Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Exercise vs. Smoking

Exercise & smoking affect the same organs and physiological systems but in opposite ways. While smoking decreases lung capacity, exercise increases it. In addition, as smoking increases your risk of heart attack, exercise decreases it. Then there's the issue of phlegm, the sticky fluid secreted by the mucous membranes of our respiratory system. Smoking produces phlegm which can congest the lungs while exercise has the reverse effect by breaking it up and rebuilding the lungs. In essence, you're poisoning your body by smoking yet expect the same stressed organs to work hard during exercise. The result? A strain on your heart, blood vessels, pulse, and blood pressure while decreasing the oxygen levels within your blood.

If you're a smoker who is ready to start exercising but not quite ready to extinguish the "nicotine stick" for good, think about the following health benefits* upon quitting:
  • Within 20 minutes (of putting down a cigarette) your blood pressure & pulse read "normal"

  • Within 8 hours the oxygen level in the blood normalizes & carbon monoxide levels go down

  • Within 24 hours your risk of heart attack starts to decline

  • Within 2 days you can taste food & smell things better

  • Within 3 days your lung capacity improves to the point to where you can actually breathe better

  • Within 3 months your circulation improves and your lung functioning is up by 30%

  • Within 9 months your lungs are able to clean themselves again & your risk of infection goes down

  • Within 1 year your heart diease risk is now half of that of a typical smoker

  • Within 5 years your risk of stroke is close to that of a non-smoker

  • Within 10 years your lung cancer death rate is half of that of smokers & your risk of other cancers goes down as well

  • Within 15 years your heart disease risk is the same if that as a non-smoker

The good news is that you can start reaping the benefits the moment you take that last puff! Think about all that you can gain - the ability to fully breathe, enjoying the taste & smells around you, having vibrant skin tone, having more fun with your exercise program and having a healthy body. Once you experience the difference, you'll wonder why you didn't quit sooner! Do it's a choice you won't regret!


*Source for Health Benefits: U.S. Surgeon General Reports (1988, 2001)

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