THE CONQEUENCES OF SMOKING FOR A RUNNER

The lungs, heart and other muscles of people who smoke and run at the same time suffer serious consequences! Since 2002, the French commission for health education ("CFES") has been alerting the general public to the following issues:

- Carbon monoxide, inhaled when smoking, can cause hypoxia, i.e. a lack of oxygen.

- Nicotine causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure (even at rest), and as a consequence, the heart consumes more oxygen.

- This gives rise to an increased risk of heart attacks for sportsmen or women who smoke beyond the age of 40 and who engage in intense exercise.

 

Regarding muscles, the CFES states: "The muscles, like the lungs and heart, need oxygen-rich blood in order to function efficiently. However, smoking causes peripheral vasoconstriction, which leads to less oxygen reaching the muscles."

Moreover, nicotine increases the production of lactic acid.

running to quit smoking

THE DROP IN VO2MAX IS DIRECTLY LINKED TO THE CONSUMPTION OF CIGARETTES

A study conducted about 15 years ago by an American University showed that smokers used 6% more energy on average during light exercise.

In fact, this statistic is hardly surprising when you consider the damage smoking can do to your VO2max, i.e. the maximum quantity of oxygen used by the body per unit of time (expressed in litres/minute).

It has been shown that VO2max is directly affected by smoking. In practical terms, the more you smoke the more your cardiovascular capacity is reduced.

THIS RUNS DIRECTLY AGAINST THE VERY AIM OF RUNNING…

In addition to the pleasure of practising their sport on a daily basis, runners seek to significantly improve their health reserves. The aim is to live longer and, what's more, live longer in good health.

The statistics regarding healthy life years (HLY), which have taken on a greater importance than life expectancy statistics, show that chronic illness becomes increasingly prevalent after the age of 60.

Smoking remains one of the key causes of cancer and damage to cardiovascular capacity. Running without smoking is therefore one of the most effective solutions for ageing… in good health!

QUOTE: PASCAL, AN EX-HEAVY SMOKER WITH 50 MARATHONS TO HIS NAME

"I smoked between 20 and 30 cigarettes a day for about 15 years," admits Pascal. At the time, I ran a little. With difficulty. I used to cough a lot after exercise. I stopped smoking without really planning it and, straight away, I began to run a lot because I wanted to avoid gaining weight.

The following year, I ran my first marathon. And since then, I've never looked back.

I covered the 26.22 miles in under three hours. Now the very memory of smoking seems unreal to me as if it were from another lifetime. "

A message for smoker runners: you are not alone! There are no reliable statistics on this subject because runners are reluctant to admit their tobacco dependence. It would probably be more helpful to own up to smoking (occasional or regular use) in order to get some encouragement from your friends to give it up.

And finally, remember that your GP or work doctor is there to help you give up smoking.