Many know that smoking is one of the worst habits, whereas exercise is one of the best. Surprisingly, some people do both. But what is the impact of smoking on your workouts?
Smoking, as reported by Yahoo! Sports, was prevalent among professional athletes and coaches in the 1970’s to early 2000’s for recreation. While many athletes have since moved away from cigarettes, several people pursue physical fitness and still smoke today.
Although regular exercise can provide many health benefits, it can reverse the problems caused by smoking.
Negative Impacts of Smoking
As mentioned above, exercise can benefit the body, but smoking can make it much more challenging to perform well. A study on adult smokers by the Journal of Applied Physiology notes that even without airflow obstruction, smokers were found to have reduced muscle endurance and lung efficiency, despite having similar daily physical activity levels to non-smokers.
They generally had lower exercise workloads, smaller lung capacity, and poor oxygen consumption — leading to lower stamina, which left them breathless and tired after workouts. When combined with smokers’ generally elevated heart rate, regular exercise can tax the heart and harm health.
In addition to poor endurance, our post “Healthy Skin at Any Age” notes that cigarette smoking can dehydrate your body and affect your skin negatively, giving it a leather-like appearance. Since most people exercise to look their best and stay healthy, smoking is counterintuitive to working out.
How to Kick the Habit of Smoking
The best way to make the most out of your workouts is to quit smoking altogether. Exercise, on its own, is already a great start by increasing your fitness levels while helping you manage withdrawal symptoms and stress. Listed below are other steps you can do to quit smoking:
Set a Quit Date
Choosing a quit date that is one or two weeks away can ensure that you’re on the right track to quitting. You may lose motivation if you don’t set a deadline, so it’s important to have a date in mind to reduce the likelihood of relapse.
Upon reaching your quit date, it’s important to avoid cigarettes altogether by removing them from your environment and avoiding places where you may be tempted to smoke. Combined with the discipline needed for regular exercise, you can set yourself up for a successful quit.
Try Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Often, it’s hard to quit smoking cold turkey, so it helps to have alternatives through nicotine replacement therapy. The Rogue nicotine pouches available on Prilla are some of the newer products on the market, available to support your attempts at quitting.
These come in 3 mg and 6 mg varieties, so you can experiment with different levels to curb your cravings. Moreover, these pouches are smoke-free, which can significantly minimize the damage done to the lungs.
Other alternatives to try are inhalers or lozenges from Nicorette, which similarly provide users with nicotine at different concentrations so you can wean off smoking.
Seek help from Loved Ones and Professionals
Quitting is a mentally tough process, so it’s highly recommended that you seek help from your loved ones and professionals. Much like getting a workout buddy, participating in different activities with someone can help you resist tobacco cravings.
For people struggling with mental health issues alongside their withdrawal symptoms, professional counseling can help prepare you for the irritability, anxiety, and other uncomfortable feelings you may experience when trying to quit. Through additional external help, you can stay consistent and work your way to a smoke-free lifestyle. (3)
Click to return to body wellness.
- Sadaka, A. S., Institute, N. H. and L., Faisal, A., Khalil, Y. M., Diseases, D. of C., Mourad, S. M., Zidan, M. H., Polkey, M. I., Hopkinson, N. S., KH, C., KR, C., PH, Q., EA, R., J, G., AF, E., JA, B., S, G., CI, M., RC, W., … *A. S. Sadaka and A. Faisal contributed equally to this work.Correspondence: A. S. Sadaka (ahmad.[email protected]edu.eg). (2021, April 12). Reduced skeletal muscle endurance and ventilatory efficiency during exercise in adult smokers without airflow obstruction. Journal of Applied Physiology. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00762.2020
- Home. Buy Rogue Nicotine Pouches | Best offers on all flavors. (n.d.).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, May 19). Healthcare providers: Tools and resources. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/partners/health/index.html