Smoking and jogging: how does the?

According to the Federal Center for Health Education, cigarette smoking causes more deaths in Germany each year than AIDS, alcohol, illegal drugs, traffic accidents, homicides and suicides combined. Around 140.000 people die in this country every year from the effects of tobacco consumption – about 380 per day. And among them are also those who run regularly.

What effects does smoking have on performance?

"In general, it must be assumed that smoking negatively affects athletic performance. This has been more or less clearly demonstrated in a number of studies," says Andreas Nieb, Head of Sports Medicine at the University of Tubingen.

"Among the influences that have a performance-reducing effect when nicotine is consumed via the cigarette is a increased carbon monoxide content in the blood. Carbon monoxide, which smokers ingest through the combustion gases of cigarettes, is bound about 300 times more readily by the red blood pigment (hemoglobin) of red blood cells than is oxygen. This leads to the fact that part of the hemoglobin is not available for oxygen transport in the body. Due to its strong binding property to hemoglobin, carbon monoxide impedes oxygen transport for up to a day after the last cigarette. Therefore endurance performance in particular is negatively affected by smoking", so the expert.

Smoking increases blood pressure and heart rate

Due to the reduced oxygen content in the blood, the body tries to secure the supply by a faster heartbeat. Even a single cigarette Can increase heart rate by 10 to 20 beats. At the same time, nicotine leads to Constriction of the blood vessels. Poorer blood circulation is the result. The heart has to pump more frequently and more strongly against the resistance of the narrowed vessels. Blood pressure rises.

Smoking reduces endurance performance by 15 percent

According to the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), smoking lowers endurance performance, such as running, by about 15 percent. These observations apply equally to recreational and competitive athletes. Passive smoking also significantly reduces blood flow to the coronary arteries and leads to a comparable deterioration in athletic performance. Just 30 minutes is enough to weaken the heart.

Further performance-reducing factors would be among other things in one by smoking worsened lung function and the unfavorable effect of nicotine on the vascular regulation to see, Nieb explains further. Not to mention the carcinogenic, i.e. cancer-causing, substances in tobacco and the tar deposits in the lungs, which can cause the risk of lung cancer in smokers by a factor of thirty.

Can regular running training reduce the negative effects?

Whether smoking-related risk can be reduced in smokers by regular endurance training cannot be answered unequivocally and universally. Various factors have an influence on it: How many cigarettes are smoked a day, at what age did one start, what is one’s general physical condition and what are one’s genetic preconditions.

However, certain positive effects can be expected from exercise. In particular, if there are other risk factors such as elevated blood lipids or blood pressure levels, these can be lowered by endurance training, thus reducing the overall risk. "The exact positive effects of running on the body exposed to smoke are scientifically little researched", says Nieb.

It is conceivable that endurance exercise accelerates the release of carbon monoxide, counteracts nicotine-induced disruption of vascular regulation, and may also promote more rapid detoxification of the substances ingested in smoke. Thus, a smoker could also benefit from an endurance training in terms of health. However, it is better to do the latter without nicotine consumption, because the negative effects caused by smoking are counteracted only to a small extent even by extensive endurance training.

I want to quit smoking through running: What’s the best way to do it?

The resolution to stop smoking is present in almost all current smokers. But training is no guarantee that you will get rid of the vice. But at least it increases the chance: An Australian study showed that 80 percent of the test persons who started to exercise regularly while quitting smoking were still non-smokers after three months. In contrast, in the group of those who did not use an active program, one in two relapsed. (However, all participants in the study received nicotine replacement products.)

Here are a few Tips from the American Cancer Society, which can make it easier to start quitting and stick it out:

  • The right moment: The best moment to quit smoking is the one you choose for yourself. If you feel a deep desire to finally quit smoking, the time is right.
  • Smoke-free environment: Inform your family, friends and acquaintances about your plan and remove everything that has to do with smoking: Cigarettes, ashtrays, matches, etc.
  • Professional guidance: Is an accompanying therapy an option for you?? In special course programs, you learn under professional guidance to deal intensively with the background of smoking and your personal motives for quitting.
  • Nicotine replacement: You can get nicotine replacement products at your pharmacy to help alleviate physical withdrawal symptoms that occur after you stop smoking. Nicotine replacement is available in varying dosages, tailored to individual needs.
  • Becoming aware of the addiction: Make a note of your "problem times," the moments when you’ve enjoyed reaching for a cigarette. This will help you to deal more consciously with the craving for cigarettes.
  • See the benefits: After a year without cigarettes, your risk of heart attack is reduced by half. After 10 nicotine-free years, the risk of lung cancer is also reduced by half. After 15 years without smoking, you will again have a similar average life expectancy as someone who has never smoked.

Will I automatically gain weight if I stop smoking??

Expert Andreas Nieb explains: "In fact, the average smoker weighs four kilograms less than a non-smoker." It is also a fact that people who start smoking lose weight, while smokers who renounce the vice gain significant weight on average: Women about four kilograms, men three kilograms.

One possible reason for this: the neurotoxin nicotine has the effect, among other things, of suppressing hunger. But much more important for the calculation is that runners weigh on average more than just four kilograms less than inactive people, and it has been proven that among regular runners there is no one who suffers from massive weight gain. So stop smoking and intensify your running training, then gaining weight is not an issue at all.

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Woman running

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Sport is nothing new for you. You play soccer or ride a bike regularly, but you don’t have any running experience yet. With this training plan you will be able to run 5 kilometers at a stretch in just eight weeks – without taking breaks and getting out of breath. For this you train three units a week with an alternation of running and walking. With each week, the amount of running will increase, while the walking breaks will become shorter. On the weekend of the eighth week, you will be fit enough to jog 5 kilometers without pausing to walk – either just for yourself or perhaps even for your first 5-kilometer run as part of a running event.

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Sports are nothing new for you – you play soccer, ride your bike regularly or run a little lap every now and then. But now you want to take on a new challenge: running 10 kilometers at a stretch. With our training plan you will reach your goal within 12 weeks. In the beginning there are still short walking breaks planned. From training week four on, you will manage all endurance runs without walking in between. the longest run per week increases in feasible steps from 20 minutes to 60 minutes. With this plan you will become so fit as a career changer that you will be able to participate in your first 10 kilometer run in only 12 weeks.

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  • 12 weeks, 3 running sessions each
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Sports are nothing new for you – you play soccer, ride your bike regularly or run a short loop now and then. But now you want to take on a new challenge: to run 10 kilometers at a stretch. With our training plan you will reach your goal within 12 weeks. In the beginning, short walking breaks are still planned. From training week four you will manage all endurance runs without walking in between. The longest run per week increases in feasible steps from 20 minutes to 60 minutes. With this plan, you’ll get so fit as a career changer that you’ll be able to participate in your first 10-kilometer run in just 12 weeks.

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Other exercise plans New

  • 12 weeks, 3 runs each
  • according to the most modern training methods

Running for half an hour at a time is the first milestone in any runner’s life. Don’t start running right away. It is better to approach gently from walking to running. With our plan, even beginners with no athletic background can run for 30 minutes at a time after three months. Completely without overexertion!

  • 12 weeks with 3 running sessions each
  • according to the most modern training methods
  • For beginners without a sports background
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Smoking and jogging: how does the?

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Testimonials from former smokers

Runner’s World contributor Nina Rest: "I was 20, a militant non-smoker and worried about my father who smoked. To force him to quit, I blackmailed him: Either you quit or I’ll smoke with. He laughed. I smoked… Ten years later I was still doing it. Countless training kilometers and two marathons I completed as a smoker. But at my 30. Stop smoking on your birthday. My plan: run more instead of smoking. Every time I got addicted, I laced up my running shoes. Apparently it grabbed me too often. Three months after the last cigarette also the last running round followed. Diagnosis: fatigue fracture! Again three months later I started again – with running. My conclusion: I ran away from smoking, but had to pay a high price for it."

Peter Wimmer: "Especially for newcomers to running, who have been addicted to nicotine and unathletic for years or decades, running can initiate quite amazing body processes. When I quit smoking, I regularly measured my morning resting heart rate. It was a great motivation for me when I saw my heart rate drop from 78 beats per minute to 59 in just four months. By running, my heart had to beat almost 25 percent less – with the same performance. Counting became the mantra of this stage of life for me. Now I have a marathon best time of 3:30 hours."

To document your training is best to pulse or fitness watches. Not only will you keep track of your progress, but you’ll stay motivated to keep going.

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