How Smoking Affects Your Workouts

Smoking while practicing routine exercise is like taking one step forward and two steps back. While working out is one of the healthiest lifestyle choices you can make, smoking is definitely one of the worst.

As a smoker, your decision to light up will have a negative impact on your performance. Smoking affects the lungs, heart, and other systems throughout the body that are needed for a quality workout in the gym. Here’s what you need to know about how smoking affects your workouts.

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Oxygen Delivery Is Impacted When You Smoke

When engaged in aerobic exercise, your body’s ability to supply and handle oxygen is altered. This is especially true for high-intensity workouts, such as HIIT and circuit training. At the same time, smoking also causes oxidative stress throughout the body. But, smoking-induced oxidative stress doesn’t allow the body to appropriately react, which can lead to vascular inflammation, which further impairs the body’s ability to deliver oxygen.

Smoking causes the blood vessels throughout the body to narrow, which makes it even harder for oxygen to travel. When oxygen delivery is limited, your workouts suffer. Your performance and endurance will decrease, and your ability to recover after heavy exercise is also significantly impaired.

Smoking also increases the risk of coronary artery disease as well as other cardiovascular diseases. It’s also been linked to increased blood pressure and heart rate. Working out may actually increase the risk of smoking-related complications, especially during intense physical activity.

Smoking Makes Your Workouts Harder

Not only does smoking impair the body’s ability to deliver oxygen, but it also puts harmful chemicals into the bloodstream. Carbon monoxide and nicotine flow into the bloodstream with each puff of the cigarette.

These two chemicals damage blood cells and vessels, and may even increase the risk of atherosclerosis, which is plaque build-up in the arteries that causes them to narrow. This makes it order for oxygen-rich blood to flow to other organs and parts of the body. This, in turn, makes exercise harder, as you’re more likely to feel short of breath and out of energy.

Smoking also makes your workouts harder for decreasing lung capacity. This means that you’ll more quickly run out of breath and that it’s harder to get your breath back, especially after an intense workout.

Chemicals in cigarettes also damage the lungs and airways, which increases the risk of many respiratory conditions, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The tar from cigarette smoke causes airway resistance, as the sticky substance coats the lungs and reduces air sac elasticity.

Higher Risk Of Injury & Slower Healing

Smoking doesn’t only cause issues with the heart and lungs; it also affects the muscles, bones, and joints. By smoking, you’re at an increased risk of many musculoskeletal conditions such as:

  • Lower back pain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Long-term smoking decreases bone density, which increases the risk of bone-related injuries. Smoking also increases the risk of exercise-related injuries, including sprains, tendonitis, bursitis, and even fractures. Smokers are also likely to experience slower recovery after suffering an injury.

Smoking also inhibits the body’s ability to heal. The chemicals within cigarette smoke decrease the body’s immune system while also reducing its ability to absorb protein and other healing nutrients.

The Benefits Of Quitting

Smoking has a profound impact on your physical health. Not only does the habit affect your heart, lungs, and musculoskeletal system, it also impacts your workouts. You’ll notice that your endurance and performance have decreased, and there’s an increased risk of sports-related injuries. One of the best things you can do to improve your workouts and your overall health is to quit smoking.

Within 24 hours of quitting smoking, there’s reduced constriction of the veins and arteries, which increases oxygen levels. Carbon monoxide levels in the body also return to a reasonable level, and bronchial tubes in the lungs are now able to work to reduce the risk of infection. Just a few weeks after quitting smoking, you’ll notice that your shortness of breath will decrease, and your endurance and stamina will have improved.

Quitting Is A Long Distance Sprint

Despite all of the benefits of quitting smoking, doing so is easier said than done. This is because most people don’t have a solid plan for quitting. Quitting cold turkey seems like the most straightforward option, but it’s the hardest.

Smokers are addicted to nicotine. So, you’re more likely to be successful in quitting smoking with nicotine replacement therapy. There are many different products on the market that contain nicotine without all of the chemicals found in cigarettes. Options include nicotine gum, nicotine patches, e-cigarettes, and smokeless, tobacco-free dip.

As you start your venture to quitting smoking, it’s important to continue exercising. Working out is a great distraction and will keep your stress levels down. It will also help you to rebuild your endurance and stamina so that you can get the most out of your workouts.

If you are interested in even more lifestyle-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.

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