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Smoking and Exercise

If you belong to a gym or a fitness centre you might be surprised to see members of staff or in fact other members puffing away at a cigarette.

Whilst this is not a common occurrence, many individuals in the diet, health and exercise industry develop habits that negatively affect their health. Smoking is bad no matter how you cut it! increasing the risk of heart disease, respiratory disease and cancer, whilst also causing a decrease in overall performance and endurance.

What are the effects does having a cigarette have on your workout?

Your body needs oxygen when you exercise. The more you exercise the faster this oxygen is used up. Carbon monoxide, a toxin in cigarettes decreases blood oxygen levels, and causes chronic swelling of mucus membranes, which also makes it harder to get that next breath during exercise.

Smoking puts a strain on the heart and lungs by increasing the heart rate, which makes it less efficient at pumping blood to your muscles. The substances found in cigarettes reduces your capacity to take in oxygen, this applied to both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Nicotine and carbon monoxide can cause and accelerate atherosclerosis, - a disease that narrows the arteries.

This limits the flow of oxygenated blood to your organs, making exercise harder. In essence you are poisoning your body yet expecting it to work the same stressed organs during exercise.

Smoking is the single biggest cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease a term covering a number of conditions like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The chemical damage in the airways and lungs lead to the development of this long term condition. By quitting you improve your overall health by reducing your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and a variety of cancers, you’ll feel more energetic and less likely to get other infections, colds and flu’s, plus you’ll save alot of money so not only are you saving your health, your also looking after your bank balance.

So we are now aware of the long term effects of smoking, however many health consequences can occur quite rapidly, especially with how it affects your physical fitness. The impact on the lungs is undeniable – chronic cough, increased production of mucus and phlegm, and increase illnesses such as bronchitis and chest/ throat infections which limits your ability to stay fit, healthy and on top of your game! The bottom line is that smoking will decrease your body’s ability to keep up with the demands of your workouts. This causes your workout to drop in intensity, duration, volume which will slow down or stop your progress towards your goals.

Smoking also causes a drop in self esteem, makes you age prematurely and causes wrinkles earlier in life.

The health benefits of quitting smoking

  • Within 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse will read normal

  • Within 8 hours the oxygen level in the blood normalises and carbon monoxide goes down

  • Within 24 hours your risk of a heart attack starts to decline

  • Within 3 days your lung capacity improves to a point where you can actually breathe normally

  • Within 3 months your circulation improves and your lung functioning is up 30%

  • Within 9 months your lungs are able to cleanse themselves again and your risk of infection goes down

  • Within a year your heart disease is now half of that of a smoker.

  • Within 5 years your risk of a stroke is close to that of a non smoker and less wrinkles.

So if you are a smoker and you are serious about your fitness, health and wellbeing and want to progress towards your fitness and sporting goals then it’s definitely worth considering ways to stop! This will ultimately improve your performance, and reduce the likeliness of you getting ill which could hinder your training, plus long term smoking will have an adverse affect on your health so will ultimately stop you from being fit, healthy and doing the things you love later on in life.

For more information on the best ways to integrate a fitness and nutritional program into your lifestyle, or need any help or advice on health and wellbeing please feel free to contact us or book in for a FREE consultation and taster session.

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