We have all heard people justify having a donut or cupcake by saying: “I will run 15 minutes extra to burn off the calories.” And to an extent, they may be correct. But can the same be said about using tobacco? Can you out run the damage a cigarette or pinch of snuff will cause on your body?
The benefits of exercise are well known. Regular exercise assists in controlling your weight. It reduces the risk of heart problems such as elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure. It reduces the risk of diabetes and provides boosts of energy. But using tobacco actually counteracts all the positive effects of exercise. And the damage it causes is irreversible … unlike that extra cupcake.
When a person smokes, they are inhaling over 7,000 toxins, 60 of which are known to cause cancer. Smokeless is not any safer. It contains 2,000 harmful chemicals. These toxins are what cause a multitude of health issues. For example, it only takes smoking 100 cigarettes in a life time to cause Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). No exercise regimen will undo this damage.
People with diabetes are encouraged to modify their eating habits and increase their physical activity. However, the toxins in tobacco may make it more difficult to control their sugar.
People exercise to improve their endurance and build strength. Using tobacco counteracts all the positive effects. While smoking, carbon monoxide is absorbed by the blood and is circulated to all the organs and muscles in the body. The carbon monoxide deprives the body of the much needed oxygen it needs to heal and function. The blood vessels that carry the much needed nutrients to the body are hardened by tobacco.
With these thoughts in mind, should you just quit exercising if tobacco nullifies the positive effects? No. Why not improve your OVERALL health? By exercising AND quitting tobacco, you are able to care for your entire self. Exercise is actually one of the recommended strategies to help you quit using tobacco products.
Quitting tobacco and starting an exercise regimen have something in common – “the better informed you are, the better the results will be.” When starting an exercise plan, it is recommended to speak to your primary care provider and an exercise specialist to help you achieve your goals. A plan is designed and if you follow it carefully, the results will come.
The same can be said about quitting tobacco. Speak to your provider about your desire to quit. Locally, Medical Center Health System and the Ector County Healthcare Coalition have two certified tobacco treatment specialists who are ready to help you. The counselors will design a quit plan and use nicotine replacement to assist you. Attendance to the support group, which is held every Tuesday night at Mission Fitness at 6 p.m., can double your chances to successfully quit.
To get started with FREE Tobacco Cessation Classes, call 432-640-2026.
Renato Galindo, BSRC, RRT,CPFT, AE-C, CTTS
Pulmonary Patient Educator