Congrats: you finally quit smoking! What happens next? Initially, your palate and metabolism will return to normal, meaning food will taste better but fat will be more difficult to break down. However, your lung capacity will gradually improve, giving you more freedom to enjoy physical activities. Once you quit smoking there are many ways to get back into shape and, of course, most of them involve some form of exercise. Have you ever wondered what makes a workout actually work? Why does working out make you healthier? Regular workouts help your body in a variety of ways. For starters, working out helps to promote:
Healthier lung capacity
Increased cognitive abilities
Regular workouts also increase your endurance and stamina while keeping your body strong. You can reduce things such as depression, obesity, and chronic diseases by staying active. Here's how you can use exercise, along with a proper diet, to get back in shape and keep the weight off after you've kicked the butts.
Maintain Lean Tissue
When you workout you will build lean tissue. Activities help you to develop coordination and balance while increasing your strength. Moderate exercise can prevent muscle loss as you age. By maintaining lean tissue you can increase your body’s metabolic rate while increasing your ability to perform basic physical tasks like climbing stairs, carrying your child, or lifting groceries.
Maintain Bone Mass
By taking part in sports or weight bearing exercise like dancing or jogging you can move your body weight. This helps you maintain bone mass. It can help reduce nutritional deficiencies and reduce your risk of bone breaks or fractures as you age.
Maintain Cardiovascular Health
When you work out you raise your heart rate. This reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. When you perform aerobic activity for at least fifteen minutes you can maximize your heart rate. Aerobic activity just means rhythmic and continuous exercise. This helps increase the efficiency of your heart which causes your heart to pump more blood with&;fewer beats. By working out regularly you can lower your resting heart rate.
Working out plays a big role in managing weight. If you do not work out you can increase obesity and your risk for chronic diseases. If you take part in moderate-intensity exercises you can burn off calories and maintain a healthy weight. You will reduce your body’s fat storage as well.
Improve Heart and Cardiovascular Health
Many people do not think of it this way, but the heart is essentially one of the most important muscles of the body. The heart, together with the rest of the cardiovascular system, is vital to pumping blood to the rest of the body. The right ventricles of the heart are responsible for taking the blood from your body and transporting to your lungs, where the blood becomes re-oxygenated. The freshly oxygenated blood then moves to the left ventricles of the heart where it is carried to the rest of the body. The blood is responsible for providing oxygen and key nutrients to the cells of the body. The blood also removes waste products from the cells.
Since the heart is a muscle, it requires exercise to keep it operating at its highest level of efficiency. This is why exercise is absolutely essential to reducing the risk of major problems such as heart disease. Making it a point to exercise regularly will lessen the chance of heart disease, which is the most common cause of death worldwide.
Improve Your Mood and Get Rid of Stress
Exercise has been known to make people feel good, and that is due to the body’s production of a chemical called endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s way of stabilizing feelings such as hunger. The feeling produced when the body increases its production of endorphins is commonly referred to as a natural high or runner’s high.
The body releases endorphins after a sustained period of exercise, such as jogging. After a few minutes the exercise will cause the body to increase its production of endorphins. These natural chemicals can really help to improve the mood and the way we feel. Higher endorphin levels have also been proven to have an impact on high levels of stress. Exercise makes people feel good at a chemical level, by producing mood improving endorphins, but also can make people feel good knowing that they are doing something that is good for their body.
Improve Immune Health
Exercise can increase immune health in a few ways. Most importantly, the body begins to produce more macrophages, which are a type of cell that is responsible for attacking bacteria. Second, exercise will cause your body temperature to rise, which has been known to help ward off infection. Getting regular amounts of exercise stimulates your immune health overall, though a high intensity level of exercise may actually have a short term drop in immune system health. Due to the stress of intense activities such as running a marathon, your body will experience a temporary drop in immune system health. A few days of rest will help minimize these short term harms.
Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a problem that affects over 50 million people in the US alone. People with high blood pressure that begin to exercise regularly can be expected to see a drop of roughly 10 points in their blood pressure levels. The best exercises for lowering blood pressure are cardiovascular activities such as jogging, biking, and swimming. Since high blood pressure is a major problem that increases the risk of more significant conditions such as heart attacks and strokes, moderate cardiovascular exercise should be an important part of anyone’s daily routine.
Improve Energy Levels
Many different things have an impact on the body’s energy levels. Exercise is one of the most important factors, along with eating the right foods and getting plenty of sleep. Exercise has been proven to improve energy levels in two ways: by increasing alertness and improving stamina.
Exercise increases the rate of blood flow throughout the body. As your heart rate rises, your body begins to pump more blood, thus carrying more oxygen to the cells and the brain. The increased level of oxygen in the blood contributes to an increased level of mental alertness. The body’s cells also get more glucose, a major source of fuel. In the long term, exercise will improve muscle health and contribute to a higher level of stamina and other benefits such as a lower blood pressure level and lower resting heart rate.
With a (somewhat) proper diet and excercise, I have been able to actually drop almost 10 lbs since I quit smoking 2 months ago. I happen to enjoy jogging and have running about 3 miles/day every other day or so and mix in whatever weight lifting and abdominal crunches I can afford time for in my busy work schedule. So chose whatever excercises you prefer and find a daily routine, whether it be hitting the gym in the morning or going for a quick run after work. Not only will get back in shape and keep the weight off, but you will reduce your chance of relapse by reducing stress and boosting your mood!
About the Author:
John Madden is a reviewer of healthier alternatives to smoking for Ecigarette Reviewed . He is an avid blogger, jogger, and snowboarder who credits quitting smoking to increased athletic endurance and vastly improved overall health.