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How to Get Fit If You’re a Smoker

If you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a thousand times: Smoking cigarettes is extremely detrimental to your health. From respiratory to circulatory to immune to reproductive, every system in your body is damaged by the harmful chemicals in tobacco.


However, the fact that cigarettes are hurting your body shouldn’t deter you from taking good care of yourself. In fact, incorporating healthy habits into your lifestyle, like good diet and exercise, can help balance out the destruction caused by smoking. 

Instead of letting your body waste away with sedentary smoking, you can work to undo smoking’s toll on your body by trying these quick and easy tips.

1. Start Slow

In all likelihood, until now, you have lead a quite sedentary lifestyle. That means that you have typically neglected exercise in favor of activities that allow you to sit for long periods of time. When paired with smoking, this type of behavior is severely disadvantageous and will make becoming fit a long and arduous process — but that doesn’t mean it is impossible. Even those who don’t smoke but haven’t worked out a day in their lives will experience hardship at the outset of their fitness endeavors.

The key is to understand that at first, progress will be slow, and you probably won’t see the effects you desire for quite some time. After years of inactivity, your body isn’t prepared to begin an intense exercise regimen right away. Your muscles have atrophied, your veins and arteries are constricted, and your lungs are weak, which will make even minor workouts seem intolerably strenuous.

Thus, in the beginning, you should focus on brief, moderate exercises that will prepare your body for the activity ahead. Jumping straight into 200-pound dead lifts and 10-mile runs will only cause more destruction and dissuade you from continuing on the fitness track.

2. Choose Vapor

Vapor e-cigarettesSmokers who become committed to exercise are 55 percent more likely to quit and 43 less likely to relapse as sedentary smokers. There are several possible causes for numbers such as these.

For example, those who exercise probably place more importance on their physical health and want to avoid habits that impede improvement. Indeed, tobacco cigarettes contain many chemicals that make exercise more difficult, including tar that impairs respiration and butadiene that thwarts circulation.

If you enjoy your nicotine addiction or desire a purer way to get your fix while you exercise, you may want to consider switching to e-cigarettes as soon as possible. Lacking the harmful additives that tobacco requires and offering scalable amounts of nicotine and various tasty flavors, e-cigs are an excellent alternative to traditional cigarettes for active smokers.

By all means, you can continue to smoke tobacco cigarettes during your exercise journey, but you shouldn’t be surprised when you get tired of spitting up tar and yearn for a cleaner nicotine delivery system.

3. Avoid Endurance

Even ex-smokers who have avoided cigarettes for several years have trouble continuing exercise for hours at a time. Long runs and bike rides require strength from every bodily system, and smokers simply don’t have enough lung, heart, and muscle power to healthfully endure such long workouts.

Smoking tends to constrict the body’s arteries, which makes delivering vital oxygen to muscles exceedingly difficult. If you push yourself to work hard for a long period of time, you will definitely become destructively fatigued, and you may even experience a heart attack or stroke.

It is possible to slowly and carefully build your endurance, but you should only attempt to do this under the watchful care of a physician or experienced physical trainer. Depending on how long you’ve harbored your tobacco habit, it may be that they will never be strong enough to see you through a marathon.

4. Do Cardio

Of course, this doesn’t mean that aerobic activity — or exercises that cause your breathing to become heavier and your heart to beat faster — is entirely out of the picture. In fact, cardio exercises like running, cycling, swimming, and more are some of the most beneficial activities that smokers can practice.

Instead of planning a long, demanding run, you should organize intervals of running, jogging, walking, and resting to allow your body to build strength and recuperate.

Once again, if you have limited experience in the gym, it is wise to seek the advice of a physical trainer who has worked with sedentary smokers in the past. He or she will be able to guide your workouts to make them the most beneficial without overtaxing your delicate, fragile bodily systems.

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