I’m going to cut to the chase and assume (since you’re already reading this) that you’re contemplating quitting and intend to start with a workout routine. Oh and here’s a cookie for you, a recent Taiwanese research has shown that people who hit the gym regularly are 43 per cent less likely to have a relapse into smoking.
To add another disincentive for smokers who workout, chew upon this- any exercise is essentially a cardio exercise and makes the heart pump blood faster. This pumping does not ebb as soon as you stop working out. Thus, every time you smoke shortly before or after a workout session, the harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide, tar, etc. are in fact cruising through your veins a lot faster than normal. This results in an additional amount of harmful substances reaching your critical organs and causing damage.
For those of us who were heavy smokers and intend on working out, it is advised that you start slow. If you have never worked out in your life, consult a physical trainer before you start so that you can get correct guidance. If you are familiar with exercises, don’t exert yourself on the first day, start with the basics like crunches, sit ups and cardio and gradually build on it with time. Keep in mind that your lungs and your heart is not as strong as those of your gym mates; you’ll get there eventually (maybe within the fortnight), but give it some time and patience.
Remember that working out should be an integral part of your cigarette quitting routine, because it will help in the release of endorphins, which are feel good hormones that help in combating stress and anxiety, a problem all quitters of smoking face. Furthermore, it will also help in controlling the sudden weight gain that most of us face after quitting.
Quitting for health reasons
If a smoker intends on quitting for health reasons (to be honest, I don’t see why another is required), working out is doubly beneficial. We know that smoking cuts the risk of heart attacks, cancers and other cardio-vascular diseases. The cutting down of these risks is supplemented by working out, which improves heart functioning and helps you get back to your previous fitness level. The most obvious change you’re sure to notice is in your sexual performance (one of the biggest incentives of kicking the bud), as the improved cardio-vascular health means better blood supply to your sexual organs.
Interestingly, research has suggested that working out also helps in combating the psychological hang-ups most ex-smokers experience. It has been said that ex-smokers should do light cardio exercises when the urge to light up strikes; this helps in preventing a relapse in the long run by using the logic of classical conditioning (remember Mr. Pavlov and his dogs), namely that the nicotine requirement is interpreted by the body as a need to exercise. Besides, there is also the more practical psychological aspect: exercise provides a distraction from smoking; play music when working out to add to the distraction element.
Here’s another advice: if you are feeling the urge of not giving up the oral fixation and want to smoke, think on other ways you can transform your lifestyle, use a vaporizer instead. Not only you will experience a whole new lifestyle, you are also saving yourself from the risk of toxins that you will get from smoking and combusting cigarettes.
To make sure you don’t mess up this time (no shame in it guys, we’ve all tried quitting multiple times in our lives; my last stint lasted 17 hours), write this on a piece of paper and stick it on your door:
‘Kicking the cig + hitting the gym = a long and healthy life’
Smoking is bad; quit it. Remember that working out will reduce the urge to smoke, combat anxiety and stress during the quitting period, prevent weight gain, and is most likely to prevent a relapse. Be sure not to smoke immediately before or after a workout session, since this is doubly harmful for your health.
When working out, start slow and then build up over time. Don’t over exert yourself. Ensure that you carry on with the workout regimen since it will help with your fitness level. Working out also helps in quitting smoking on a psychological level. Develop a motto for working out and quitting cigarettes, and follow it.
About the Author: Candy Evans is a contributor at LeanOnLife. She is a fitness aficionado, and has been writing articles on health and fitness since she was 18. Candy believes in doing her bit tospread awareness about healthy living, and she does it through her writing, one article at a time!