It goes without saying that smoking has a significantly negative impact on your health, and the way in which you work out is no exception. If you want to maximize your workout performance, quitting smoking is essential. Today, there are various methods one can employ to quit smoking; from disposable vapes to nicotine patches, there have never been so many aids to pave your way to success.
So, it’s fair to say that everyone knows smoking isn’t very beneficial to a workout, but just how does it play a role? Detailed below are some of the most significant effects of smoking on a workout.
Effect on Lungs
Firstly, your workout performance is optimized when your lung capacity is strong, meaning your lungs are able to function well. Since smoking leads to your lungs being filled with, well, smoke, it’s detrimental to your lung capacity. Cigarette smoke contains tar, which covers your lungs and hinders the elasticity of your air sacs. Meanwhile, smoking also causes your body to produce phlegm, resulting in congestion. In fact, even just a few cigarettes daily can limit your body’s ability to use oxygen effectively. Our lungs are a vital component of our breathing, which is required for intense exercise sessions.
Effect on Heart
Smoking causes your resting heart rate to skyrocket; this refers to the number of beats per minute being produced in times of inactivity. As a smoker, your number of beats per minute increases, as your body is required to work extra hard to keep going. Consequently, intense exercise could result in your heart rate reaching dangerous levels. In fact, a resting heart rate that’s too high can lead to serious consequences, including death. It goes without saying that to exercise safely and effectively, your heart needs to be up to the job.
Effect on Blood
Your blood is responsible for pumping oxygen around the body, which is essential during periods of physical activity. Certain muscles will demand more oxygen than others, and your blood is going to need to be able to facilitate this. Despite this, carbon monoxide and nicotine that is pumped into the body from cigarette smoke result in sticky blood that narrows your arteries. Narrow arteries limit blood flow to the muscles, heart, and various other organs, making it more and more difficult to exercise. This is because oxygen won’t be able to travel to your muscles at a fast enough rate.
Raised Cortisol Level
Cortisol is otherwise known as the stress hormone, and when you smoke, the presence of this chemical skyrockets. With the increase in cortisol comes the reduction of testosterone. Meanwhile, protein synthesis is also reduced, which is a vital component of muscle growth. In fact, smokers have an increased level of myostatin, which has the opposite effect. Myostatin is responsible for limiting muscle growth, reducing their strength, and inhibiting their toning. What’s more, feelings of stress can elevate your heart rate even more, which will already be off the charts as a smoker. All in all, smoking puts you at serious risk.
Reduced Testosterone Level
If you’re working out to build muscle, smoking can be a real hindrance. This is because smoking reduces your testosterone level, which is linked to muscle building. Your muscles contain androgen receptors, which are otherwise known as the testosterone receptors. Upon the receptors combining with testosterone, muscle fibers are maintained. In the absence of testosterone, the maintenance stops, which results in the muscle being degraded. Not only can testosterone itself be destroyed by cigarettes, but the same thing can be done to testosterone-producing cells. As a result, muscles are weakened.