Lifestyle

“Don’t Smoke, Be Fit”

Suzan Sayegh, MPH/ Health Promotion Researcher
Aspetar
22 June, 2016

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Smoking is a widespread habit that haunts young and older adults. It is in a fact a very fatal act that we do not take the consequences of seriously. Such a tiny cylindrical cigarette can take a life away on the long run and there are a lot of cases that prove so. The health consequences of smoking are well established. Studies show that smoking contributes to a number of diseases, including cancer, heart and respiratory diseases, osteoporosis and reduced physical performance.

Smoking affects the physical health immediately for various scientifically proven reasons. Tobacco, found in cigarettes and other sources, is mostly made of carbon monoxide that inhibits oxygen from reaching the muscle cells when inhaled. This makes it harder for the body to build muscles. In addition, nicotine tightens blood vessels, thus, decreasing the blood flow and weakening the heart which leads to reduced physical activity and athletic performance. During exercise, nutrient-rich blood is needed in high amounts in the muscles. For smokers, this is quite hard due to their weakened hearts and high resting heart rates caused by low oxygen amounts. The decreased oxygen reduces the person’s physical endurance, making it more difficult to accomplish the day-to-day activities, such as walking up stairs. The heart, in this case, must work harder to pump blood and deliver adequate oxygen to the body.

Nowadays, it is more obvious that teens and children are smoking. They are more likely to be less physically fit, suffer from breathing problems and have bone growth disruptions due to the chemicals inhaled into the body. Hence, smoking weakens your bones and makes the body frail and less physically fit.

Effects of smoking on physical fitness:

  • Less benefit from physical training
  • Less muscular strength and flexibility
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Shortness of breath

Many think that smoking causes inflammation only in the lungs. However, it also affects your bones and joints, putting you at increased risk for developing the following conditions:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Low back pain

Moreover, it is such a misconception that smoking helps in weight control which makes some people start or continue to smoke. However, it is proven that smoking holds back healthy weight control because it wreaks less physical activity and reduced physical performance. A good diet and exercise routine is the best way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Smoking is like a little camouflaged murderer. It appears to be relaxing when it is actually a stimulator of the nervous system. It appears to be a helper in weight loss when it, in fact, reduces your physical fitness. It shortens your breath, causes your lungs to rot, and dilutes your bones.  It is a serial killer hidden in a tiny little angelic figure that takes over you once you give it a chance and gets you addicted so it can demonically take over you and kill you slowly.

Research suggests that individuals who maintain an exercise program may be more likely to give up smoking than those who quit exercising. Thus, increasing physical activity would facilitate the adoption and maintenance of a nonsmoking behavior.

It is never too late to quit because you can heal. Once you stop smoking, carbon monoxide in your body begins to regulate, and your physical performance improves. Your heart rate drops immediately, and your lungs begin to function healthier. From one to nine months after quitting, you would get rid of the shortness of breath and coughing.

Athletes are less likely to smoke, so why not become one?

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