Smoking and Exercise: The Effects of Smoking on Your Workout

I don’t want to be annoying and tell you the obvious, but I have to write at least one article about smoking and exercise. You see, I used to be a smoker. This is before I started working out on a regular basis. When I got serious about running, I quit…and boy, was it hard! I have friends, however, who began working out and took their smoking habits along for the ride. I wondered, what effect does the smoking have on their exercise regime?

After doing some research, I’ve learned that it doesn’t really work that way. Smoking is much more serious than a lack of exercise. And while working out is great for your cardiovascular health, cigarette smoke is so toxic that it will hurt you in the long run anyway.  In fact, because of what it does to your heart and lungs, it increases the stress that is put on your body when you hit the gym, and therefore raises the chances of a medical emergency occurring. Additionally, puffing away before and/or after the gym will prevent you from achieving any kind of optimal workout.

To put it another way, if you’re a smoker who works out…focus on quitting smoking NOW. Put all of your energies into this, as it is impossible to be healthy and smoking. A strong exercise regime may help you achieve this feat (I know how difficult it can be!) by keeping your mind off the butts, and giving you an adrenaline rush as reinforcement for your good behavior.

Let’s go over some of the ways in which smoking effects your workout regime:

  • Decrease in Endurance: we all know that working out is difficult, that’s why it’s called a WORK out! When you smoke, it puts an additional burden on your body, decreasing your endurance by about 10 percent. It can also make your workout FEEL a lot more difficult, causing you to become frustrated and quit working out altogether!
  • Cardiac Issues: Smoking and exercise puts an extra burden on your heart. When you do cardio, and when you smoke, less oxygen is reaching your bodily issues. This causes your heart to beat faster in order to keep your body supplied with oxygen. When you smoke AND exercise, this can be too much for your heart to handle, and can cause cardiac arrest!
  • Decrease in Gains: The prevention of appropriate oxygen replenishment to your tissues (caused by the carbon monoxide in smoking) can decrease your ability to gain muscle! If your muscle tissue is not repaired quickly after a workout, this has negative effects on your ability to build muscle.

In terms of quitting smoking, I think it’s safe to say that the positives GROSSLY outweigh the negatives. If you quit now, your body will work quickly to reverse the damage you’ve done to it. You will notice a positive difference in endurance and post-workout recovery only a week after quitting! So no matter what your age, remember it’s never to late to make the right choice and kick the habit forever!


If you need help quitting smoking:, Click Here! I TOTALLY recommend this package, I’ve seen  my husband and cousin go from smoking a pack a day (minimum!) to avoiding cigarettes like the plague, even after a few drinks :)

Have you quit smoking recently? Let us know how you did it by commenting on this blog post!

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