Putting an end to your smoking habit is a difficult thing to do. Starting to exercise after quitting smoking – well, that can be even harder. Breaking your old habits and forming new, healthier ones is a long process. But if you approach it with patience and give yourself some time, it will definitely pay off.
How Exercise Helps Fight Smoking?
Quitting smoking often comes with a trail of unpleasant side effects. They usually are anxiety or cravings for tobacco that often lead to starting smoking again after a short break.
Studies show that working out regularly – nothing extra, just moderate intensity exercise for only 10 minutes per day – can significantly reduce the anxiety and cravings. The latter two are the most common symptoms after stopping smoking. Working out has proven to be a successful tool for reducing stress and even lowering the symptoms associated with mild depression. So, adding fitness routine to your life after quitting an unpleasant habit is likely to have a positive impact on your physical health, mood, and overall wellness.
However, you may find it hard to get back on track with the exercise routine. Harder than you expected at first. You are likely to feel tired sooner than you did before. Your weight might be shifting unexpectedly. Also, you can experience some mood swings. Many people encounter different effects, and it is hard to predict what side effects you are going to feel, and to what extent.
The important thing is that regardless of what you can experience on your way back to working out again, it is possible to overcome it all. To make your journey to the fitness world safe and successful we have prepared some tips and explanations regarding working out after quitting smoking.
First, let’s peruse into how smoking affects your organism and what are the symptoms you should be expecting.
Effects of Smoking On Your Body
It is well known that smoking affects your body in many different ways, less of which are pleasant. It is a usual cause of high blood pressure, various lung diseases, even fertility problems. The excess of carbon monoxide created by smoking causes your heart to work harder and beat faster. And in its turn, it significantly increases the risk of dangerous conditions such as heart stroke, heart attack, cerebrovascular disease.
Smoking also affects your bones, stomach, skin color, dental health, breathing, and throat. The latter may be suffering even more than other parts of your organism. Cigarette smoke can remain on the tissue of your throat for a long period of time. Thus, it causes many unpleasant conditions that could potentially lead to throat diseases.
Lung Capacity After Stopping Smoking
Away from the topic of overall health – if we narrow our view to your physical fitness and how it can be affected by smoking, we should focus on what happens to your lungs. Though, as we could see earlier, almost every part of your body is somehow affected by smoking cigarettes, lungs are one of the organs that potentially suffer the most.
The longer you were smoking, the bigger is the impact tobacco had on your lungs. Smoking can decrease your lung capacity – it means that they will not be able to hold the same amount of oxygen as before. Tobacco also affects your blood and oxygen flow. It raises your blood pressure, makes blood thicker, and narrows your arteries – they are responsible for distributing the oxygen throughout your body.
All of that makes it difficult for the oxygen to spread – consequently, with less of it travelling throughout your body on a regular basis, your body adjusts, and your lungs start to hold only what is needed and used. This is the reason why the longer you smoke, the harder it becomes to breathe.
Even if you’re eager to get back on track with your training routine, it may not be as easy for your body as before – so it is crucial to start slow and give yourself some time to adjust. Quitting your smoking habit will already help your lungs a lot – more oxygen is going to come through, now that your receptors are not blocked. Regular exercising will increase that positive impact – it helps to strengthen your lungs and remove waste from your body more efficient.
How to Start Exercising Again?
As the information above suggests, quitting smoking and exercise right after may not be easy to accomplish, but there are a few things you can do to help your body adjust to the new reality and get back to the fitness routine:
1. Pay attention to your breathing
It is always important to pay attention to your breath when you exercise – especially after you are done with tobacco. Deep breathing can improve your lung function and fill your body with the oxygen it needs.
2. Create a Plan
There is no ready-made fitness plan that would work for everyone. To make sure you’re working towards your own good, talk to your doctor about how to start doing fitness without damaging or weakening your organism.
3. Start Slow
Even if you’re eager to exercise, remember to start off slowly. Help your body get accustomed to your new training routine. Slow and patient work will pay off nicely, unlike sudden shifts in your activity, which could potentially result in nothing more than stress and exhaustion.
4. Make it Smaller
The smoothest way to start being more active is to break up big fitness sessions into smaller ones. Rather than torture yourself with an hour-long training, add 2-3 ten minutes’ exercise sessions to your day – start slow and go towards your goal little by little.