How Smoking Effects Your Training

Regardless of where you used to live or where you now reside, across countries and continents across the globe, the act of smoking is one that impacts on millions of people each and every year. Whether a smoker or non-smoker, everyone is aware of the potentially devastating effects that smoking can have on the human body, with death being the ultimate price.

Why individuals would actively go out of their way to smoke and quite simply destroy their own body escapes many individuals, myself included – even more so when that individual undertakes training for a particular activity or sport. If truth be told, if you were looking at two activities to put at either end of a spectrum, then smoking and exercise would definitely be a contender! Moving away from the common ranting and raving about smoking that is often argued back and forth between smokers and non-smokers, this article aims to consider the true effects of smoking on your training.

The Major Effects Of Smoking On Your Training

So what are some of the major effects of smoking for those individuals also involved in regular exercise regimes?

  • Carbon monoxide, contained within the smoke from a cigarette, reduces the amount of oxygen that can be absorbed into the blood and transported to the active muscles.
  • The act of inhaling smoke has an immediate and direct impact on the respiratory system, increasing the resistance offered by the airways and reducing the flow of oxygen.
  • Smoking causes an increment of both your resting and active heart rate for any given exercise, as increased demands are placed on the heart to deliver sufficient oxygen.

Listed above are only a handful of physical effects that smoking can have on an individual. These effects can ultimately effect and interfere with your breathing patterns, endurance levels and bone health whilst ultimately limiting the type and amount of exercise you can perform. Let us know take a closer look at each of these in further detail;

  • Breathing Patterns: Without trying to state the obvious, being able to breath is an essential component of general health, let alone exercise! During intense physical exercise, your oxygen requirement increases to meet the demands set by your target muscles. Smoking negatively impacts on this process by destroying cells and reducing your body’s ability at absorbing, carrying and supplying oxygen. If that wasn’t enough, smoking also causes vasoconstriction of blood vessels, further reducing this supply of oxygenated blood.
  • Endurance levels: Your altered breathing patterns, highlighted above directly impacts on your level of endurance. If you can’t supply the oxygen to the working muscles quick enough, then fatigue will set in at an accelerated rate, causing a premature end to your exercise. These endurance levels can also be impacted on by the introduction of carbon monoxide into your body, which occupies the red blood cells instead of oxygen and again reduces the supply to the active muscles. Furthermore, nicotine directly reduces blood flow.
  • Bone health: Unknown to many, the act of smoking can cause early onset of osteoporosis within your bones, resulting in reduced bone density and enhanced risk of skeletal injury. This can cause various health implications and actually restrict the performance of certain activities, such as running and other high impact activity. It is also recommended that individuals with osteoporosis avoid further activity that involves jumping, twisting and exercises that involve sudden changes of movement, making a lot of sports off limit.

The bottom line is, smoking and training just don’t go. If you’re serious about your chosen activity or sport and value your health and fitness in general, then you should steer well clear of cigarettes.

Try to view your well being as a gift which should be treasured and nurtured, not taken advantage of and destroyed – otherwise you could find yourself at the very least restricted to certain types of exercise and at worst, fighting for your life. It really is that black and white.