All of us suffer from at least one bad habit. For some, this represents nothing more than a sweet tooth or a proclivity towards procrastination. Other habits are more serious. One of the most common (and potentially deadly) involves the use of nicotine in the form of cigarettes on a regular basis. In fact, it has been shown that 78,000 individuals from all walks of life throughout the United Kingdom die from smoking every year. Countless others endure debilitating conditions that can make death appear as a blessing. This is why there is no better time than the present to kick the nasty habit. Let’s therefore take a look at some of the positive effects that quitting smoking can have upon your fitness routine as well as your overall health.
Improved Blood Circulation
The carbon monoxide that is found within cigarette smoke can cause your blood to thicken. This increases the chances that your arteries will become narrower over time. Narrow arteries are associated with coronary disease, strokes and heart attacks; even at relatively young ages. Quitting smoking helps to thin the blood; allowing it to flow efficiently to the extremities of your body. This is also beneficial due to the fact that those who are taking supplements (such as creatine and protein) can enjoy higher absorption rates. You will otherwise be throwing money out of the proverbial window.
More Efficient Lungs
This is perhaps the most well-known benefit of quitting cigarettes. The tar from cigarette smoke will eventually coat the walls of your lungs and hamper the functionality of tiny sacs which absorb oxygen (known as alveoli). The accumulation of phlegm can also make it more difficult to breathe during high-intensity training sessions. So, it only stands to reason that highly efficient lungs will positively impact your workouts. This is just as true for those who are cardio junkies or anyone who loves hitting the heavy weights. If you feel that you are becoming unduly winded, the chances are high that cigarettes are to blame.
Lower Heart Rates
The average resting heart rate for an adult male is between 60 and 80 beats per minute. For women, this equates to between 60 and 100 beats. Smoking can increase your resting heart rate, as the muscle has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. Therefore, your rate will increase even more during a training session; perhaps to dangerous levels. This can lead to heightened chances of heart attacks, strokes and premature death. However, did you know that your heart rate will begin to drop back to normal after only 20 minutes of smoking your last cigarette? Within six months, your resting heart rate should mirror that of an individual who never picked up one of those nasty nicotine sticks.
We have already seen that cigarettes hamper the ability of your body to transport oxygen to its cells. As we rely upon oxygen to perform a host of metabolic activities, lower levels of this gas will inevitably lead to fatigue and exhaustion. This is the very same reason why many individuals feel light-headed after having the first cigarette of the day. If you quite smoking, you will almost immediately feel a substantial energy boost. This is great news if you have been looking to break through a plateau or you happen to be training for an upcoming fitness event.
Increased Appetite and Nutrient Absorption Rates
We are all aware that diet is the most critical portion of any successful training regimen. So, why sell yourself short by smoking? Cigarettes impact our taste buds; causing foods to appear bland and boring. Furthermore, nicotine is an appetite suppressant. This is obviously not the greatest news for anyone who is looking to pack on lean mass and to reduce their body mass index (BMI). You will also be able to more efficiently absorb macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) as well as micronutrients (such as vitamins, amino acids and minerals). It makes little sense to put in a great deal of hard work at the gym only for your efforts to be ablated due to cigarettes.
Kicking the Habit: A No-Brainer
We can now see why smoking is one of the worst habits to adopt if you happen to be a fan of fitness (and for anyone else really). To quickly recap, here are some of the benefits that you can expect to enjoy soon after quitting:
- Increased blood circulation
- More efficient lung function
- A healthier heart
- More energy
- An heightened appetite and higher nutrient absorption rates
As if these reasons alone are not enough to take action, remember that you can download the Trion app to track your progress as well as to plan the most targeted fitness routines based around your personal desires. Think of this application as your private electronic training partner. Above all, quitting smoking today will ensure a happy and healthy tomorrow.