How Smoking Interferes With Your Workouts – And What You Can Do About It


Smoking and exercise are two activities that do not mesh well together. The benefits of exercise on cardiovascular and respiratory health are extremely well documented: a seven-year study showed that those who took 80 steps per minute for 30 minutes a day saw an astonishing 80% decreased incidence of cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, smoking’s harmful effects are equally known – tobacco smokers have carbon monoxide in their bloodstream, which makes it more difficult for oxygen to get to their organs and muscles, causing shortness of breath and other complications. So whether you’re looking to lose weight or want to be in better shape, a smoking habit may be putting a damper on your workout routine. Here are a few tips to safely and sustainably begin your smoking cessation journey to be at peak gym performance.

Smokeless alternatives

While there are clear benefits to quitting smoking, doing so cold turkey can be difficult due to withdrawal symptoms that get worse before they get better. Because this can interfere with day-to-day life, some may opt for a smoother transition with smoke-free, tobacco-free products that, while not wholly risk-free, eliminate the health hazards associated with smoke inhalation. Buying nicotine pouches online can be an easy start to using an alternative to cigarettes. Choose from a variety of flavors and nicotine strengths, from extra strong pouches to a classic fresh mint or a uniquely spicy cinnamon. You can enjoy the nicotine experience without dealing with smoke or odors – stash them in your gym bag or the pocket of your running shorts, and you’re good to go.

Along with more popular brands like On!, VELO, and Zyn, the new TACJA MELLOW and FROZEN nicotine pouch series come in fruity flavors like watermelon and blueberry sour for those who want a candy-like taste. These oral tobacco pouches provide a smoke-free but not tobacco-free experience, with various nicotine concentration options that you can customize based on where you’re at on both your smoking cessation and your fitness journey. Continue to taper down your dose as your body tolerates progressively lower levels of nicotine intake while making minor changes to your lifestyle that will make working out even more enjoyable.

Day-to-day modifications

The effects of quitting smoking are circular in nature: you quit to exercise better, and now the next step is to exercise to quit better. If you still experience shortness of breath, focusing on resistance training is a great way to build confidence before graduating to intensive cardio routines. One study asked male and female smokers to finish 1-hour resistance training sessions twice a week for 12 weeks while using nicotine patches. In the end, 16% not only quit smoking but also lost body fat, and three months later, 15% had successfully maintained their quit attempt. You can start easy, gradually adding weight over time before integrating a cardio element – circuit training, kickboxing, and spin classes are just a few examples of workouts that successfully combine strength and cardio.

Smoking is seen by many as a reward after a meal or long work day. Previously, we talked about how creating reward systems can be a double-edged sword, fueling morale but preventing you from internalizing your motivation. Quitting smoking and maintaining a workout routine share one core ingredient to success: cultivating discipline, even on days when motivation is low. Shedding bad habits and building better ones is difficult because exiting your comfort zone is difficult. But with sustainable cessation methods and an attainable exercise routine that evolves with your fitness level, you can enjoy higher-powered workouts with the health benefits that come with saying goodbye to smoking for good.

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