Exercise is an excellent healthy habit to help you stick to your tobacco and nicotine-free goals.

man in blue t-shirt stretching outside

Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise a day is an effective way to keep cravings and withdrawal symptoms at bay. Aerobic exercise is any physical activity that gets your heart rate up, gets you sweating, and causes you to breathe harder. Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, jogging, sports, swimming, or even climbing a few flights of stairs. 

Transitioning into a new routine like exercising regularly may feel like a big change, especially if you are trying to quit smoking or vaping at the same time. Use these tips to help you incorporate regular movement into your life.  

Before beginning any physical activity or program, please consult with a health care professional.

Tips for getting started

  • Find an activity that you enjoy. For example, if running is not your preferred aerobic activity, do not force yourself to make that your activity of choice
  • 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, five or more days a week is recommended. If fitting 30 minutes of exercise into a day is too difficult, break it into three 10-minute sessions
  • Set some time aside that fits your schedule. If you have multiple commitments in the evening, make a plan to exercise during the morning before kicking off your day. Life gets busy and the unexpected always happens; make changes to your exercise schedule when necessary
  • Find an exercise buddy – exercising with someone can keep you accountable. You may be more motivated to get active if you know a friend is waiting for you at the park for your morning jog
  • Looking for something more structured? Join a class at your local community centre, learn a new sport, or find an online workout program or app that you enjoy

After just 2-3 weeks smoke-free, your lung capacity increases by as much as 30%!

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Tips for staying the course

It takes about a month for a new activity to become a habit. Try these ideas to keep up the movement momentum! 

  • Appreciate the benefits: When you start out, you’ll likely experience some shortness of breath while your lungs recover from smoking/vaping. Soon you’ll notice that exercise gets easier and you’re breathing better—notice these improvements and show your body some gratitude.  
  • Find an exercise buddy: Exercising with someone can keep you accountable. You may be more motivated to get active if you know a friend is waiting for you at the park for your morning jog.  
  • Switch it up: Try a new type of movement, a fitness class, or just take your workout outside to keep things interesting and keep yourself engaged. Movement can be fun!  
  • Make it more challenging: When you are ready, try adjusting the frequency, variety, and intensity of activities to build strength and endurance.  
  • Set some goals: Short-term goals could include walking 3 times a week or swimming 10 laps at the pool.  Longer-term goals could include signing up for a 5K walk or run or aiming to lift a certain weight at the gym.

Looking for more ideas for movement?

Ask others in the QuitNow community how they keep active on their quit journeys!