Smoking is as addictive as it gets, owing to its ill effects towards health many a smoker has tried quitting. Some were successful while others not so much because they wanted that just that one drag while their colleagues smoked or that one cigarette on a Friday night or maybe they just could not get the high score on Candy Crush! Reasons to smoke are many and to quit even more, yet we haven’t figured the right mechanism to quit smoking.

How does one quit? Now the most popular method is an alternative drug, simply put a nicotine patch or pop in a pill and wait for the urge to go away, but they have their own side effects and it isn’t as healthy as it seems. The second most common practice is, counseling; but this solution has its own drawbacks one of the major drawback being the lack of awareness.

So, among a pool of not so safe and sure shot ways to quitting there still is a silver lining: Working out. Yes, you read it right. We all know smoking harms our health but at the same time working out help you quit smoking.  How you may ask?

  • According to a study done by Norman H. Edelman, MD, SENIOR ADVISOR OF THE American Lung Association Exercise helps in dealing with cigarette cravings.
  • Studies have also shown that the withdrawal symptoms or cravings decrease during exercise.
  •  Let’s face it, working out has the potential to become a way of life so it simply distracts you from smoking.
  • According to studies, a workout has an instant effect on your mood and helps you ease out and manages your stress level which in turn stops the urge of smoking, it does so by secretion of mood enhancing hormones every time we workout.
  • One tends to put on weight immediately after quitting, this keeps them from quitting. Working out solves this problem by keeping a check on your weight.

Now that we have a side effect-free-not-so-expensive way of quitting, how do we get started? First of all, pick your work out. Here is a list of activities that have been proven to be a catalyst towards lowering the urge to smoke

  • Walking: This is by far the hero of all work outs, who would have thought a simple not so intense activity like walking could reap benefits? Walking is said to decrease anxiety levels.  Take a walk at lunchtime or after dinner, perhaps finding a coworker, friend, or family member to join you. Be sure to choose companions who don't smoke! Gradually lengthen your walks and step up the pace.
  • Yoga: Yoga, as they say is all about awareness. Hence one needs to be aware of the ill effects of smoking and the reason why he/she is smoking. Once they have established that there are plenty of Asanas that help the respiratory system and the nervous system, indirectly help quit. To name some:  Kapal Bhati Pranayam, Nadi Shodan Pranayam, Bhujangasana, Shavasana, Shishusana etc. Start the Asanas early morning, breath in some fresh air and you would never want to take another drag again.
  • Swimming:  This one comes with a big smile on each one of you water babies. Swimming is an activity that affects lungs more than any other physical activity. It helps improve lung, cardiovascular and mental health.  Swimming is also known to elevate mood via secretion of endorphins which are neurotransmitters that increase sensation of well-being.
  • Dancing:  Dancing happens to be one of the “fun” ways of working out. People enjoy dancing as it lets you sway with the music and simply be ‘you’. When you dance helps your lungs and cardiovascular muscles at the same time it helps elevate your mood-have you ever seen anybody sad while they are dancing? You have the answer.
  • Others:  There are plenty of ways to work out: Pilates, CrossFit, Gym, Running, and Marital Arts. Other not so conventional way would be: walking your pet, taking up a sport, gardening, housework, water sports and hiking. The world is your oyster.

Now that you have picked up your muse, let us make a game plan. You can do the following:

  • Set a regular time to indulge in the activity of your choice. You can start with 15 minutes to 30 minutes every day.
  • Increase the time gradually; add an intensive activity once a week.
  • Every time you feel the urge to smoke, go for a walk with someone who doesn’t smoke.
  • Lastly, sign-up for a class or a group in case you cannot stick to a schedule. Or set a goal so that you feel motivated to achieve it.

So what are you waiting for? This No Tobacco day throw away that cigarette pack which is lurking in your pockets and choose a healthier lifestyle. 

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