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Why a Healthy Diet and Exercise Will Help You to Quit Smoking
Have you been thinking about quitting smoking? If so, congratulations on your decision to quit! There are few changes you can make in your life that will help you improve your health, live longer, save money and enjoy life more than giving up cigarettes. You probably know it’s not going to be easy. Perhaps you’ve already tried to quit several times over the years. You’re not alone. Millions of people do successfully quit smoking, but most of them had to make several attempts. Each time you try to quit, you learn from the experience, and if you take look at it from a healthy perspective, you also get a little closer to victory with each attempt.
With the New Year already underway, your motivation is probably higher than it’s been in months, so now is a great time to try again. Perhaps this time you’ll succeed once and for all. Wouldn’t that be great?
There may be all kinds of alternate methods to help you stop smoking. Some people look to hypnotists for help, others try patches and pills, or vape mods. Another will use meditation and breathing exercises. If those methods help you — great! However, most scientists and medical experts are recommending diet and exercise as healthy ways to help you quit. If you’re looking for methods that are not only clinically proven to help you quit, but are also able to help you improve how you look, feel, and function, then take a look at how exercise and diet can help you improve your lifestyle in a multitude of ways.
How Physical Activity Can Help You Quit Smoking
According to a recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, only 3-5% of smokers who attempt to quit without outside assistance are successful. With external support structures in place, that number moves up to around 30%, and one of the factors that will help increase the chances of successfully quitting smoking is physical activity.
Exercise offers several benefits to help you stop smoking and to limit the weight gain that often results when you quit. Here are some of them:
- Decreased appetite
- Decreased weight gain
- Improved mood
- Decreased urge to smoke
- Reduced stress and withdrawal symptoms
Increasing your level of physical activity helps you burn calories during and after your workout. Exercising at higher intensities for extended periods of time also releases endorphins that calm your nerves, reduce distracting thoughts, and improve your mental state. Most experts recommend getting 30-60 minutes of vigorous exercise per day for general health, so if you’re also fighting the urge to smoke, then developing an exercise habit becomes even more important.
The timing of your workouts may also help you quit. If you find yourself taking a smoke break at specific times of the day, you’ll need to substitute that activity with something else. Don’t just sit there and try to not think about smoking! That’s a sure way to fail. Instead, get up and move around during those times. Take a brisk walk outside the office, walk up and down several flights of stairs or hit the gym. It’s difficult to smoke a cigarette when you’re running around the block or doing pushups!
How Your Diet Can Help You Stop Smoking Cigarettes
Making changes to your diet can also help improve your chances of successfully giving up cigarettes for good. The nicotine in cigarettes suppresses your appetite. This is why you probably had many mornings where you skipped breakfast completely and just had a cigarette or two instead without feeling any hunger pangs until later in the day. Now that you’ve decided to quit smoking, those days are over.
You’re going to be hungry in the morning, so make sure you plan things out ahead of time and have some healthy foods available for breakfast that will satisfy your hunger without spiking your blood sugar levels that cause you to binge on junk food. Fibrous foods that slowly digest are ideal. These include whole wheat bread, oatmeal, celery and carrot sticks, beans and nuts. Protein sources like turkey, fish, beans and nuts are also great for stimulating the release of serotonin in your bloodstream. This helps to boost your mood and improve concentration.
You’ll also want to load up on citrus fruits to boost your immune system, as cigarettes have been found to reduce vitamin C levels in the body. Even chewing gum can help you to keep your mouth busy when it craves the physical sensation of puffing on a cigarette.
Now that you’ve chosen to quit smoking, you’ve got a long road ahead of you. Luckily, the rewards are well worth the effort. Accept the fact that changing your lifestyle is key to your success, and start working daily exercise and healthy eating into your routine to help you kick the habit faster.