Smoking is bad for a lot of reasons. It contains a myriad of harmful chemicals that can only bring danger to the body and for the lungs, the part of the body that endures most of its effect, smoking is a serious enemy.

The lungs and the effects of smoking

When a person is smoking, there is an expected decrease in lung capacity. This results in shallowness of breath as well as lower immune system and lower energy levels. It is safe to assume, therefore, that smokers are less healthy compared to non-smokers. Of course, this does not exactly relate to their overall health and well-being because a non-smoker could easily be an alcohol or drug user, or he could be maintaining an unhealthy diet.

Take a look at these facts:

  • Decreased VO2 Max – The amount of oxygen that the body uses per minute (VO2) is significantly decreased on an individual who is a smoker. The more cigarettes smoked in the day, the lower the level of VO2 Max.
  • Smoking even as few as three cigarettes a day can increase the risk of lung and heart disease by 72 percent.
  • Smoking causes plaque build-up and hardening of arteries

Running and smoking

Given what was said in the previous paragraphs, it is safe to assume that smoking is completely a wrong idea for runners. If a runner is a smoker, the most important thing to do is to quit, otherwise the person will not be able to perform at your best. If the runner is not a smoker, well and good, this person should try hardest to keep away from it.

This is because the VO2 Max or the amount of oxygen your body can utilize is reduced. The overall performance, especially in running, may be affected by this. To be able to have more power, more oxygen is needed. More oxygen brings more energy and this translates to better speed and endurance when running.

But with all that, what is this talk about smoking being beneficial to running?

  • Serum haemoglobin which is essential in endurance running is significantly enhanced during smoking.
  • Lung volume, which is also essential in physical performance and running, is also enhanced during smoking.
  • Since running is a weight-bearing sport and smoking may be related to reduced body weight, smoking ultimately makes a runner faster

It sounds amazing, but that smoking is good for running or runners, this is still debatable, It may be safer to say that running is good for smoking and smokers however detrimental to smokers in the long run.

  • Those who quit smoking often turn to running in an attempt to take their minds of the dreadful habit. This actually works because instead of giving in to the urge, you can run a few miles and the need for cigarettes will be gone.
  • Studies also show that long time smoker who take up running as a hobby or sport are less likely to develop lung cancer. Similarly, smokers who were reported to have myocardial ischemia or blocked arteries see an improvement in their health status once they devote more time to running.

In the general sense, smoking actually impairs the performance of physical activity such as running. And if you happen to be a smoker, perhaps it’s time to plan about how you should kick this habit!