Hello, I’d like to start this article by saying I used to socially smoke in my late teens but I’ve now been a non-smoker for over 15 years. I’m not going to start getting on my high horse and say how disgusting smoking is but I would like to point out a few facts. I recently found out my brother wishes to compete in a Coast to Coast event or maybe try Total Warrior with me next year. I’d love that but I bluntly said, you need to kick the fags. He knows as well as I do that he needs to quit, he’s been smoking for a lot of years now but it’s not too late to change things. He’s been talking about starting to train again and he has my full support but he needs to quit smoking in order to get the best results possible. I’d now like to point out a few facts on how smoking affects health and fitness. I think in this case, facts and figures speak louder than me going on and on! Thanks to GASP for some of the snippets on this article.
- Smoking decreases oxygen in the body and reduces endurance
- Every puff of smoke inhaled causes the airways to constrict. Over time, the narrowing of airways causes irreversible lung damage
- Smoking increases blood pressure and your heart rate
- Smokers suffer from shortness of breath three times as often as non-smokers
- Smokers have less muscular strength and flexibility
- Smoking affects bones and joints and increases risk of developing hip fractures, osteoporosis and lower back pain
- Smokers take longer to heal from injuries than non-smokers
I also came across some interested figures on some Army recruits.
- Smokers in endurance tests reached exhaustion earlier than non-smokers
- In 12 minutes, smokers ran a shorter distance than non-smokers
- In a 16km run, smokers were consistently slower than non-smokers
- For every cigarette smoked per day, their finishing time increased by 40 seconds
- Smoking 20 a day increases the time to run 16km by 12 age years
- Non-smokers ran an 80 metre sprint in a significantly shorter time than smokers
Now for the good news! Some smoking effects can be reversed by simply stopping. Smokers who quit (even after 60) have better lung function than smokers who continue to smoke. Did you know that people who already exercise are less likely to smoke? Taking part in any physical activity helps and motivates smokers to quit. I’d like to finish this article here and wish all the smokers out there who want to quit, all the very best.