Exercise isn’t just good for your overall health, but can also help you to quit smoking. If you’re trying to break the habit, there are many ways to do so, but the cheapest and easiest may just be to take up exercising. As it is, smoking is the largest cause of cancer deaths in Australia, as well as most heart and lung diseases, so quitting now may just be your best option. What better way to gain back your health than by doing something completely healthy?
We also invite you to download our checklist to see if you're ready to quit smoking.
Quitting is, of course, a very difficult thing to do. Not only is there the physical addiction of the nicotine, but there’s also the psychological addiction that many people have to deal with; the habit of having a smoke at certain times of the day, or when you get anxious. The key to defeating those habits and addictions is through exercise.
Activity, physical activity, is a great distraction. Spend the time you would have spent smoking taking a short walk around the block instead. The walk will help reduce stress, vent any frustrations or anxiety and will actually release natural endorphins that will lift your mood. Regular exercise, such as going to the gym or completing a daily routine, will help reduce the weight gain that can come with quitting smoking. You’ll fall asleep faster at night, and rest deeper, allowing withdrawal symptoms to be lessened as well. With exercise, you’ll be able to purge your system of the chemicals that come from smoking much faster, and therefore your breathing will improve within 72 hours, and you’ll find that you have more energy.
Studies have shown that not only does exercise decrease your appetite, but it really does ease nicotine withdrawal symptoms for the duration of the exercise and for up to nearly an hour afterwards. It’s a great distraction, a mood improver and a practical and healthy way to deal with stress.
It’s best to set aside a time for regular exercise, as this will be the easiest way to create a new, better habit. You should aim for at least thirty minutes a day, with moderate-intensity physical activity. You should make it a priority, as the more exercise you manage, the easier you’ll find it is to quit smoking. Going a class at the gym is a great way to make yourself stick with it, as you’ll be more likely to exercise if it’s a commitment you’ve paid for.
If a regular routine, or gym attendance, is difficult to follow, though, you don’t have to despair. You can fit exercise into your daily life in simple ways as well. As mentioned earlier, you can take a quick walk around the block instead of taking your smoke. You can use the stairs instead of the lift, which will burn off some calories and relieve some stress as well. Park further from your building’s entrance, making your walk just that much further. Take another walk during your lunch break, or even just walk to lunch. Do some stretching exercises while you watch your favorite television shows or the news.
If you’re struck with a sudden craving at work, than there’s a few simple exercises you can do to ease the craving. Do some deep-knee bends, or take a quit run up and down a few flights of stairs. If you can’t leave your desk, than sit in your chair and focus on alternating between relaxing and tensing your muscles. Be sure to focus on this activity, though, as the focus is part of the exercise. You can, if you feel the need, do some push-ups. Simple activities like this will help you relieve the stress of the craving and get your blood moving enough to hold it off.
Don’t give up. In the beginning you may find yourself short of breath, but like we mentioned earlier, with regular exercise, you’ll find that easing after only 72 hours. If you find yourself growing bored of your routine, spice it up and try something new. The key is to not give up. Set some goals and don’t let yourself out of them. You can even make it a competition, if you need.
Quitting the habit of smoking is never a mistake, and exercise is a really good way to go about it. You don’t need to be part of the thirteen percent of the nation of Australia that is bound to the habit of the cigarette. If you’re finding yourself interested in quitting the habit, you can download the “Checklist That You Are Ready to Quit Smoking”, or contact us for more information on how to go about doing so.