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Smoking and Exercise — an article on the Smart Living Network
October 1, 2010 at 8:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Smoking and Exercise

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Unfortunately, many people today still choose to smoke. It is a habit that appears to be uncontrollable for those living with its damaging effects. Besides the destruction to the lungs and oxygen flow, smoking also prevents people from enjoying many activities because they lack the energy or they cannot breathe properly. With all of the available information about the dangers of smoking, it can be tough to understand why anyone would ever start in the first place. It is a problematic reality, though like various other health-related problems, exercise can help.

Should Smokers Exercise?

Some experts think that exercise helps smokers improve overall breathing functions. Physical activity, especially of the cardio sort, is ideal for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. It also works to ensure that the heart and lungs are consistently at optimal levels. In the case of a smoker, cardiovascular processes are already damaged. So, does exercise help them to avoid diseases, such as emphysema and lung cancer? It might be true that exercising will definitely help smokers, but it is unlikely that it will provide a complete protection for them against smoking-induced diseases. At best, it could prolong the onset of an illness or reduce its severity. The problem is that when a smoker exercises, it is similar to having two opposite ideas trying to coexist. In order to reap all of the benefits of exercise, a person needs to have the energy required to complete an activity or perform it correctly. Many smokers tire easily and don't have the lung capacity to exercise in the same way that a non-smoker would. Eventually, something has to give, and a smoker might find it increasingly difficult to breathe when they are pushing their bodies too much.

Exercise to Quit Smoking

The real way that exercise can help smokers is by making it easier for them to quit the habit altogether. In a recent study, it was reported that 80 percent of smokers in an exercising subject group quit. This is compared with the 52 percent in the same study that quit smoking by using nicotine replacement therapy, without exercise. The researchers concluded that therapy combined with exercise was a much more effective way to stop smoking. Besides the physical aspect to exercising, there could also be a psychological advantage that accompanies it. As explained above, smoking and exercise are two very different activities that almost contradict each other. When a person begins to experience the obvious benefits of exercising and the ways it can enhance their life, they might be inspired to make other changes in their lifestyle as well. For example, if a smoker notices that their smoking habit is interfering with the quality of their workouts, at some point, they have a decision to make. They can either choose to continue smoking and struggle during their activities, or they can put forth the extra effort needed to overcome the addiction. The mind is very strong and has the ability to influence the body in amazing ways. To quit smoking, it takes concentration and willpower. These just might be boosted by the powerful effects of exercise and the instinctive need to be healthy.

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/quit-smoking/MY00433

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/quit-smoking/MY00433/DSECTION=living-smoke-free

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/55194.php

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