Health

Why exercising now can help you quit smoking later

I love being right. I try to research most of the advice I give to see if there is a precedent. I don’t just pull this stuff out of my you-know-where. Well, most of the time I don’t.

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I love being right. I try to research most of the advice I give to see if there is a precedent. I don’t just pull this stuff out of my you-know-where. Well, most of the time I don’t.

Sometimes, however, I go with my gut, and then my gut gets proven right. Awesome.

What I’m talking about is how a recent study in Nicotine and Tobacco Research shows that weightlifting can help people kick the smoking habit. Again, awesome.

Now let me tell you about my gut. It’s got some beer in it right now, because I’m still on vacation. My gut told me a while ago that, when working with clients who are smokers and looking for a lifestyle overhaul that includes taking up exercise, changing their diets, and quitting bad habits like smoking, I tell them to hold off on quitting smoking – for now.

The reason why is that I think lifestyle changes need to be phased in gradually, because people hate change. If you’re a chain-smoking, doughnut-scarfing couch potato, then changing all those habits overnight – and sticking to it – requires a threat from a higher power wielding a lightning bolt.

Barring divine intervention, baby steps are the key; and being that smoking is a brutally hard habit to quit, I say leave it. For now.

If you think you need to quit smoking first to start exercising, then what happens if you never actually manage to quit smoking? The exercising never starts either.

For that reason, if you’re a smoker and have tried and failed to quit, then try exercising but not quitting the cigs. I don’t think it needs to be weightlifting either. I think it could be anything. Just start getting gradually more active, and then slowly your attitude about those cigarettes can change and you build up your health-specific willpower and be ready to finally kick that yucky habit in the ass with your leaner, stronger, and more muscular legs.

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