The Best Exercises for Ex-Smokers

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

So you just quit smoking and is new to the idea of “healthy living.” It can be overwhelming to switch from one lifestyle to another. But there is no rush. The fact that you are willing to exercise after quitting a two-decade-old habit is a great step towards achieving a healthy lifestyle. To ease yourself into a healthy body, consider these workout tips made specifically for ex-smokers:

Cardio Workout

Smoking affects the lungs. By the time you quit smoking, the lungs are in very bad shape. They are probably clogged with tar and this affects your lung capacity. So start slowly. A great way to start is a 10-minute walk. Breathe in deeply and out with every step.

Once your body get used to walking, then you can move on to a more challenging workout like brisk walking. Brisk walking tones the legs and keeps the lungs strong. Do at least 30 minutes of brisk walking then move on to light jogging. Again, no rush. There’s absolutely no need to go any faster than you feel the need to go.


Always stretch the muscles before and after working out. This way, you won’t be too sore to continue with your workout the next day.  You don’t need complicated positions either, the basics will do.

Start by standing straight and slowly touching the toes. Maintain the position for several seconds every rep. You can also stand against the walls and stretch those hamstrings. Jogging in place or brisk walking work as stretching too. Finally, sit down then cross the legs. This position will stretch the inner thigh muscles. Now, bend the legs and try to touch your foot.

Weight Lifting

At this point, you probably built a stronger body already. Intensive workouts like weight lifting are usually done only when the body is at its 100%.

One thing to keep in mind when lifting weight: use less weight if you want definition and heavier weights to increase muscle mass. The weights you use depends on your fitness goal. You can use free weights if you want to boost resistance. To train the chest, try bench presses or use resistance machines.

Curling engages the biceps. Use heavier weights to achieve bulging arm muscles or resistance machines to minimize body fat. Do lots of body weight exercises like squatting and lunges to tone the legs and glutes. To up the ante, gradually introduce weights.

Resistance Training

This works if you have a souped-up home gym or you have a gym membership. Most fitness machines are meant to isolate a certain muscle group. As such, familiarize yourself with all the major muscle groups first. If you are working out in the gym, don’t be embarrassed to ask questions to the staff. Learn how the machine works and what it targets. Finally, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Adjust the resistance according to your fitness level.

Drink Plenty of Water

Water does more than replenish lost fluids. It also flushes harmful toxins from the body. If you’ve been smoking for years, we recommend drinking more than 8 glasses of water. Avoid energy or sports drinks as much as you can. Nothing beats plain water.

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