You can’t quit smoking because… why again? For some, it’s “because” they don’t want to gain weight, others admit that they like the light-headed high, or they think it’s sexy, they do it because it helps relieve stress, and then there’s the boredom factor- you know… you smoke because it’s “something to do.” Well, exercise fulfills all of those needs, but without the proven increased odds of killing you, oh, and, the “sexy” part- while smoking actually contributes to erectile dysfunction in men, exercise helps improve the problem. It’s time to stop kissing the butt, before you kick the bucket.
Fact is, exercise can actually be a great addition to quit your smoking addiction, addressing each of your “Why I can’t quit” fears. Here’s how:
1. “I Don’t Want to Gain Weight”
That’s a gimmie. Exercise is a proven method to lose weight and tone up.
2. “I Like the High”
Ever hear of “Runner’s High?” Thankfully, you don’t even have to be a runner to get it! It’s been shown that 20 minutes of low-moderate cardio (like speed walking, dancing, and aerobics) triggers the release of those uplifting Endorphins, while decreasing the level of Cortisol (stress hormone), therefore even further upping your happy state and making you feel even less anxious and more “shiny happy (oh, and healthy) people.”
3. “Smoking is Sexy”
While it may appear to make a man even more “manly,” fact is it contributes to erectile dysfunction. When it comes to women, smoking weakens skin’s elasticity, contributing to cellulite and wrinkles.
4. “Smoking Helps Me De-Stress”
The sheer act of taking deep breaths (which you do when you are smoking) may make you feel like it is the cigarette that is relaxing you. But in reality, smoking has been shown to have the opposite effect when it comes to stress. The only stress that smoking relieves are the cravings between cigarettes, and the withdrawals that come (temporarily) from quitting. But in fact, ex-smokers who successfully quit have been shown to experience less feelings of stress than those who continue to smoke. Exercise, on the other hand is a proven stress reliever, helping to chemically reduce the presence of stress from the body in the decrease of cortisol- the stress hormone, while simultaneously serving as an emotional and physical outlet for stress where you take deep oxygenating breaths, and sweat, punch, run, and stomp out the stress.
5. “I’m Bored”
When you are tired or bored, it may be because you don’t have fresh oxygen circling through your brain, provoking creative thought, or it could be because, as reported by the Journal of Neurochemistry, tobacco can cause white blood cells to attack healthy cells, which can lead to severe neurological damage… regardless of the reason, exercise is one of the best ways to stimulate your brain, helping you come up with fresh and clear ideas, while simultaneously occupying a chunk of otherwise wasted time. It’s a much healthier “I’m bored” go-to, one that will make you feel better and you won’t regret after.
The good news is, exercise isn’t just better for you, but it can actually help you to quit smoking too! If you take up an exercise routine, the feel-good power can override your desire to smoke. You go for a run or take an aerobics class and, even though your mind and body want to go further, your lungs simply can’t, but you feel so revitalized after that you just don’t feel like smoking. 1 cigarette less here and there, turns into 3 and 4 cigarettes less, and suddenly you’ve kicked the habit and replaced it with another- a healthy habit of exercising.
Choosing to exercise instead of smoke isn’t just about being “thin” or even about being healthy today, tomorrow, next week, month or year. It’s so that in 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now you will still be healthy and be able to live a full, long, and active life. It’s time to kick the butt kissing habit. But you know that…