Physical exercise can promote a significant improvement in the cardiorespiratory system of people who have this desire to quit smoking, providing benefits on physical and mental health.
This is stated by Dr. Alejandro Cortéz, pulmonologist at the Santa Paula Medical Group (GMSP), when asked about the effects of continuous physical activity on smokers, regarding May 31, International No Smoking Day.
“Cigarettes have a toxic effect on the entire body, especially the respiratory system, since all its products cause inflammation, mainly in the bronchi, which leads to a significant reduction in air flow and therefore gradually reduces the supply of oxygen, essential in the respiration of all the cells of our body, leading to alterations in their proper functioning ”.
It also warns that tobacco use can condition endothelial dysfunction in the arteries and cause cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.
Cortéz assures that there are multiple benefits of substituting smoking for a fitness activity. “Although it is true that the smoking cessation process takes stages and that some have difficulties to quit, requiring psychological support and even pharmacological therapy, exercise is an excellent alternative because when you practice it, various substances are generated such as endorphins that somehow in a way, they condition pleasant responses that are expressed in a feeling of well-being, reducing stress, which is one of the triggers for cigarette consumption in many people ”.
He assures that the mere fact of quitting smoking benefits the person in their cardiorespiratory performance, since both the heart and the lung receive a better supply of oxygen when it comes to physical exercise and sports.
Exercise vs cigarette
Once smoking is stopped, the damage caused by tobacco is quickly and favorably reversed, according to the pulmonologist.
“Once the inhalation of carbon monoxide, one of the products generated by cigarette combustion, is reduced, there is less carboxyhemoglobin in the blood and an increase in oxyhemoglobin that is required for adequate cellular respiration, that translates into an improvement in cardiac and respiratory function. ”
For Dr. Cortéz, there is no doubt that a person while a smoker will have a much lower respiratory performance during exercise than a patient who does not smoke, because cigarette consumption is closely related to poor oxygen exchange, which negatively impacts performance in any type of physical activity.
For his part, Mauro González, personal trainer of the wellness chain Gold’s Gym, who has trained men and women, smokers for many years, highlights that once they start the exercises, their aerobic capacities improve.
“Many people who want to quit smoking take exercise as an alternative to improve their health. When they start they have very little resistance, they do not have tachycardia but if they lack oxygenation, they tire quickly. Age doesn’t tell you quickly but it certainly takes its toll. “
He warns that fatigue and tiredness are recurrent signs in those who start to quit smoking and opt for exercise as a therapeutic mechanism, and he has been able to verify that little by little, they are reducing the amount of nicotine they ingest and begin to see the changes in their capacity for resistance and well-being when carrying out the exercises.
“The invitation to all smokers is to exercise so that they begin to see the changes and improvements that they will have in their body and in their quality of life. Here at Gold’s Gym we can accompany them on that path ”.
The World Health Organization (WHO,) in its 2018 report, speaks of a total tobacco consumption of 1,337 million people, a figure lower than that projected in 2000, of 1,397 million people. For 2000 a reduction of 10 million was projected and for 2025 of 27 million fewer men and women who stopped using tobacco. For specialists like Dr. Cortéz, one of the reasons for this reduction is prevention campaigns at all levels. In addition, the ease of access to information adapted to the population, has allowed more and more to be understood about the consequences of smoking on individual and collective health