Exercise your power over tobacco in 2013

  • Published
  • By 72nd Medical Group
  • Health and Wellness Center
Quitting tobacco and becoming more fit are two of the most popular New Year's resolutions in America. But did you know that if you tackle them together, you can actually boost your rate of success for each? Quitting tobacco improves exercise performance, and now research has proven that exercise helps increase the chances of quitting tobacco. Resistance training and aerobic exercise during smoking cessation hold great promise for those trying to overcome addiction to tobacco.

Quitting tobacco isn't easy. But when you tap into the power of exercise, you can physically and mentally overcome the challenges of withdrawal. In as little as 10 minutes of moderate exercise, you can reduce cravings and help avoid relapse. Exercise also was found to help mood swings, boredom, and stress levels in one test group, compared to another group who did not exercise. Adding an exercise program to your daily routine can eliminate worry about weight gain. Exercise speeds up your metabolism and keeps your hands busy -- away from cigarettes and candy bars.

Once you stop using tobacco and start exercising, you'll feel much better. Your blood circulation will improve and you'll feel an increase in energy. Regular exercise can help speed up repair to any lung tissue damage caused by nicotine and the other deadly chemicals in tobacco. You'll soon be able to breathe easier. You'll even lower your risk of injury and hospitalization.

Without tobacco, you can fast-track your fitness training. During physical exertion, your brain releases endorphins that make you feel more naturally alert, similar to the effect of drinking a cup of coffee. You'll find that your endurance will increase and you'll perform better in the field and on your fitness tests. Before long, you'll be in the best physical condition ever. And that can only boost your self-image and pride in your accomplishment.

So, before the ball drops at midnight in Times Square, get ready to welcome a new you in the New Year. Make a plan to overpower tobacco in 2013. Start by preparing a quit strategy with the tools from Tinker AFB's Tobacco Cessation Program. To begin, simply call 1-877-695-7848 to chat with a trained quit coach. Next contact the HAWC's Exercise Physiologist to enroll in the Fitness Improvement Training Program. Then, come Jan. 1, you'll hold the power to kick the tobacco habit (and its butts) out of your life once and for all.