We are now over the half way point of the first month of the year, which also means that those taking part in ‘Dry January’ have passed the half way line and approaching the final stretch of their sober alcohol-free 31 days.
Dry January is the charity Alcohol Concern’s annual flagship campaign that urges the nation’s drinkers to ditch the booze, whilst simultaneously watching their waistline decrease and their bank balance get bigger! For the bigger spenders and drinkers amongst us, if you fritter away around £100 a week on alcohol, Dry January could save you £400, enough to put towards a fantastic holiday in the summer!
Thousands of people take part each year in a bid to shed the excesses and guilt of Christmas and the New Year, with those mulled wines, mince pies and roast dinners starting to creep up on us all. We have touched on a few benefits already of giving up alcohol, but there are countless reasons why reducing your alcohol intake or cutting it out altogether is beneficial to you.
. Keeping away from the junk food
Do you ever wonder why when you are drunk or hungover, the first thing you want to do is tuck into junk food? More often than not, this results in the typical end of the night trip to the local takeaway. Alcohol plays havoc with our blood sugar levels, causing that craving for sugary or starchy foods.
. Better sex
Suddenly a body not ridden with the ill-effects of alcohol will now be able to perform better in the bedroom – this counts for men and women! In addition, sadly the dreaded ‘brewers droop’ is no myth, it is real. Too much alcohol can lead to an ability to maintain and sustain an erection satisfactory for sex on isolated occasions, but can also even cause further erectile dysfunction problems over a longer period if it is regularly consumed at a high quantity.
. The gym becomes easier
We’ve all been there, dragging our sorry carcass to the gym on a Monday after a heavy weekend on the booze. Every exercise feels twice as hard, muscles ache a lot quicker than they usually would, and it is a massive slog to complete your usual training session. According to www.drinkaware.co.uk, alcohol effects sports performance in two major ways:
- “Firstly, because alcohol is a diuretic, drinking too much can lead to dehydration because the alcohol makes your kidney produce more urine. Exercising soon after drinking alcohol can make this dehydration worse because you sweat as your body temperature rises. Combined, sweating and the diuretic effect of exercise make dehydration much more likely. You need to be hydrated when you exercise to maintain the flow of blood through your body, which is essential for circulating oxygen and nutrients to your muscles.”
- “Secondly, alcohol interferes with the way your body makes energy. When you’re metabolising, or breaking down alcohol, the liver can’t produce as much glucose, which means you have low levels of blood sugar. Exercise requires high levels of sugar to give you energy. If your liver isn’t producing enough glucose, your performance will be adversely affected.”
. Your mood will pick up
A few weeks off the alcohol for Dry January and you may suddenly find your moods will be much brighter, and even your friends and family may find you easier to get along with. As you may already be aware, alcohol is a depressant and can alter your brain chemistry, specifically working to lower the levels of serotonin. This is a chemical that helps to regulate our mood. In the short term, alcohol can actually boost serotonin. However, long-term alcohol abuse can lower serotonin levels. Excess alcohol can cause or worsen depression as it interferes with the amino acid tryptophan. The body requires this for the production of serotonin.
. Improved looks
During Dry January, don’t be surprised if you start getting compliments from people who know you, complimenting you on your newfound healthy glow. Alcohol is a toxin that dehydrates the skin and reduces its elasticity. It also makes you go to the toilet far more often, as your kidneys and liver work harder to break the alcohol down. Ditch the alcohol for water and soon that bloated, puffy, blotchy face will be replaced with an appearance that is far clearer and streamlined.
. Improved blood pressure
Drinking high levels of alcohol can increase blood pressure to an unhealthy level. For example, consuming over three drinks in one sitting can temporarily raise blood pressure. However, consistent episodes of binge drinking can cause a long-term increase in a person’s blood pressure. If that isn’t bad enough, the significantly high amounts of calories within alcohol can and will inevitably cause weight to creep on. This will then result in an increase in blood pressure.
Medical Specialists® Pharmacy are fully behind the Dry January campaign, already seeing an increase in enquiries about alcohol dependency treatment Selincro during the last few weeks, as thousands of people around the country attempt to complete an alcohol-free month. Finally, good luck for those that have not given up and are still enjoying a sober month, you now only have less than a fortnight to go until the finish line!