Quitting smoking is one of the most difficult things people can do in their lifetime, although there is more than enough evidence that it is harmful to health. Around a third of the adult population in the world smokes, of this portion, there are a significant number of people who also train regularly. About 5 million people in the world die as a result of tobacco each year.
Quitting smoking has great health benefits and is one of the greatest opportunities to make a change towards a healthy lifestyle. Running can play a very important role in helping people quit smoking.
Read on to learn more about the health risks of smoking, why smoking is not good for running, and how running can help you quit.
consequences of smoking and smoker’s lungs
Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,800 chemical components, 250 of which are harmful to health. Nicotine is just one of them. The main alkaloid in the tobacco plant is responsible for cigarette addiction. Nicotine stimulates and calms the central nervous system at the same time. When absorbed through cigarette smoke, it takes 10 seconds for nicotine to travel from the alveoli, or oral mucosa, to the blood and brain. In addition, many of the ingredients in a cigarette react with our genetic material and this can cause alterations and mutations.
Everyone knows that smoking poses a health risk. High blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, strokes, cancer, changes in blood fat values, and an increased risk of thrombosis are just some of the long-term consequences of smoking. The cardiovascular system of smokers is also greatly impaired: the coronary blood vessels are reduced in diameter and the heart rate tends to be higher.
The cardiovascular system is the largest contributor to running performance. A heart rate too high running is an indicator of bad habits. Smoker’s lungs, the sensation of coughing so badly that the lungs ache after what should have been an easy running session, is another consequence of smoking.
If you are in a room with people who smoke, you are passively smoking. The “secondhand” smoke you inhale contains the same toxic chemicals that can make you sick and cause cancer. Passive smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and lung cancer by up to 30%.
Occasional smoking also poses a health risk
Some epidemiological studies show that there is no limit below which smoking does not pose a health risk. Even occasional smoking can have serious health consequences.
Smoking affects running performance
Runners and smokers can improve their performance by training, but not as effectively as non-smokers. Some studies suggest that smoking has negative effects on fitness performance, as the amount of carbon monoxide in the blood increases when smoking. Carbon monoxide binds with hemoglobin 300 times more easily than oxygen and therefore interferes with the transport of oxygen in the body. When some of the body’s hemoglobin is busy transporting carbon monoxide, less oxygen can be transported. In non-smokers, the carbon monoxide content in hemoglobin is between 0.5 and 2%, while the same value increases up to 5 or 10% in smokers.
In endurance sports such as running, transport and oxygen supply are decisive. But it is not just about avoiding the cigarette before going for a run. Oxygen transport is impaired up to 24 hours after smoking, as nicotine interferes with the regulation of blood vessels and lung function. The vessels contract and allow less blood flow.
Bottom line: don’t mix running with smoking. If you are serious about running, or if you are simply trying to live healthier, quitting smoking is the fastest way to improve your performance and improve your health.
Change your lifestyle to live longer
Alcohol, an unbalanced diet, lack of exercise, and smoking all have an impact on life expectancy. A study from the University of Zurich proved that a healthy lifestyle keeps us ten years younger. Smoking not only costs money, it also costs you years of life!
Stop smoking and start running
Smoking quickly becomes an addiction that accompanies you in your day to day. Often, smoking is started as a social act: a break with colleagues with a cigarette in hand, or accompanying a drink when you go out for a drink. Also, many cigarettes are lit to relieve stress. On many purpose lists you can find “quitting” and “exercising.” Why not try both at the same time? According to a study, sport can help you quit smoking.(3) People with a training routine were less likely to relapse when trying to quit smoking than people who were not active. Regular physical activity improves mood and is relaxing. Just 10 minutes of exercise makes it easy to quit smoking.
How to quit smoking and start running
one. Preparation is the key
Restlessness, irritability, and discomfort, these are just some of the withdrawal symptoms when quitting smoking. An increased appetite can also manifest itself in the first few days, so make sure you have healthy snacks on hand, teas, gum, and water. The symptoms should begin to disappear after ten days.
two. A balanced diet
Smoking speeds up the metabolism, low calorie snacks prevent you from gaining a few extra kilos. Your goal should be to follow a balance diet with lots of vegetables and fruits.
3. Celebrate your successes
Take pride in your decision to quit smoking. You can afford some reward with money that you will NOT be spending on cigarettes.
Four. Set a date
A specific date helps you quit smoking. The birthday or the new year can give more weight to your decision. Make sure to choose a period that is not very stressful to avoid falling into stress-induced behavior patterns.
5. Substitution rituals
Create new rituals for situations where you used to smoke, for example, a coffee break after eating. In addition, you should also avoid the places and situations with which you associate tobacco.
6. Plan your workouts
Mark the hours of the day when you know you want to smoke. Plan small workouts for these hours and follow your plan. This will help you replace the bad habit of smoking with the good habit of exercising.