The Impact of Tobacco on Your Athletic Performance
If you want to achieve peak performance, smoking is one of the habits that you’ll have to say goodbye to. WKRN reported that about 11% of American adults, or about one in nine people, use cigarettes in 2022. Though this is a huge drop from the 2020-2021 figures, experts warn that smoking remains a major cause of preventable diseases, disability, and even mortality.
Cigarettes can increase your exposure to dangerous chemicals, which can affect the functions of nearly every organ in your body. Due to the toxins present in cigarettes and other tobacco products, it will be harder for you to achieve your optimal performance in workouts.
Tobacco Alters Your Workout Performance
People who smoke are more likely to have lower athletic performance compared to those who don’t. This altered athletic performance is due to the effect of cigarette smoke on one’s blood, heart, and more.
For example, the Cardiac and LUng E-cig Smoking (CLUES) study discovered that people experience rapid increases in their heart rate and blood pressure immediately after smoking. Unfortunately, it’s dangerous for people with high heart rates and blood pressure to lift weights, do high-intensity exercises, or work out for longer. You’ll have to limit the types of exercises that you can do to lower your risk of getting a heart attack, stroke, or chest pain during workouts.
Another analysis in the CLUES study also revealed that people who smoke perform significantly worse on all four exercise parameters compared to people who don’t smoke. The researchers found that people who smoke regularly had less ability to exercise because they have lower peak METS, which is why they can only use low amounts of energy within a time period. On top of that, smokers have poorer fitness levels than non-smokers due to their lower heart rate reserves.
Aside from affecting one’s heart and blood, cigarettes can also affect your hormone levels. Our article entitled ‘Bro Let’s Talk Hormonal Health’ highlights how cigarettes are one of the culprits behind testosterone deficiencies. These deficiencies can cause your body to increase its supply of estrogen, which is associated with muscle loss and increased body fat. Most importantly, lower testosterone levels can reduce the strength of your muscles and decrease your bone density over time.
How to Quit Smoking for Optimal Athletic Performance
Quitting smoking can improve the function of your body over time, which is why you need to break the bad habit to optimize your performance. Unfortunately, people who quit smoking struggle with difficult withdrawal symptoms, such as a strong craving to use cigarettes again. As such, it’s common for people to give in to their cravings whenever they attempt to quit cold turkey.
If quitting cold turkey isn’t working for you, try doing nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) instead. In this treatment, you’ll use products with low doses of nicotine to manage your cravings and other withdrawal symptoms as you slowly adjust to a tobacco-free lifestyle.
You can do this therapy using tobacco-free nicotine pouches, which offer users a chance to create a bespoke cessation plan. Smokers who are used to smoking menthol cigarettes can switch to ZYN wintergreen nicotine pouches, which provide the same minty and sweet flavor as a menthol cigarette with only 6mg of nicotine. Though the products have a similar flavor profile to menthol cigarettes, these nicotine pouches are totally free from any tobacco and the toxic chemicals found in cigarettes. Another product that you can use for NRT is Perrigo’s nicotine-coated mint lozenges, which are available in 2mg and 4mg strengths. This flavored nicotine lozenge is approved by the FDA, making it effective and safe for people who want to stop smoking. Switching to these NRT products will make it easier for you to resist cravings for tobacco products and quit the habit over time.
Your body will thank you once you stop using tobacco products. Though it may not be easy, you’ll enjoy having a stronger and healthier body after quitting for good.