Transitioning into a new routine like exercising regularly may feel like a big change, especially if you are trying to quit smoking at the same time, but exercise is a great healthy habit to help you stay quit in the long run.
Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise is an effective way to keep cravings and withdrawal symptoms at bay. Aerobic exercise is physical activity that gets your heart rate up, gets you sweating and causes you to breathe harder. This can be a brisk walk, climbing a few flights of stairs, jogging, hiking, cycling or swimming.
Before beginning any physical activity or program, please consult with a health care professional.
Exercising has multiple benefits
- Boosts your mood and energy
- Improves your sleep
- Helps manage weight gain
- Reduces nicotine withdrawal symptoms and distracts you from cravings when you exercise - and continues up to 50 minutes after
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
Tips for staying the course
Quitting while taking on a new routine can be challenging. It can feel discouraging at first when you experience shortness of breath while exercising. But after your quit, you may find exercise becomes easier. That is because after just two weeks of quitting your lung capacity can increase by 30%! Stay the course - it will be worth it.
- If you are just starting out, make walking a part of your regular routine. Try taking brisk walks after meals with co-workers, friends or family members. Work your way up to walking faster and further
- Incorporate exercise into different parts of your day. For example, use the stairs instead of taking the elevator, in your building, at the mall or office
- When you are ready, try adjusting the frequency, variety, and intensity of activities to keep you engaged