10 Tips to Quit Smoking with Exercise
Written By: SportsShoes
Not only is working out a brilliant gateway into picking up other healthy behaviours (such as better eating), but it can also help motivate you to quit habits that are bad for your body, including excessive alcohol drinking and smoking.
Smoking has a terrible impact on your body’s health and can be a mental crutch too. Use our top tips below to find out how exercise can help you stick to your decision to quit:
1. When you quit smoking your metabolism may decrease a little. This is because cigarettes can increase a person's metabolic rate by forcing the heart to beat faster. Exercise burns calories and boosts metabolism for up to 24 hours after working out, a great way to help regulate your metabolism after quitting and prevent the weight gain that ex-smokers worry about.
2. Smoking keeps your hands and mouth occupied and some people who quit find that they replace this habit with over-eating or feeling full of nervous energy. Deal with this restlessness by going to the gym or for a run. Exercise provides a great distraction!
3. Nicotine inhibits insulin which means sugar stays in your bloodstream and creates a hyperglycaemic condition which gives the smoker a "fuller" feeling; this is why you feel hungrier when you quit. Exercise will help ex-smokers because working out breaks down fat and releases it into the bloodstream, helping to curb food cravings.
4. You're likely to get more enjoyment from physical activity after you quit smoking. Smokers often avoid exercise as carbon monoxide hinders the amount of oxygen that reaches your heart and causes shortness of breath and cramps. With more oxygen in your system you may find your performance, and consequently satisfaction, when exercising increases.
5. Aerobic activities, like cycling, dancing, jogging and tennis, allow your body to release endorphins and chemicals that reduce stress. Engage in at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day and you will soon find your stress levels are actually lower than when you smoke and suffer from ‘withdrawal’ between cigarettes.
6. When you exercise you will find you have more energy. Within two to twelve weeks of stopping smoking, your circulation will also improve. This will make all physical activity, including walking and running, much easier and you will not want to undo all the hard work by relapsing.
7. Exercising is a great way to increase lung capacity and giving up smoking will also help increase your lung capacity by up to 10% in nine months. As a result you’ll be able to breathe more easily and cough less. You will be encouraged to continue not smoking and can look forward to an active, healthy old age rather than wheezing when you are going for a short walk or climbing the stairs
8. There is increasing evidence that smoking is conducive to greater accumulation of visceral fat, which surrounds your intestines and liver and is a serious health threat; exercise is a fantastic way to increase your chances for long-term weight loss and prevent the build-up of visceral fat.
9. Physical activity will improve your state of mind and get the oxygen flowing, which helps you concentrate better and increases your mental wellbeing. You will find you perform better at work which will help prevent giving in to temptation.
10. In short, working out makes you feel great! Start at your own level and enjoy the feeling of becoming fitter. After all your hard work the last thing you will want to do is light up a cigarette!