Making any lifestyle change can be tough, especially when it comes to something like quitting smoking. To achieve quit success often requires a willingness to try out different strategies, and ultimately to find a healthier replacement for your smoking behaviour. It takes a lot of courage, but also requires motivation, time and patience.
One of the most powerful strategies to help overcome smoking is getting active. The beauty of exercise is that it helps you deal with both the physical and psychological aspects of nicotine addiction. Not only does it act as a great distraction from smoking, it helps curb cravings and enhances your overall quality of life.
What are some other benefits of being physically active while quitting smoking?
- Reduces your nicotine withdrawal symptoms
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Decreases stress levels
- Helps manage weight gain
- Improves concentration
- Reduces anxiety and depression
- Improves sleep
- Increases energy levels
- Improves mood
- Improves responsiveness
What are examples of activities that you can do?
- Aerobic exercises such as walking or running is easily accessible and you can do this indoors and outdoors. Go outside on a sunny day and get some fresh air. It’s simple and easy to do. If you need some extra support, join the Walk or Run To Quit program.
- Consider Strength training and lift some weights to boost your energy level when your energy is low.
- Practice Yoga or Pilates in the comfort of your own home or a local park and focus on breathing patterns to help you relax and calm your mind.
- Leisure activities such as gardening and yard work can help redirect your focus. Spend some quality time with your family as you tackle this home project together.
What support is available to help you throughout your journey?
- QuitNow.ca provides free one-on-one quit coaching, quit planning tools, supportive text messaging tips and an active Facebook and Forum community. Swap tips and celebrate success with present and past tobacco users who’ve been through it all.
- Physical Activity Services – HealthLink BC’s qualified exercise professionals (QEP) provide telephone, email and web-based physical activity information and guidance to help you become more physically active and lead a healthier lifestyle. Dial 8-1-1 and ask to speak with Physical Activity Services. Qualified exercise professionals are available Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm Pacific Standard Time.
Let’s get active and start sweating! Use physical activity to help you quit smoking.
Author’s Bio: Jillian Mak is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist with a certification from the American College of Sports Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology from Simon Fraser University. In the spring and summer seasons, you will catch Jillian at the golf course swinging the club or kayaking along the lakes of the Burrard inlet.
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