Doing plenty of exercise is a great way to help you quit smoking as it will strengthen your resolve, reducing your chances of weakening and reaching for the evil baccy! To keep yourself busy, plan a schedule of your favourite activities such as running, swimming, yoga, tennis or gym classes. Here are four ways that exercise can help you to kick your smoking habit for good.
1. Reduces anxiety and stress
Nicotine withdrawal can make smoking cessation stressful, with quitters finding themselves full of nervous energy. Those who miss the hand-to-mouth action of smoking often find themselves overeating as a substitute. Exercise provides a successful distraction from this restlessness.
What’s more, aerobic activities like jogging and dancing, allow the body to release ‘feel good’ hormones and endorphins which ease symptoms of anxiety. It also gets the oxygen flowing, which allows you to concentrate better and increases your mental wellbeing. If you do 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day, you’ll soon find your stress levels are lower than when you smoked.
2. Enjoy your increased lung capacity
Smokers often avoid exercise because they start wheezing and get cramps. This is because the carbon monoxide in smoke can hinder the amount of oxygen that reaches your heart.
When you quit smoking, you will soon notice the difference in your lungs, in fact, your lung capacity will improve by up to 10% within nine months. This means you’re likely to get more enjoyment from exercise and, with more oxygen in your system, you will find your performance increases. If you set yourself small physical targets you’ll be surprised how quickly you’re able to do more and certainly won’t want to ruin your progress by returning to the ciggies.
3. Increases metabolism and burns fat
Cigarettes can increase your metabolic rate by forcing the heart to beat faster so when you quit smoking your metabolism may decrease a little. Exercise burns calories and boosts metabolism for up to 24 hours after working out, helping to regulate your body after quitting, give you more energy and prevent any weight gain.
There is increasing evidence that smoking accumulates visceral fat, which surrounds your intestines and liver and is a serious health threat. Exercise increases your chances of long-term weight loss and prevents the build-up of visceral fat.
4. Helps remove toxins
Smoking depresses the body’s immunity so it is more susceptible to bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Cigarettes are full of toxic chemicals which put stress on the liver, making it a target for disease.
Regular exercise will better equip your body to distribute oxygen and encourage efficient functioning of the lymphatic system by stimulating the muscles, promoting the removal of toxins from your body. This will make it easier to fight off colds and flu and you will soon feel much healthier overall.
In summary, exercise makes you feel fantastic! Start at your own level, notice how your performance get better and enjoy the feeling of becoming fitter. This in itself will act as a good motivation to stay away from cigarettes and appreciate your improved health.