this was the first successes to be achieved, Christiane Nauroth did not succeed in permanently reducing her weight. With a height of 1.75 meters, she weighed a maximum of 116 kilos, the trained industrial clerk is currently a little over 90 kilos. For a long time she couldn’t bring herself to do sport. “I’ve always been a bit of a sports grouch,” she says. Like Christiane Nauroth, many overweight people believe that the ideal route to ideal weight is the right diet. They chastise each other when they eat, nibble on carrots, drink apple cider vinegar and yet fail every time. Because if you want to lose weight permanently, you also have to move . Butt up! “It is advisable to start slowly,” says Ingo Froböse, head of the Center for Health at the German Sport University Cologne. “It doesn’t have to be the marathon.” Instead of starting sports immediately, the first goal should be to integrate exercise into everyday life . Because the body cells don’t really care whether their owner rides a bike, cleans windows, digs up the garden or lifts weights in the gym. The examples show that there are numerous opportunities to get active. The problem: countless movement killers lurk in everyday life to keep us from doing it. Elevators save us the stairs, the S-Bahn takes us almost to the front door and electric bicycles ensure that we don’t have to pedal so hard. If you want to lose weight, you should avoid such comfort traps – and get off one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way home. Going for a walk is a good gateway drug anyway. Because at the beginning: “A lot of exercise and little stress,” says Froböse. “Half an hour of walking a day is enough, an hour is ideal.” The expert advises against maltreating yourself with a stress EKG and fat measurements right from the start. “Beginners shouldn’t overwhelm themselves with data like this. Walk up your butt and leisurely, that’s enough.” “People are made for movement,” says Gerhard Huber from the Institute for Sport and Sport Science at the University of Heidelberg. He also advises overweight people to start slowly and celebrate their successes. However, not with sweets or overeating – because a bar of milk chocolate can destroy the usefulness of an hour of jogging in no time. Huber has also observed that knowing exactly how many calories an exercise burns is an incentive for many overweight people. Lazing around and shedding fat Sports scientist Froböse doesn’t think much of it. “The value of exercise is in burning more energy later when I’m on the couch,” he says. Lazing around and shedding fat – what sounds incompatible is actually possible. But only if you first increase your basal metabolic rate (GU). Behind the bulky term hides the amount of calories that our body needs at rest to maintain its vital basic functions such as breathing or the heartbeat. The GU, which depends on weight, gender and ambient temperature, has a 60 to 70 percent share in our metabolism. If it reaches a higher level, the energy consumption also increases. “Obese people have to turn this screw,” says Froböse. “Your metabolism is often poor: you take in more calories than you use.” In doing so, they do not necessarily eat more, they only utilize the energy they supply less than people of normal weight. The GU can be calculated using a simple formula . If you want to know exactly, you can have it determined with the help of a test by a specialist or in a sports medicine institute . Christiane Nauroth had her GU determined at the Sport University Cologne – with a breath test, for which she had to appear sober. “The GU was pretty much in the basement,” she says. This is not surprising, because diets drive him down mercilessly. The body learns to get by with less energy and shuts down the engine. “Eating less would therefore be the wrong way to go, because then the metabolism would be further weakened,” says Froböse. If you lose weight in this way, you also lose mass in the wrong places, because instead of fat, the body first breaks down muscles. More muscle, less fat But how do you get the JV up? “About a sustainable nutrition program and metabolic tuning,” says Froböse. The path leads to more muscle mass. Because our body’s powerhouses are real energy guzzlers; after the liver, they consume the most calories – and not only during exercise, but also when you are resting. However, those who want to lose weight have to cope with a little shock at the beginning when they train their muscles. Because they initially weigh more and are therefore “the enemy of the scales”, as Froböse says. But perseverance is worth it: If you build muscle, you also reduce the amount of fat in your body and create energy-hungry power plants. Every kilogram of muscle mass consumes around 50 kilocalories more energy than one kilogram of body fat per day – which corresponds roughly to the amount of energy in a bar of milk chocolate. If you have a good GU and exercise regularly, you can treat yourself to something sweet now and then. Load joints gently Anyone who decides on a sport should make sure that the joints, heart, circulation and bones are gently strained. “Cycling or aqua jogging is great for beginners,” says Froböse. Also important: “Overweight people have to do sport with sufficient oxygen supply. Only then is the fat metabolism stimulated and the body burns additional calories.” Five times a week ten minutes of muscle training with your own weight or the Theraband and three times a week endurance training, for example half an hour to three quarters of an hour of walking with medium load: Froböse is convinced that anyone who incorporates this training dose into their everyday life drives well. For a start, however, it is enough to be physically active for 15 to 30 minutes every day and slowly increase this dose – first in scope, then in intensity. In order to overcome the first hurdle on the way to more exercise and the desired weight, offers from the health insurance company are also helpful. Keeping up is everything Christiane Nauroth now walks with her husband for an hour two to three times a week. She also trains her muscles at home – at least three to four times a week for half an hour. “At first it was difficult, but now I even enjoy it,” says the 39-year-old. However, it is important to stay tuned : Only those who do sport regularly can have a lasting effect on their metabolism. “If I’ve chucked myself ten kilos in ten years and now think it should go away in three weeks, that’s the wrong idea,” says Froböse. Sports scientist Huber also emphasizes: “Movement is a life’s work.” Because the body doesn’t change overnight. It takes time for him to break down fat deposits and build up muscle fibers. Body fat is high in energy; there are around 7000 kilocalories in one kilogram. To burn them off, an athlete weighing 70 kilograms would have to jog for around ten hours at an average speed of a good eight kilometers per hour. Exercise not only has a positive effect on the display of the scale. The psyche also benefits: Those who move, feel more balanced. After moving for a while, the body breaks down stress hormones and releases happiness hormones. “After a hard day in the office, I can clear my head with an hour of running,” says Christiane Nauroth. “If I don’t do sports for a few days, I now notice that I am lacking movement.”
D ie pool season has begun, shower and sauna areas remain but this year largely closed. Will this reduce the number of foot and nail fungus infections? Unfortunately not necessarily. Because nail fungus has many causes, not just walking barefoot in public showers. Onychomycosis, the technical term for the often underestimated infection, often affects those affected for a long time. The nail becomes discolored, cracked, brittle and may flake off. The infection is extremely difficult to cure. However, recovery is possible, says Dr. Ute Siemann-Harms, Senior Physician in the Clinic and Polyclinic for Dermatology at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). How does nail fungus develop? Around 14 million people in Germany are affected by nail fungus. A damp environment increases the risk of infection. Sources of danger: walking barefoot in gyms, in the sauna and in the public shower. But sweat in the feet in non-breathable shoes and synthetic socks can also cause nail fungus. The disease usually begins with a slight discoloration of the toenail or fingernail, which is barely visible. The expert warns that a fungal nail infection is often preceded by athlete’s foot, especially if it has not been treated or has only been inadequately treated. As with athlete’s foot, infection occurs via smear or contact infection, either from person to person or through objects that have not been disinfected. The risk group also includes athletes. Some patients cultivate their nail fungus for decades, the spores are sometimes contagious for months. Often a small crack is enough if the surrounding skin is infected or injured to make it easier for the pathogens (especially thread fungi) to penetrate. If only parts of individual nails are affected and the nail root is not yet infected, experts often recommend external treatment. What home remedies and insider tips against nail fungus are there? Before you buy expensive creams and varnishes, there are also 4 unusual ways to defeat nail fungus: 1. Rub the toenails with Wick VapoRub Home remedies like Wick VapoRub can help against nail fungus, claims Joe Graedon, pharmacologist at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and author of “Best Choices From the People’s Pharmacy” (2007), a book about the possibilities of the natural medicine cabinet. Because real drugs can have unpleasant side effects, especially if you take different ones at the same time. Wick VapoRub frees your toenails as well as your nose. The cold ointment is made from various oils and plants and contains, among other things, the antifungal ingredients camphor and eucalyptus. Wick VapoRub is therefore a “safe and inexpensive alternative to treat nail fungus”, according to a study by the US Air Forcefirmly. But: The ointment is not recommended for severely damaged nails because of its essential oils, as these can cause severe burning and contact allergies. Application: Apply Wick VapoRub to the affected nail using the Q-Tip at least once a day. Incidentally, the “miracle cure” Wick VapoRub is also said to be effective against warts and as a heat therapy for muscle pain. Simply massage in and apply a heat pad for 15 minutes. 2. Treat nail fungus with mouthwash Listerine mouthwash was invented in the United States in 1879 as a germicidal liquid for use in doctor’s offices. The herbal ingredients of the antiseptic – menthol, eucalyptol, thymol and methyl salicylate – have an antimicrobial effect and should also help against nail fungus. Some users recommend a 50/50 mix of Listerine and white vinegar. The extra acid makes it even more difficult for the nail fungus to survive. Application:A 50/50 foot bath made from Listerine and vinegar for 45 to 60 minutes every day. If you don’t want to buy liters of Listerine every week, you can also apply the gargle directly to the nail. A method that, however, requires more patience and concentration than taking a foot bath. Possible problem: The vinegar-Listerine foot bath also attacks the protective layer of the skin, i.e. the normal bacterial flora. 3. Bathe nails in tea But not in any English Earl Gray, but in Pau d’Arco or Lapacho tea. It is obtained from the inner bark of the Pau d’Arco tree, which contains antifungal substances. In Central and South America, the indigenous people allegedly used the health-promoting effects of the brewed bark as a panacea against infections and parasites. Application: Soak the feet twice a day for 20 minutes in an infusion made from 2 tea bags Lapacho. 4. Drizzle the toenails with tea tree oil The essential oils and antibiotic effects of the Australian all-round talent are also said to help against nail fungus. The main component of the oil is the chemical compound terpinen-4-ol, which is also found in lavender oil. This is the active ingredient that is needed to fight fungus. Therefore, when buying, make sure that it is at least 30% included. Application: A few drops on the nail and the transition to the cuticle 2 to 3 times a day and 1 to 2 times a week. To avoid skin irritation, you can also dilute the tea tree oil with a little water. Caution: Some people develop a contact allergy to tea tree oil. They often last for life, says our expert. How to treat stubborn nail fungus The stage of your yeast infection should determine your actions. If only the surface of the front part of the nail is affected, you can treat the infection yourself with nail tinctures and anti-fungal varnishes. However, if the entire nail is already over a large area (including the growth zone at the nail root) or if several toenails and fingernails are affected (plus skin or athlete’s foot occurs on other parts of the body), you should consult a doctor. In this case, it can be assumed that the infection has already advanced very far and is constantly re-infecting the growing healthy nail. Remedy: a combination therapy of external and internal treatment – nail polish and ointments for the external healing process and tablets for the internal fight against the fungus. Medicines, creams, varnish & laser therapy against nail fungus Your doctor will prescribe tablets for you if you have a large fungal infection. These should inhibit the growth of the fungi or kill them. Medicines have the advantage over varnishes that they can reach fungal spores everywhere, even in the small nail cavities. If you don’t feel like a lengthy treatment with home remedies, you should speak to your dermatologist. He will take a swab and grow a mushroom to find the most effective drug. The duration of treatment can, however, drag on (up to a year), knows Dr. Siemann-Harms. The expert recommends a combination therapy consisting of a laser treatment and the use of creams and varnishes, such as Loceryl with the active ingredients Amorolfin or Ciclopolirox. This helps especially with stubborn nail fungus. The laser works via heat. At temperatures of over 50 degrees, the fungal spores could be killed directly on the infected nail and their reproduction inhibited. A maximum of 10 minutes of treatment time per session would be necessary for each nail. “Laser technology is still a very new therapy,” the expert points out. The study situation is still unclear. Because some fungal spores can also withstand great heat. Duration of therapy: about 2 to 4 months. What are the symptoms of nail fungus? Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between “just” brittle nails and a fungal infection. A nail fungus is often only discovered or taken seriously when several nails have already been affected. If you feel pain, the infection is usually at an advanced stage. The fungus often spreads from the nail bed over the nail plate and changes the structure of the nail in the process. The nail substance keratin is produced, which slowly dissolves and creates air-filled cavities. These show up as white stripes or spots. In addition, the affected nail area can thicken and first turn whitish, then yellow-brown-green. If you experience the following symptoms, you should definitely seek advice from a specialist: Your nails: lose their shine change color from pink to white, yellowish, brown or even greenish are spotty or streaked become brittle and layers of nails separate tear down thicken on the nail plate ignite on the nail bed itch and / or pain begin to smell Tip: Don’t put off your visit to the doctor too long! The earlier an infection is identified and treated, the faster the healing process. What types of nail fungus are there? The main pathogens of nail and athlete’s foot are predominantly filamentous fungi (dermatophytes). Fungal nail infections caused by mold or yeast are less common. The filamentous fungus Trichophyton rubrum is responsible for around 80% of all nail fungal infections. It influences our immune system in such a way that the body’s own defenses cannot fight the fungus on their own. This means that nail fungus cannot heal on its own and treatment is required. The feet are generally affected by fungal infections more often than fingernails. This is due to the fact that toenails are subjected to greater stress in everyday life, due to tight footwear and the warm, humid climate in (wool) socks and shoes. In addition, an athlete’s foot often turns into a nail fungus. If the athlete’s foot is not completely healed, the pathogen can infect the skin around the nail and eventually the toenail as well. There are 5 types of fungal nail infections: Distolateral subungual onychomycosis or DSO (onychomycosis = nail fungus): This occurs most frequently at 90%, begins at the front edge of a nail and then spreads towards the nail root. Usually affects toenails. If it is recognized early, external treatment, for example with antifungal nail polish and creams, is sufficient. If the infestation is advanced, a combination with medication is recommended. Proximal subungual onychomycosis (PSO) : occurs in less than 5% of cases. The fungal infection starts at the nail root, in the direction of the nail plate and finally reaches the nail tip. Leukonychia trichophytica (also called white superficial onychomycosis (WSO)) : The fungal pathogen Trichophyton interdigitale (part of the genus of filamentous fungi) penetrates the nail surface and discolors the nail whitish. The infection is treated purely externally. Total dystrophic onychomycosis (TDO): Here the entire nail is affected by fungus and discolored, and the nail can be completely destroyed. Usually treated with a combination of topical and drug therapy. Onychia et Paronychia candidosa (also called yeast onychomycosis) : Infection occurs via yeasts (of the genus Candida). First the nail wall becomes inflamed, then irregular structures appear in the nail plate and the nail turns green and brown. How do you prevent nail fungus? If you stick to these 5 simple tips, you can eliminate the worst risk factors and reduce the risk of infection: Keep your feet clean and dry them thoroughly after you shower. Always wear dry, breathable athletic shoes and socks. Change the latter daily. If you sweat heavily on your feet, you can use baby powder to soak up the moisture. Do not walk barefoot in public places. Wash clothes at over 60 degrees. Fungal spores only die at 60 degrees Celsius. Always wash and store your used items separately to avoid contamination. Anyone who suffers from nail fungus should definitely treat their shoes with special anti-fungal sprays. The spores don’t just die off. Important: The shoes should also be treated during the treatment of the foot or nail fungus.
Around four million people in Germany suffer from depression. Sports clubs should now stand by those affected in the fight against their disease. Psychiatrists and sports scientists have developed a special training program for people with depression. The effectiveness of the offer designed for sports clubs is now being tested in a study. Movement helps with depression, but there are far too few specific sports and movement therapies, said Prof. Marc Ziegenbein, deputy director of the MHH clinic for psychiatry, social psychiatry and psychotherapy in Hanover on Friday. According to the researchers’ ideas, the “Active out of the mood” program should become just as natural in clubs as, for example, back exercises or courses for heart patients. A moderate endurance training was developed that can be continued after the course. “The program includes, for example, walking, light running training and playful exercises,” said sports scientist Olaf Hoos from the University of Marburg. Researchers from the University of Würzburg are also involved. Depression is also a physical illness A total of 50 patients are taking part in the study, they meet three times a week for 45 to 60 minute training sessions. The goals are to reduce depressive symptoms, improve body awareness and improve self-confidence. It should also be achieved that those affected come back to people. The patients are divided into two groups, one of which starts later. The Würzburg riot police provide a control group with healthy people who are also completing the program. An estimated four million people in Germany suffer from depression. “It’s a really good idea to get the sports clubs on board,” said Prof. Frank Schneider, head of the sports psychiatry department of the German Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology, about the project. In psychiatric clinics, physiotherapy is an important part of every treatment, but in the outpatient area there is a lack of special exercise offers for the mentally ill, said the director of the clinic for psychiatry, psychotherapy and psychosomatics at the University Hospital Aachen. “With regular club training there is a very quick risk of being overwhelmed.” Depression is not only a nervous but also serious physical illness. “Even if the disease seems to have subsided, it is still in the bones many months later.”
Have you ever thought about donating seeds? Why you should do it, who is suitable and what you can earn from it It is not because of the fee that Niklas, who does not want to give his real name here and also only states his age at around his early 30s, became a sperm donor: “I could earn more with every job,” says the business economist. 40 euro per allowance he gets donation of Germany’s largest, newly opened E uropean Sperm Bank in Hamburg . The fee varies from organization to organization, but the earnings are not much higher with other sperm banks either. The idea of becoming a sperm donor came from the circle of friends: A couple of friends had been found to be unable to conceive, and Niklas was asked if he could imagine stepping in as a sperm donor. He decided against it: He didn’t want to see the child grow up in his immediate vicinity. But to donate for unknown women or families and to help unintentionally childless couples, that made sense to Niklas, who is also a blood donor and carries an organ donor card in his wallet. The most common motivation for men to become a sperm donor is to help achieve a desire to have children if the male partner is unable to conceive or has an inherited disease. They also enable same-sex couples or single women to start a family through their sperm donation. What are the requirements to become a sperm donor? “Our donors are between 18 and 45 years old and represent the diversity of society,” says donor coordinator Laura Fleckenstein, who interviews potential donors for Sperm Bank Hamburg. Donors come from all walks of life, have different backgrounds, religions, educations and jobs. What they all have in common is that they are both physically and mentally healthy. And that is carefully examined in advance. So if you are interested in becoming a sperm donor, you will receive both a general and an up-to-date update on your health status. “A family anamnesis is made, that is, we are asked which diseases have occurred in the family,” explains the biologist Dr. Roja Barikbin, who heads the Hamburg office of ESB. In addition, a geneticist examines your genes for the 4 most common autosomal recessive diseases, i.e. diseases that come into play when the genetic mother carries hereditary information about the same disease, for example cystic fibrosis. This is followed by general medical examinations, if necessary by dermatologists, cardiologists and psychologists, the blood values are checked, the latter also regularly for HIV and hepatitis. Who can become a sperm donor? The first step to becoming a sperm donor is to examine the sperm. First of all, it must be determined whether your sperm are donor quality at all. To do this, a semen sample is first washed, frozen at minus 196 degrees Celsius and thawed again. You do that because the donor sperm are frozen for storage and when they are sold, they still have to be of first class quality after thawing. The thawed sperm are then assessed under the microscope for quantity and mobility. “Only one in 20 sample donations is good enough,” says laboratory manager Jean Marie Skarke from experience. However, if the sperm pass the test, the potential donor’s medical testing process begins. How does a sperm donation work? Let’s assume that the quality of your sperm and your health conditions qualify you as a donor. In cooperation with the sperm bank, you will create an anonymous online profile for potential biological mothers and their partners. In it you reveal your physical characteristics, your ethnic origin, your character traits, your occupation, your medical family history and your hobbies. Your profile also includes a baby photo of you and a personal audio message explaining why you became a donor. To donate, you then regularly go to the sperm bank of your choice, ideally at least once a week for a year. More often is also possible, but 48 hours grace period should be in between. As soon as a child is born in Germany with your donation, you will be informed by DIMDI, the German Institute for Medical Documentation and Information. “At the European Sperm Bank we adhere to the quota applicable in Germany, according to which each donor may donate to a maximum of 15 families,” explains Dr. Barikbin. What about possible legal claims of the children? Since July 2018, the Sperm Donor Register Act in Germany has stipulated that children have the right to know their parentage and that sperm donors are released from possible claims under custody, maintenance and inheritance rights. Children who have been conceived through artificial insemination using sperm donation can, however, from the age of 16 inquire about their biological father from the central sperm donor register of DIMDI. This means that the sperm bank at which you donate has to forward your data to the institute and for this you have to contractually give it your OK beforehand. Incidentally, you yourself have no right to learn anything about the children you have conceived, but you also have no obligations. How much money can you make with sperm donation? There is usually between 40 to 80 euros per donation, making an income of around 160 to 560 euros per month. A donation from you sells a sperm bank to couples or single women who want to have children. Financially, the donation is more worthwhile for the sperm bank, where your sperm are frozen and from where they are sent: A frozen 0.5-millimeter straw with up to 10 million sperm costs around 700 euros.
Barely every tenth German does it: do without pajamas or clothes in bed. That’s why you should sleep naked from now on Only 10% of the population sleeps naked. Most of them are therefore rather skeptical about sleeping naked. Why actually? We have the sleep researcher Dr. Hans Günter weeß, author asked why one should sleep at all naked. Here are the 7 reasons why sleeping naked is worth trying: 1. Sleeping naked is healthy and hygienic The fact is: “Sleeping naked can have an advantage for the skin,” says the expert. If you belong to the group of naked sleepers, you sweat less at night than pajamas sleepers, especially in the intimate areas of the body. This removes the breeding ground for dangerous bacteria and fungi. The pajama group, however, argues that it is unhygienic to sleep without clothes. Not quite true. Sleeping naked is more hygienic on one condition: washing your bedding more often. Sleep researcher Weeß: “Naked sleepers should change their bed linen at least twice a week. At night you sweat and lose up to 0.75 liters of fluid. This naturally collects in the bed linen.” But let’s be honest: How often do you wash your pajamas that soak up sweat every night? 2. Naked sleepers are self-confident Another argument for being naked in bed: you get a better body feeling. “Anyone who sleeps naked feels sexy,” emphasizes the sleep researcher. Admittedly, you won’t become an Adonis just because you sleep in your Adam’s costume. But sleeping naked has a positive effect on your self-esteem. If you feel good in your skin, there is hardly a better feeling than feeling fresh bed linen on your bare skin. And then you radiate this self-confidence, also on women. 3. Naked sleepers have more sex If two people lie next to each other naked, the chance of physical contact increases. Because the probability of erotic moments is higher when your loved one is naked than when she is lying next to you in grandma’s pajamas, right? Which in turn improves your relationship. 4. Sleeping naked reduces stress “When people touch each other, the bonding hormone oxytocin is released,” explains Weeß. This causes both partners to relax. “The release of oxytocin minimizes the formation of the stress hormone cortisol. This ensures that both partners calm down,” explains the expert. But that’s not all: the bonding hormone oxytocin strengthens your immune system. The blood pressure slows down and even depressive moods can be prevented by the cuddle hormone. Provided, of course, that you find each other attractive. If two people are lying next to each other who cannot smell each other, the effect does not materialize. 5. Sleeping naked can improve your sperm In general, take off tight panties before going to bed! Sperm don’t like warmth or clothing that narrows you down. Here it can be an advantage to go to bed naked. But if not, the best thing to do is wear loose-fitting pajamas. “This gives the genitals enough space. For this reason, you should make sure that it is always cool enough under the blanket,” says the expert. Therefore, the outside temperature of the bedroom should not be above 21 degrees. 6. Sleeping naked heats up the metabolism You burn almost as many calories as you sleep while you are awake. If you drift off into the realm of dreams, the lights in your brain won’t go out. If you also sleep naked, the calorie consumption can increase. Provided you are not under the covers or the ambient temperature is less than 21 degrees. The reason is plausible: If it is colder, the body needs more effort to maintain its core temperature and to adapt to the ambient temperature. But be careful: your bedroom shouldn’t be too cold. Otherwise you won’t get slim, you’ll get sick. Tip: Your bedroom should have a temperature of 16-21 degrees. Then you can sleep naked without worry. 7. Sleeping naked reduces body odor “If you sleep in pajamas, body fluids such as sweat stay longer on the skin and collect in the folds of the skin, such as in the genital area,” explains the expert. Therefore, your pajamas are more likely to smell more unpleasant than naked. But here, too, the following applies: going to bed without clothes is of course no substitute for the shower.
Depression, diabetes, back pain: physical activity is often at least as effective as medicine. Seven examples of how exercise heals. Sometimes life puts obstacles in your way that are so great that you cannot get them out of the way. Almost two years ago Gabriele Merz (name changed) faced such an obstacle. She no longer filled her job in the marketing department, the working atmosphere was bad, and her colleagues weren’t communicative. In addition, there were private problems, their marriage drifted towards a low point. “I lost my inner balance,” says Merz, 38, today. The depression consumed her strength. Some days Merz just lay on the sofa in front of the television and let life flicker by. “In the evening I didn’t even know which programs I was watching,” she says. It cannot be said that she jumped in the air at the thought of running therapy. During this time, she was taking medication and waiting for an appointment for a discussion. “But I thought I’d take a look at this run,” says Merz. “It couldn’t get any worse.” When exercising, patients notice that they can do things on their own. After eight weeks of running, symptoms often improve more than after many sessions Depression and running So she drove to the meeting point on a cold day in March, her old jogging shoes on her feet and a bunch of fears in her head. “I was afraid of weakness and I was afraid of the group.” Merz used to like jogging, but since she was struggling with the depression she had barely moved – and gained 15 kilos. “At first I felt like a walrus trudging through the forest.” But after the first hour she felt how good the exercise in the fresh air was for her. “After the lesson, I was more satisfied than I had been for a long time,” she says. The more she came to training, the easier it was for her to run. And the more she ran, the fitter she became in everyday life. “When walking, patients understand that they can do things on their own. Stöckel, 48, is a psychological psychotherapist and trained running therapist. With the help of a special program, depressed patients learn to jog for 30 minutes at a time. First, the running and walking phases alternate every two minutes, then the running proportions are gradually increased. Stöckel has had good experiences with running therapy for people with mild depression. “These people take every step on their own. So they can’t be as bad as they think,” she says. The therapist discusses the positive changes in the sessions and transfers them to other areas. Motivation and movement in life Gabriele Merz also felt how she blossomed parallel to nature. The snow melted in the forest, and the first spring flowers were sprouting in the meadows. And she felt how movement came into her life again through running. She separated from her husband, moved into a new apartment and looked around for a new job. And when she trotted through the forest before an interview, she liked to play a mind game: “I said to myself: If you can hold out a minute longer, tomorrow will be a good appointment.” It worked. Merz has a new job that she really enjoys. She stopped taking the medication. And she’s still jogging, up to ten kilometers three times a week. Because she has a new goal: “I would like to take part in a half marathon.” Weight and waist circumference can be reduced with a walking program of five to six hours a week Diabetes and going for a walk The expert: Jörg von Hübbenet heads the project area sports and exercise diabetology at the sports medicine institute of the University of Hamburg. He is convinced of the benefits of walking: “Everyone swears by jogging – I don’t. Many of my patients with type 2 diabetes are obese. Should I put them in a brightly colored balloon silk suit and send them to run around the Alster? Never. First of all, that’s undignified. And second, they wouldn’t create. That’s why I prefer to say: ‘People, take a walk! The effects of brisk walking are considerable: Weight and abdominal girth can be reduced with a walking program of five to six hours a week. In addition, blood pressure and cholesterol levels drop. The most important thing, however, is that the harmful long-term sugar in the patient’s blood also decreases. In type 2 diabetes , the insulin receptors on the cells have become sluggish. As a result, their blood sugar level is permanently increased, and this damages the organs. Physical activity improves the transport of glucose into the cells and the blood sugar level returns to normal. Studies have shown that type 2 diabetics can lower their medication doses through a healthy lifestyle and need to inject insulin less often . But still, a lot of my patients don’t get their butts up. They are as sluggish as their receptors. Maybe they should be advised to get a dog. He needs exercise every day, then they can’t avoid going for a walk. Incidentally, this also applies to prevention: if you have a dog, you are pretty safe from diabetes. “ Cycling can be easily integrated into everyday life and often helps to switch off Obesity and cycling The non-athlete who became a cyclist: Philipp Osten, 23, currently weighs 74 kilograms. His goal is to break the 70 kilo mark this year. “I was 17 years old when I decided that I had to change my life. At that time I weighed 85 kilograms and was 1.65 meters tall. A friend recommended Moveguard, a sports and nutrition program at the Cologne Sports University I changed my diet, I started jogging, but above all I discovered cycling . The sports university is around 25 kilometers from my home town. At first I always took the bus, but soon I switched to my bike. Every day I sat in the saddle for practically two hours, one hour there and one back. Cycling 50 kilometers a day is a challenge for a non-athlete. But I persevered. How? By racing against myself every time. ‘Today you can cover the distance faster than yesterday,’ I said to myself. What I liked best was that I could completely switch off while cycling. Just kick and don’t have to think about anything. And it really helped: I lost 25 kilograms in 18 months. I was proud! But then I stopped doing sports again, me idiot! And soon I had the pounds back on. When after a year the scales even showed 120 kilos, I pulled the emergency brake for the second time. I got on my bike again and rode almost 50 kilometers every day, even though I had meanwhile started studying mechanical engineering alongside my work. But I made it through again. This time I lost 50 kilograms within a year. Now I have sworn to myself that it will never come to that again. With a little discipline in eating and cycling, I want to try to maintain my weight permanently. And maybe even take something off. “ Osteoporosis and dancing “Dancing is the perfect sport for osteoporosis, ” says Johannes Pfeilschifter, Professor of Internal Medicine at the Alfried Krupp Hospital in Essen. He raves about the turns, ups and downs and the different foot positions that make dancing a strength and coordination training with a low risk of injury. Arrowshifter comes to people with fractures, for example in the thigh or in the vertebrae. Her skeleton was too weak to withstand everyday stress. But after rehabilitation, Pfeilschifter likes to send his patients to the dance floor. In Germany up to seven million people are said to suffer from osteoporosis. For a long time it was thought that it mainly affects women, but now every fifth osteoporosis patient is a man. Various studies have shown that a lack of exercise is the main cause of this disease. All around strengthened by dancing “Most bones can be strengthened through physical activity,” says Pfeilschifter. Even if osteoporosis has already been diagnosed. Because the skeleton is “incredibly dynamic” and is constantly being rebuilt. With the right training, you can have a positive influence on this process well into old age. Pfeilschifter: “The more diverse you load a bone, the more resistant it becomes.” So anyone who just walks, swims or jogs is not immune to osteoporosis. Sports with a high level of strength and coordination are useful – such as dancing. “In doing so, a different part of the body is stressed with almost every step,” says Pfeilschifter. The so-called osteocytes in the bones react to this: They then instruct the corresponding cells to strengthen the bone in the stressed areas. Result: unlike a marathon runner, whose thighbones are only strong in the front and back, dancers have a thighbone that is reinforced all around. Preheated air, exhaling against the water resistance and a constant rhythm when breathing mean that the performance of asthmatics in water is twice as high as on land Asthma and swimming Sports scientist Bettina Schaar studies the effects of training on various clinical pictures at the German Sport University Cologne. She advises asthmatics to go to the swimming pool. Ms. Schaar, why do you recommend people with asthma to go to the swimming pool? Bettina Schaar: Asthmatics can strain themselves more in water than outside in the air. How so? Firstly, the air in the indoor pool is preheated, which is particularly beneficial for stress asthmatics – because cold air often causes them to have seizures. Secondly, breathing out helps against the water resistance: The bronchi are held wide and the bronchial muscles strengthened. Thirdly, when swimming you breathe in a constant rhythm; breathing too fast is not possible. The result: an asthmatic’s performance capability is twice as high in water as on land. But that alone is not a cure for asthma. But studies have shown that the so-called shortness of breath threshold in trained asthmatics is much higher than in untrained people. In the case of experienced people, the bronchi do not close as quickly under stress. You are less likely to have an asthma attack and therefore have to take less medication. They also get fewer infections and have more air available after exercising. How often do you train with the asthmatics? They should do something three times a week. Once or twice in the water and once on land, 60 minutes each would be good. In addition to swimming, we also offer aqua fitness and jogging. We train at intervals and at a rather low intensity, but with longer stress phases. With segmental stabilization, the “deep system” is awakened with coordination exercises and a lot of concentration Back pain and weight training Martin Kottmeier can well remember how he suddenly felt this stabbing pain in his back last spring. At that time, the carpenter stacked oak beams. “From one second to the next I couldn’t move,” says the 51-year-old. The diagnosis: herniated disc. “Not unusual for my job.” Kottmeier had been prepared that one day his cross might go on strike. What he didn’t expect were the exercises his doctor and physical therapist used to prevent surgery. Because at first they didn’t demand a drop of sweat from him. Segmental stabilization is the name of the therapy Kottmeier used to train at the Am Michel back center in Hamburg. “We had to wake up the deep system first,” says his doctor Joachim Mallwitz. These are the very deep abdominal muscles that also stabilize the spine. When the back shows signs of wear and tear or after a herniated disc, these muscles sometimes simply “switch off”. First, Kottmeier had to complete coordination exercises. They are not sweaty. But because the brain is not used to tensing these muscles at will, you have to concentrate hard. Mallwitz describes with a picture what the patients should do with their body: “Imagine that your navel is pulled by a thread from the stomach through the body to the back.” Only when the deep system wakes up from its sleep after a few weeks of training does work with the “superficial system” continue. Then the straight and oblique abdominal muscles and the back muscles are strengthened through strength exercises. The therapy lasts until the muscles can sufficiently stabilize the spine again. “The second part was more exhausting,” says Kottmeier. But it was worth the effort: he is now working as a carpenter again. Patients should do 20 minutes of more intense activity two to three times each day, with 20 percent of the time devoted to strength training Heart attack and general exercise The cardiologist Ulrich Hildebrandt is the chief physician at the St. Irmingard Clinic on Lake Chiemsee. He recommends regular exercise for heart patients. Mr. Hildebrandt, what is your advice to patients who come to you after a heart attack? Move, move, move! Because sport works like a vaccination: if you irritate the body, it adapts and tries to better protect itself from the stress. You have to explain that. Through exercise, the cells in the vessel wall “learn” how to better withstand the forces of the blood flowing through them, and they become more stable. Can exercise actually replace bypass surgery? Regular physical activity can prevent many bypass surgeries and implantation of supports in vascular constrictions. One study shows that more intense endurance activity of more than 90 minutes per week can reduce mortality by more than 39 percent in the first six months after a heart attack. But doesn’t a heart attack indicate that the body is overloaded? Heart attacks during exercise usually only occur if one is active less than three times a week. Those who do something every day do not have an increased risk of stress. Sport is only dangerous if you do it too seldom. Which disciplines do you recommend to your heart attack patients? Any kind of endurance activity, for example walking, dancing, climbing stairs. I recommend 20 minutes more intense activity two to three times a day for patients. 20 percent of the time should be used for strength exercises. In the beginning you should only train at medium intensities, later maximum heart rates can be reached for a short time. With appropriate breaks, even longer periods of stress are not a risk.