Mar 18, 2011
This week I had a call from a lady who had given up smoking 6 days ago. Like most smokers this was not her first attempt but this time she was determined to put in place a couple of new habits to help her. Wisely she decided to hire a treadmill and begin an exercise programme.
Like many other smokers she had heard or seen first-hand the weight gain that some people experience after giving up smoking. For some people the weight gain can be so dramatic and have as much a negative effect on their life that they justify taking up the habit again.
Why do so many people put on weight ?– you’ll hear various reasons such as boredom or replacing cigarettes with food. Physiologically nicotine can increase your metabolic rate. Increase your metabolic rate and you burn calories (just like with exercise). So it’s very simple to replicate that metabolic effect when you give up smoking – by exercising! Exercise of course has huge benefits to your health – smoking only has negative effects. One of the best things about exercising is the endorphin release after an exercise session – like a natural high – if you are exercising correctly (intensity, distance, etc) you will know what the endorphin high is like – if a smoker (ore recently retired smoker) can focus on achieving that high it will make giving up smoking so much more rewarding.
They say it takes approximately 3 weeks for all the chemicals (addictive and non-addictive) to leave your body so achieving that first smoke-free month is very important on a physical level. The emotional level make take a whole lot longer which is why exercise can be such a benefit - not only will it take away the worry of weight gain but exercise is a great stress-reliever. My suggestion is to start your exercise programme before Quit Day so that come that day you are not over-loading yourself with too many new daily habits.