You’re two weeks into quitting smoking and here come the cravings again. Nicotine withdrawal has made life incredibly uncomfortable, but luckily, you’ve utilized exercise to help fight cravings and push forward in your cessation journey. Leaving tobacco and nicotine behind is no easy task, but if you can manage it, you’ll be among less than 10% of smokers who successfully quit for good. Now that’s impressive!
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been smoking or how often you smoke; what matters is that you’re committed to change and leaving it behind. Smoking is a habit that causes only pain, destruction, and ruin to your body, finances, and relationships. Ready to quit? Here are six exercises to do when those cravings start to appear. Good luck!
1. Jumping Jacks
You probably remember these from elementary school gym class, but don’t mistake them for a childhood pastime. Jumping jacks can help get the blood pumping and the heart working, circulating precious oxygen throughout the body. Your brain is also an organ, remember, and needs oxygen as well to be at maximum strength.
The great thing about exercise is that it’s good for mental health as well. When you’re fighting cravings, your brain is doing everything it can to convince your body that you need another dose of nicotine. With more oxygen and something to focus on, your brain will become distracted and develop the strength it needs to tell cravings no.
Some smokers use alternatives to tobacco while they’re quitting. These include tobacco free dip, patches, gum, and others that can be used before or after a workout. They don’t have the same effects as cigarettes and are often more affordable than a smoking habit.
Sometimes, you need to get as far away from nicotine, cigarettes, and all of your temptations as you possibly can. Jogging is perhaps the best way to achieve this goal while still focusing on your physical health. You can job around the block, to another part of town, or down a forest trail; anything to distance yourself from the nicotine you crave.
Jogging is also one of the best cardio workouts you can do. It works your legs, glutes, and arms, as well as increases endurance, lung capacity, and heart function. If you’re a recovering smoker, jogging will certainly be difficult at first, but the more you do it, the more you’ll condition your body to adapt to the changes in your lifestyle. This is good change, so embrace it!
Some smokers have found that they’ve gained as much as 10 lbs after they quit smoking for good. Even if they used CBD oil or some other product to slowly leave the habit behind, the weight gain seems to be inevitable.
While doing your cardio exercise, don’t forget to tone up that tummy! Crunches are a great way to bring some shape back to your stomach while you’re burning fat with cardio. Start small with crunches—you don’t have to do 1,200 in a day all at once. Start with 20-30 and work your way up as your body gets stronger and your endurance increases.
No equipment needed here! Push-ups are an easy way to work the arms and chest and improve endurance. If you don’t know how to do a proper push-up, check out this helpful guide. You can do several sets of push-ups in a day, so you don’t have to do them all at once. Just like with crunches, you’ll want to start out doing just a few until you can handle more. Try to hit benchmarks like 10, then 20, and so on. The key is to be consistent so that your muscles actually grow.
5. Jumping Rope
Another classic from grade school, jumping rope is an activity that seems all too easy to master, but in reality, the years might have made it more difficult for you. Have you tried jump roping in your later years? Even at 28, jump roping might be harder than you think! It’s an incredibly effective cardio workout for shredding fat and improving your endurance.
It’s also one of the most affordable exercises, since the only thing you need is a jump rope! You can find these at department stores or exercise outlets.
How many pull-ups do you think you can do? 5? 10? 20? Pull-ups are arm-intensive workouts, putting your shoulders, biceps, triceps, and more to work. Even if you don’t have a pull-up bar in your home, you can use basement rafters or fashion a DIY pull-up bar. This will help you stay in shape while saving you money and simultaneously fighting those pesky cravings.
The next time you feel a nicotine craving coming on, don’t reach for a cigarette. Instead, reach for a jump rope, the pull-up bar, or your jogging shoes. You’ll thank us later!