The benefits of physical activity are wondrous. Exercise can lead to feeling happier, less stressed and more confident. It helps to manage hypertension, improve cholesterol, prevent osteoporosis, diabetes, heart attack, and certain cancers. Exercise can help you achieve your goals if you want to lose weight, improve your sex life, sleep better, have more energy, or just breathe better.
The benefits of exercise are even more so for people trying to stop smoking. Exercise can be considered good medicine for the health problems frequently faced by people who are stopping smoking. Many of the health risk factors described above are caused or worsened by cigarette smoking and improved through exercise. In addition, exercise reduces withdrawal symptoms and decreases cravings for cigarettes. Exercise helps reduce the damage caused by smoking and makes it easier to quit smoking.
Talk to your health care provider before starting any exercise program, but don’t delay. Get up and move, stretch, walk, lift, and take the stairs when you can. Do what you enjoy doing. If you enjoy swimming, swim, if you enjoy walking, walk, if you enjoy dancing, dance. As you stop smoking your ability to be active will improve and the enjoyment you get from physical activity will grow. By stopping smoking and starting to exercise you can win on all counts. If you haven’t set your quit date do so by going to http://www.becomeanex.org/my-profile.php.
Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated over 33,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org