Quitting smoking is a hard habit to break, but once you manage to do so, half of the battle for your future well-being has been won.
You may ask yourself why saying a final “no” to tobacco products is not a complete victory – after all, you no longer poison yourself by indulging in this nasty habit.
The answer is quite simple. The damage has already been done, and to help your body heal itself, you should follow up with a fitness routine to keep it in good shape.
But engaging in regular training may be a much harder task than you realise.
To illustrate the point, quitting your smoking habit can be made much less taxing by using alternative nicotine delivery mechanisms, e.g., nicotine patches, gum, or even e-cigarettes with Vampire Vape juice; when it comes to getting back into shape, there are no such convenient aids.
However, the whole experience can be made somewhat easier by thoroughly planning your fitness routine and making it as personalised as possible. Without further ado, here is how you can achieve that.
Improve Your Lung Capacity Even Before You Try to Exercise
If you’ve been a long-time smoker for whom it was entirely normal to empty out a full ashtray thrice a day, it is quite likely that your lung capacity is severely diminished when compared to a healthy tobacco teetotaller.
Understand That Cigarettes Ruin the Lungs
Cigarette enthusiasts, unlike non-smokers, regularly inhale over seven thousand dangerous substances emitted by burning cigarettes. These chemicals cause significant damage to the lungs’ cells.
Moreover, the irritating chemicals inhaled into your lungs cause the inflammatory cells to release a special mucus.
This secretion not only decreases the amount of oxygen reaching the airways but also makes for a perfect medium for many dangerous bacteria to grow in, sometimes leading to serious lung infections.
Water and Food Can Help the Healing Process
Once you understand why your lungs are in much worse shape than those of a healthy individual, it may be best to improve them passively at first.
No matter what sort of training regime will you decide later on, all will benefit from eating healthily and drinking plenty of water.
The idea here is that both food and water not only provide a plethora of nutrients and minerals useful in the process of healing but also help your cells flush still present toxins.
Try to limit yourself to warm beverages as these can help thin the mucus in your lungs considerably, increasing oxygen absorption.
Understand the Motivation Aspect and Pick the Right Type of Physical Activity
Quitting smoking has been known to induce mood swings in many former smokers.
Because your body is still slowly accustoming itself to the lack of tobacco in your life, you may experience periods of increased irritability, restlessness, or even sadness. Such occurrences can be deadly to your motivation, making it harder to get back in shape.
Although you can’t significantly reduce the mood side effects of the withdrawal process, what you can do is bolster your motivation by specifically picking physical exercises you most like, try to focus on those that don’t require a great effort on your part.
For starters, long walks should be perfect. They are a low-impact activity that improves your body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently and, if done right, shouldn’t tax your damaged lungs too much.
If walking makes you feel like a fish out of water, consider doing some light swimming instead.
This form of exercise has been known to have beneficial effects on lung capacity and should be relaxing enough to help you cope with withdrawal-induced anxiety and mood swings.
Make a Solid Training Plan
Once your body gets accustomed to some forms of light physical activity, and your mood swings diminish in severity, it’s time to start planning your fitness routine. Here you can go two ways.
If you trust your own judgment, you can devise a regimen on your own.
There are hundreds of guides available on the Internet, with some of them even being in the video format on Youtube.
It’s important however that you carefully study each such plan in order to check for any possible mistakes. It might be best to consult your final choices with your physician to iron out anything you might have missed.
The second approach is to hire a personal trainer. This approach allows you to skip the research and development plant and instead rely on a specially trained professional, one who will guarantee the quality of your fitness routine.
Unfortunately, such a choice is often quite costly, so check twice if you can afford this route before you proceed.
Take Baby Steps at First
Your lung capacity is not the only thing that is severely affected by years of smoking.
The rest of your body itself is going to be much weaker than those of tobacco abstainers. As such, while the light exercises described above might have been easily doable, the heavy workout sessions normally associated with a fitness regimen might give you some problems.
To fight this, remember to start slowly, and up the level of effort, you require of yourself every once in a while.
Your body needs time to adapt to a new reality of living actively, so start off by setting realistic goals and don’t get discouraged if you’re unable to meet them.
So in conclusion, getting back into shape after years of indulging in a bad habit is not an easy task.
The main reason for this is the state of your body which has suffered extensive damage due to years of inhaling deadly substances.
Because of that, you need to approach your fitness routine with a lot of care, and even then, you may run into some unforeseen problems.
On the other hand, if you know how to properly tackle the problem, it’s very likely that you’d be able to make a recovery.
It is more than worth it to try – unlike most things, your body can’t be replaced and to get the most out of your life, you need it to be strong and able.
And once you are back in form, the sky’s the limit! Good luck!