New with question

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-15-2006
New with question
Wed, 07-21-2010 - 10:36am

Hello everyone,

I am new to this board.  Just started working out this week after a four year abstinence.  I have a question about smoking cigarettes and working out (cardio).  I am 24 years old, 5 6, 142 lbs.  I have been smoking for 12 years.  My question is it there any risks in working out and being a heavy smoker (1 pack a day sometimes more on weekends).  I know smoking makes exercise harder but I've noticed that I loose my breath easily witch then raises my heart rate which turns into anxiety and then I feel a little dizzy.  I know this is mostly from anxiety.  I don't have any physical health conditions.  Like I said I have anxiety which is one of the reasons I joined the gym to reduce the anxiety but it seems the anxiety is making me not want to work out.  I know if I did not smoke I would probably not have any fear.  The reason I still smoke is because last time I quit for nine months in 2006-2007 I put on 20lbs and could not lose it for anything.  So now my plan is to lose at least 10lbs and try quitting again.  But it is hard to work out with the constant fear that I will pass out or have a heart attack.  I know it sounds silly and sorry for babbling but if anyone could relate or give any advice it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-29-2009
Wed, 07-21-2010 - 12:42pm

You are right to be concerned. Studies show even light smokers (5-6 cigarettes per day) suffer from arterial hardening which causes stress issues during exercise.

Even Light Smoking Affects Young Adults' Arteries

The stiffer a person's arteries, the greater their risk for heart disease or stroke, noted researcher Dr. Stella Daskalopoulou, an internal medicine and vascular medicine specialist at McGill University Health Center in Montreal.

"Our results are significant because they suggest that smoking just a few cigarettes a day impacts the health of the arteries," Daskalopoulou said in a news release from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "This was revealed very clearly when these young people were placed under physical stress, such as exercise."

"In effect, this means that even light smoking in otherwise young healthy people can damage the arteries, compromising the ability of their bodies to cope with physical stress, such as climbing a set of stairs or running to catch a bus," she said. "It seems that this compromise to respond to physical stress occurs first, before the damage of the arteries becomes evident at rest."

The study was to be presented Oct. 27 at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2009.

SOURCE: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, news release, Oct. 27, 2009

Read more:

I hope you find the strength to quit smoking soon!



iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2004
Wed, 07-21-2010 - 10:19pm
My only advise is to quit smokin hon....I know its not easy...I can speak from experience....I gave that up many years ago and it was the best thing I ever did! You will enjoy your workouts so much more.....and better yet, you will enjoy life so much more!

Daisy Blue Naturals Consultant

Avatar for i_florida04
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2004
Fri, 07-23-2010 - 5:06pm
I think that is a good question, because I don't think hardening of the arteries comes just from smoking.