Vaping and Exercise: How to Start Cardio after Quitting Smoking
Does vaping affect cardio, fitness and muscle growth? We’ve got the skinny.
Are you on a journey to better health and improved fitness, which you hope to achieve by quitting smoking once and for all? If so, congratulations, because no one needs reminding that taking care of our health is the most important thing we can do, for ourselves and our loved ones. Bad lifestyle choices like smoking only rob us of our health, and our fitness, when you could be enjoying a whole new and improved quality of life, without cigarettes. This is why the NHS advises smokers to get a vaping starter kit to help them stub out for good.
Quitting is one thing — but starting an exercise programme at the same time is a whole other ball game. Perhaps you're a long-time smoker who has just quit with vapes and would like to radically transform your body and lifestyle by embarking on a fitness regimen — but you haven't worked out in years and are totally out of shape. Don't worry — no matter what your condition, or age, it's never too late to start exercising and get fit and healthy.
In this post, we're going to give you some pointers to help you along the way and get you on the road to a healthy, happy and fit lifestyle. But before we get to that, let's look at the effects smoking has on the body, and how this dramatically hinders fitness levels and the desire — and ability — to work out.
Smoking and Its Effects on the Body
If you want a stark idea of just how harmful smoking cigarettes is to the human body, you only need to know one, tragic fact. Before you get through a pack of 20 cigarettes, somewhere in your body, a mutation will be occurring, because of the toxic chemicals you're inhaling. This is how cancers start to form. The damage is undeniable and is so widespread it's no surprise that smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable death in the UK today, claiming around 80,000 lives a year.
There's practically no part of the body left untouched by smoking. In the lungs, a telltale smoker's cough develops as the lungs try to expel the chemicals that become lodged in them. Cigarette smoke also damages the heart, drastically raising the risk of heart disease and stroke. It damages the mouth and throat and fertility by increasing the possibility of developing testicular cancer, as well as commonly causing male impotence. Even the bones are at risk, as they can become weak and brittle because of the toxins in cigarette smoke.
All of this naturally leads the body to be far less efficient and can make exercise difficult, if not impossible. Long-term smokers will be all too familiar with the physical struggles they cope with, due to smoking. They're soon out of breath even after walking a short distance or climbing a flight of stairs.
Trying to exercise is further compounded by the effects smoking has on the circulation. The tar in cigarettes makes the blood thicker, making it move more sluggishly, meaning your organs are not getting the level of supply they need to function optimally. In addition, the heart is put under strain because it has to work harder to keep the body going, and smokers' arteries are narrower and so they get less oxygen than they need.
What Happens When You Stop Smoking?
As if by magic, the severely harmful effects of smoking stop and start to reverse when you stub out your last cigarette. Now — free from the thousands of chemicals that should not be in your body and that were causing distress to almost all parts of it — a body-wide recovery starts to take place.
Less than half an hour after having your last cigarette, your blood pressure — which more than likely will have been higher than should be — starts to fall and returns to normal, as your heart rate drops and also falls into a more regular rhythm. In under half a day, the amount of deadly carbon monoxide — the stuff that comes out of vehicle exhausts — decreases to nothing as the body cleans it out of its systems. Already you’re starting to feel better (unless you’re going cold turkey and suffering the uncomfortable withdrawal effects.)
Then a day after quitting cigarettes, your cholesterol levels improve, and the amount of oxygen in your blood rises, making it easier to move about — and start working out. In the days that follow, you'll notice such physical delights as your sense of taste and smell returning, as nerves damaged by smoking begin to heal. Your overall lung function will also start to improve: you will be able to breathe much easier and you'll feel energised and want to do lots of things you might not have been inclined to do before.
Starting Cardio after Quitting Smoking
The most important thing to consider when you're trying to figure out how to start cardio after quitting smoking is you have to start slow — extremely slow: snail's pace. It's a good idea to have a chat with your doctor first so that they can give you a check-up and the all-clear to start exercising (or not). Going from not having worked out for a long time, or at all, to embarking on a fitness regimen can put strains on the body that could cause injury if you're not in the condition to exercise. So your doctor will be best placed to advise you.
You might, for instance, want to start running. But there are other types of cardio — including cycling, swimming and using elliptical machines — that offer the chance to do lower-impact exercising before moving onto something more challenging.
It's also important to know you most likely won't be able to do much at the outset, so don't be disappointed, or put off if you're unable to run very far or swim or cycle all that much. Initially, do five or 10 minutes at a time, and then add a few minutes each subsequent day. You'll be surprised by how far you can go after a short time, as your body becomes used to the activity and your fitness level starts to increase.
Does Vaping Affect Cardio?
So does vaping affect cardio at all? Certainly not in the way that smoking does, which, as we've seen, all but annihilates the ability to do any cardio. Vaping actually might boost your cardio and weight-training performance, according to reports, helping you to run longer and lift harder. That doesn't mean you should vape just before a workout, or even during one, but a few hours before you hit the gym, so your breathing is not impacted by the vapour.
So there might be something positive about vaping and muscle growth and how vaping affects running and other forms of cardio. If you're still wondering if vaping affects fitness, one further advantage it has over smoking is you can get e-liquid with no nicotine in it — or lower levels than you may have been used to with cigarettes.
So now you can forget about cigarettes and power up your workout without having to worry about your vapes.