Stop Smoking : How to Rebuild the Lungs After Quitting Smoking
Exercise Away the Urge to Smoke
Don't Miss This
Sign Up for Our Healthy Living Newsletter
Thanks for signing up!
If quitting smoking isn’t the hardest thing you’ve ever tried to do, it surely ranks right up there. The nicotine in cigarettes is as addictive as it gets. Plus, throw in the psychological addiction — like lighting up when you’re nervous, having a drink with friends, or doing the Sunday crossword puzzle — and you’ve got one serious habit to break.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70 percent of smokers really do want to quit. There's no question that quitting smoking is difficult — the American Lung Association reports that quitting smoking often requires multiple attempts, and that success often comes through combining counseling with smoking cessation medication.
But in addition to these efforts, there’s an often overlooked but very simple secret weapon that can help you to stop smoking: regular physical exercise.
The Benefits of Exercise When You're Quitting Smoking
The beauty of exercise is that it helps you deal with both the physical and psychological aspects of nicotine addiction:
- Exercise helps limit weight gain and it also helps in dealing with cravings for a cigarette, says Norman H. Edelman, MD, senior medical advisor of the American Lung Association.
- Studies have shown that even moderate physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, reduces the urge to smoke.
- Withdrawal symptoms and cravings for cigarettes decrease during exercise and for as long as 50 minutes afterwards.
Besides limiting weight gain, exercise:
- Decreases appetite
- Eases nicotine withdrawal symptoms when you first quit smoking
- Distracts you from thoughts of smoking
- Improves your mood
- Helps you cope with stress and feel more energetic
How to Get Started With Exercise
Follow these tips to stay motivated:
- It often helps to set aside a regular time for exercise — find a time that works well for you.
- Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week.
- Make exercise a priority, and put it on your schedule. If you can’t set aside the recommended 30 minutes, you can exercise in 10-minute sessions.
- Be sure to choose activities that you can confidently do. Start slowly, and build up to more frequent or more intense exercise.
- It may make it easier to stick to your plans if you sign up for a class or arrange to exercise with someone else.
You don’t have to challenge yourself with an activity like kickboxing your first time out. It’s okay to take small steps:
- Walking is one way of getting more physical activity. Take a walk at lunchtime or after dinner, perhaps finding a coworker, friend, or family member to join you. Be sure to choose companions who don't smoke! Gradually lengthen your walks and step up the pace.
- Think about other activities that you might enjoy, like biking, swimming, dancing, yoga — just about any sports activity will help.
- Housework and gardening provide exercise benefits, too. And there’s always that garage to clean out. Playing music you enjoy will help you step up the pace.
- Plan family activities or social gatherings that involve physical activity like hiking, a volleyball game, or a trip to the beach.
Exercising at Work When a Craving Strikes
You’re at work and the urge for a smoke is making you crazy. But what kind of exercise can you do in your work clothes? Plenty.
- Do some deep-knee bends.
- Go up and down a flight or two of stairs.
- Sit at your desk and alternate between relaxing and tensing your muscles.
- Shut your office door, or find a private spot, and do some push-ups. Try doing standing push-ups against a wall if you don’t want to get down on the floor.
Sticking With Your Exercise Program
Smokers often experience shortness of breath with physical activity. But after you've quit, you'll probably notice that it's becoming easier to exercise. That's because your lung function gets better when you're not smoking.
Some people find that they really enjoy exercise, but others find it difficult to stick to an exercise routine. Boredom often settles in after a while. But changing up your routine, or your form of exercise, can help. Try signing up for an exercise class or learning a new sport. Or set a goal, such as entering a race or participating in a tournament. The competitive challenge may be just what you need.
Video: My Favorite Brain Hack/Psychological Trick To Stop Your Cravings When You Are Quitting Smoking
Can I Tighten My Underarm Flab
The Benefits of Wheatgrass
How To Lose Face Fat Easily
The 29 Most NSFW Celebrity WardrobeMalfunctions
This Police Photo Went Viral and Women Are Calling 911 to Reach The Officers
Health Tip: Manage High Blood Pressure
Not all Aspirins Are Alike
Am I Too Sick to Work Out
8 Amazing Health Benefits Of Blackstrap Molasses
The most popular first date spots according to a dating app