Cigarette Smoking Will Be The Undoing Of Your Workout

Thu, Oct 29th 2015

Yolande D'Mello

  • stunted progress

    Smoking Stunts Progress: There are more subtle signs that your workout is being compromised by your habit, says Dr Shilpi Agarwal, a holistic medicine physician. “Long-term smokers are more likely to have lower bone density and be at risk for osteoporosis. This means even if individuals are lifting weights, they are still not building healthy bones because of the effects of smoking,” she says.

  • muscle pain and soreness

    Smoking Propels Muscle Pain & Soreness: Smoking increases lactic acid. When you feel 'the burn' during a workout, it’s caused by lactic acid, says Duvauchelle. When your body has too much lactic acid, it can result in increased soreness and pain after a workout, forces you to breathe heavier, and can increase pain during the actual exercise movement.

  • damaged metabolism

    Smoking Damages The Metabolism: According to Dr Scott Schreiber, a chiropractic physician and licensed nutritionist, your body will take longer to heal from injury and muscle wear. This is because your body is already working overtime, trying to rid itself of harmful elements that make up the nicotine mixture. “Due to your body attempting to detoxify smoke, nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes, the body becomes depleted of vitamins and minerals. These nutrients cannot be used for energy and anabolic processes do not occur,” says Schreiber. Over time the metabolism is damaged, sometimes to the point of no return, he adds. As a result, healing will happen at a slower pace, if at all.

  • cramping

    Smoking Causes Workout Cramps: “This is due to electrolyte depletion, which occurs during exercise. However, cigarette smoking will deplete the primary electrolytes prematurely so they aren’t available to the body during endurance activities. The more discomfort associated with exercise, the less you are likely to push yourself,” says Kevin Meehan, a holistic healer and founder of Meehan Formulations.

  • breathlessness

    Smoking Causes Breathlessness: Think about the last time you had to take the stairs and ended up huffing and puffing by the time you reached the third floor. This same effect is more pronounced when it comes to exercise. Moreover, the contents of a cigarette, which include industrial solvents and tar, are unnatural and hence the body can’t process them. This leads to irritation in the body. Our body’s reaction is inflammation. This inflammation is what obstructs the absorption of oxygen into the blood. This, in turn, compromises the ability of the blood’s hemoglobin to transport oxygen from the lungs to the body. Since working muscles need more oxygen, you are bound to bring less strength and energy during an exercise routine than non-smokers.

  • stunted progress
  • muscle pain and soreness
  • damaged metabolism
  • cramping
  • breathlessness

If your moral compass is determined by the worst thing you have done, then your health calibration must follow the same logic. Do a few good deeds make up for the big bad ones?

What’s The Point Of Being Skinny, But Not Fit?
Joshua Duvauchelle, a certified personal trainer of the American Council on Exercise says that there are two aspects to those who smoke to curb their appetite. A research paper published in the medical journal Addiction, found that regular physical activity can help smokers quit smoking faster and more effectively.

As for the question of exercise undoing the harm of cigarettes, there’s more proof in the converse. Smoking is more likely to curtail your progress in the gym. It takes no more than two cigarettes a day to do the damage, say medical studies, most of which is to the lungs. Smoking increases tissue inflammation, narrowing airways and delivering less oxygen to the body.

Smokers aren’t irresponsible people. They care about their health, too. So when a smoker decides to sign up for a fitness routine, it’s a small step in the right direction. The key word is ‘small’. No amount of exercise or weight training will be able to make a significant contribution to your fitness levels until you kick the butt.

Read on to know why.

PS: Here’s the low-down on Exercise Programs For Weight Loss.
Also, head here to catch the latest in Fitness Trends.

Read More:
Here’s What Smoking Does To Your Body
Exhausted After A Workout? I’ll Explain Why
Electrolytes: These Post-Workout Refills Are Non-Negotiable

About the Author
Yolande D'Mello

Yolande is a journalist by profession and a dreamer by choice. During her five-year stint, she has written for newspapers such as the Times of India, Mumbai Mirror, DNA and Mid Day on health, innovation and music.

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