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The Fitness Zone

Exercise and Smoking - Why They Don't Mix
March 1, 2014

You exercise regularly and you eat well, so a cigarette every so often isn't so bad, right? Wrong! Smoking is preventing you from reaping the benefits of your healthy behaviour. Ben O'Connell, eCampus Fitness Coach at the Australian Institute of Fitness NSW, explains why.

Obviously exercise and smoking are two polar opposites. On one hand, exercise has a positive influence on creating a healthy lifestyle, while smoking has a negative influence on our health. Here are the effects of each in brief:

Positive Effects Exercising Has on our Health

  • Increases lung capacity
  • Promotes strength
  • Assists in losing weight
  • Improves mood
  • Fights depression
  • Decreases the risk of heart disease

Negative Effects Smoking Has on our Health

  • Lung cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • High blood pressure
  • Impotence

Did you know the more exercise we do, the stronger our heart becomes, and from this we are able to pump more blood to our lungs and throughout the body? This enables more oxygen rich blood to feed the muscles, so we are able to exercise for a longer duration and have a lower heart rate.

In contrast to this, when we smoke we intake carbon monoxide which binds to haemoglobin, causing less oxygen in the blood. Less oxygen means that the heart has to work harder to pump more blood to increase the oxygen supply to muscles, which results in us having an increased heart rate and fatiguing quicker.

From this we can see that if we exercise and smoke together, smoking will prevent us from reaping the great benefits exercise could be giving us. Hopefully this has given you a great reason to quit or help others around you to see the benefits of quitting.

This content is not intended to be used as individual health or fitness advice divorced from that imparted by medical, health or fitness professionals. Medical clearance should always be sought before commencing an exercise regime. The Institute and the authors do no take any responsibility for accident or injury caused as a result of this information.

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