cigarettes, cycling and my health



distincthead

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Jul 22, 2006
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Hey all,
I'm currently a one pack a day smoker. I've always smoked & cycled (sometimes at the same time), but recently I've set a quit date. In the mean time, I have a few questions!

I'm 23 years old, am in good health (blood tests normal, BP excellent, RHR low, low body fat, cholesterol low, etc.) and train vigorously; however, I noticed that lately (increasing over the past few years) my performance has started to suck more and more. I know what this is because of, but I've been worried about a few things. Would it be possible for me to suffer a cardiac arrest when doing something really intense such as hard intervals? My heart rate doesn't seem to go up that high, but when I'm through, I definately feel thoroughly beat, almost dizzy. I attribute this to my horrible lungs. My v02 max is probably 10 haha. When I'm done with intervals, I'm able to finish out my workout fine, and when I'm done I seem to recover rapidly without a lot of muscle pain, so I know it's not my legs that are getting destroyed. This leads me to believe that I'll never my body is ahead of me and I wont be able to progress any further without quitting. I'm just worried about keeling over in the meantime.
 

nerdag

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Dec 12, 2004
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distincthead said:
I'm currently a one pack a day smoker. I've always smoked & cycled (sometimes at the same time), but recently I've set a quit date.
Good on you!.

distincthead said:
Would it be possible for me to suffer a cardiac arrest when doing something really intense such as hard intervals?
Not likely, but not impossible. Your heart won't arrest unless it's not getting enough blood supply through the coronary arteries. At 23, it's not likely that you'll have had enough time for plaques to occlude your arteries so much so that you'd arrest.

Given your otherwise (apparently) healthy lifestyle, the risk of arresting is *probably* not a whole lot greater than an age matched male of similar health.

distincthead said:
My heart rate doesn't seem to go up that high, but when I'm through, I definately feel thoroughly beat, almost dizzy. I attribute this to my horrible lungs. My v02 max is probably 10 haha. When I'm done with intervals, I'm able to finish out my workout fine, and when I'm done I seem to recover rapidly without a lot of muscle pain, so I know it's not my legs that are getting destroyed.
This would appear consistent with smoking, in that you're reducing your alveolar surface area with each death stick you burn. It doesn't seem like your cardio fitness is a limiting factor, rather, your oxygen supply (ie. lungs) - certainly at least it seems so from what you describe...

As with anything health realted, make sure you ask your regular doctor, and don't just rely on the advice of med students such as moi on internet forums...

HTH,

n
 

leestevens

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Dec 15, 2004
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distincthead said:
Hey all,
I'm currently a one pack a day smoker. I've always smoked & cycled (sometimes at the same time), but recently I've set a quit date. In the mean time, I have a few questions!

I'm 23 years old, am in good health (blood tests normal, BP excellent, RHR low, low body fat, cholesterol low, etc.) and train vigorously; however, I noticed that lately (increasing over the past few years) my performance has started to suck more and more. I know what this is because of, but I've been worried about a few things. Would it be possible for me to suffer a cardiac arrest when doing something really intense such as hard intervals? My heart rate doesn't seem to go up that high, but when I'm through, I definately feel thoroughly beat, almost dizzy. I attribute this to my horrible lungs. My v02 max is probably 10 haha. When I'm done with intervals, I'm able to finish out my workout fine, and when I'm done I seem to recover rapidly without a lot of muscle pain, so I know it's not my legs that are getting destroyed. This leads me to believe that I'll never my body is ahead of me and I wont be able to progress any further without quitting. I'm just worried about keeling over in the meantime.
I to used to smoke and ride, allthough not at hte same time. I was 27 when i quit after ten years of smoking. I never really rode hard or did intervals during the quitting process, but it makes a huge difference to your performance and muscle growth. Since i gave up my leg muscles have certainly grown somewhat. Good on you for quitting, it may seem hard but the further you go the easier it gets.:)
 

distincthead

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Jul 22, 2006
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That's what I figured, thanks for your replies!

One more question: When I quit, during the 'process', should I keep training to my fullest potential, or back off a bit? I'd rather do the former, as the latter sounds quite unappealing under any circumstance save for serious illness, but I'm willing to do anything to preserve/improve my health. Perhaps short bits of exercise such as stretching sessions, light weights, or 10 mins on the trainer would help me to get over my cravings when I have them?
 

leestevens

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Dec 15, 2004
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distincthead said:
That's what I figured, thanks for your replies!

One more question: When I quit, during the 'process', should I keep training to my fullest potential, or back off a bit? I'd rather do the former, as the latter sounds quite unappealing under any circumstance save for serious illness, but I'm willing to do anything to preserve/improve my health. Perhaps short bits of exercise such as stretching sessions, light weights, or 10 mins on the trainer would help me to get over my cravings when I have them?
Train as hard and as much as you want or can. If you get the cravings the best thing to do is a little exercise as you suggested, anything to get the lungs working and the blood flowing. Just keep thinking of the benefits and the improvements in your riding pace.:)
 

distincthead

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Jul 22, 2006
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Sweet... once I get through the winter, I'm going to take all of the money I've saved and upgrade my old 80s bianchi with some new components. :)
 

Archibald

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Jun 19, 2006
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not sure of the 'process' you're mentioning or are you talking about the time while your body expunges the toxins and repairs itself? coz that takes a fair amount of time.

but enjoy getting your sense of taste and smell back.
train as hard as you want, you'll soon notice the improvement.
 

discobean7

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Nov 13, 2003
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Congrats on quitting. As for a "quit date", there is no better day to stop smoking than today. Keep training just as hard as you want. Exercise can cause the release of endorphins and these can help satiate the cravings and nicotine withdrawal. Better to be "addicted" to exercise rather than nicotine.
 

distincthead

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Jul 22, 2006
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I feel I will be more psychologically prepared by setting a date, which is very soon! Can't wait!
discobean7 said:
Congrats on quitting. As for a "quit date", there is no better day to stop smoking than today. Keep training just as hard as you want. Exercise can cause the release of endorphins and these can help satiate the cravings and nicotine withdrawal. Better to be "addicted" to exercise rather than nicotine.
 

Archibald

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Jun 19, 2006
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distincthead said:
I feel I will be more psychologically prepared by setting a date, which is very soon! Can't wait!
that sounds like you don't really want to give it away.
you have to really want to give it up or you'll be on-again off-again like a yo-yo...
you really need to be saying 'that's it. had enough. not doing this sh*t again.' and mean it, then throw them away and not look back. none of that "when i finish this pack" bit...

otherwise you'll be in for a long time of stuffing about with patches, gums, programmes and a thousand and one excuses...
sounds harsh and extreme, but your motivation needs to be strong, as does your comitment to stop. it's too easy to give in when it's only a half-hearted reason to give it away and you don't really want to...

with the right drive, it can be done and you'll feel so much better for it.
 

distincthead

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Jul 22, 2006
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Patches, gums, all of that ****, I'm not using it. All it would do would be to keep reminded me that I was addicted. I know I'm flying in the face of convention "wisdom" *cough* but I truly don't see the benefit of those gimmicks, unless they work for you mentally. BTW, I quit! :cool:

Thanks so much for your advice, though, I truly appreciate it! :)


Archibald said:
that sounds like you don't really want to give it away.
you have to really want to give it up or you'll be on-again off-again like a yo-yo...
you really need to be saying 'that's it. had enough. not doing this sh*t again.' and mean it, then throw them away and not look back. none of that "when i finish this pack" bit...

otherwise you'll be in for a long time of stuffing about with patches, gums, programmes and a thousand and one excuses...
sounds harsh and extreme, but your motivation needs to be strong, as does your comitment to stop. it's too easy to give in when it's only a half-hearted reason to give it away and you don't really want to...

with the right drive, it can be done and you'll feel so much better for it.
 

Archibald

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Jun 19, 2006
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distincthead said:
Patches, gums, all of that ****, I'm not using it. All it would do would be to keep reminded me that I was addicted. I know I'm flying in the face of convention "wisdom" *cough* but I truly don't see the benefit of those gimmicks, unless they work for you mentally. BTW, I quit! :cool:

Thanks so much for your advice, though, I truly appreciate it! :)
no worries, and good on you for quitting.

i watched my brother fart-**** about with it for years - he did everything, and i mean everything - including hypnotherapy, the works! but it didn't work because deep down he didn't really want to give them up.
i watched my father just stop - i was his inspiration. when your six year old takes on from your pack and lights up in your lounge room... he just took that pack and any others he had, binned them and stopped. never smoked again.
as for myself, i quit last year when i was just sick of the smell and all the rest of what went with it. said 'enough', chucked out the pack and haven't really looked back...

but good on you for quitting. enjoy the benefits of improved fitness, improved smell and improved taste!
not to mention the attention of the ladies when you don't stink (or taste) of an ashtray!
 

distincthead

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Jul 22, 2006
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Archibald said:
no worries, and good on you for quitting.

i watched my brother fart-**** about with it for years - he did everything, and i mean everything - including hypnotherapy, the works! but it didn't work because deep down he didn't really want to give them up.
i watched my father just stop - i was his inspiration. when your six year old takes on from your pack and lights up in your lounge room... he just took that pack and any others he had, binned them and stopped. never smoked again.
as for myself, i quit last year when i was just sick of the smell and all the rest of what went with it. said 'enough', chucked out the pack and haven't really looked back...

but good on you for quitting. enjoy the benefits of improved fitness, improved smell and improved taste!
not to mention the attention of the ladies when you don't stink (or taste) of an ashtray!
Good for you as well! My computer was toasted by lightening so I never got this reply until now... But yes, the fiance definately hated the ashtrayness of my breath/hair/etc.

Oh yeah, I can climb hills now! Ha!
 

RussB

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Jul 21, 2006
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Good for you for wanting to quit. I smoked for 20 years. I quit about 8-9 years ago. Never had one since. I started riding last year in September. Last week I did 27 mile rides, 4 days in a row. Go ahead and ride as often at you want. What I did was to give myself a set of rules. I would first plan ahead how many days I would ride each week. I'm off work 3-4 days each week. I ride every day I'm off. For the most part I only have 2 reasons not to ride. 1) the weather is bad ALL day. 2) I'm legitamately sick. "Not feeling like it" is not a good enough reason. I find I feel better after the first few miles. Each month I will have a day that I can't ride because of other obligations.

Keep up with the riding. And when it comes to quiting, think about the nice bike you'll be able to buy with the $35 a week you'll be saving by not smoking. Almost $2000 in a year = a very nice bike:)
 

Josh13

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Jun 17, 2006
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Just from personal point of view......I quit a year ago 15Aug05. I quit specificly to do Duathlons/triathlons. Without training I don't think I would have made it. Riding took the place of over eating and nerves. It constantly reminded me of why I quit when training hard and being out of breath. Set a date and let'er rip.

Good luck Mac
 

brad g

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Jul 22, 2006
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I had smoked from the age of 18 to the age of 24, about 1 pack a day. The way I quit was one day I was driving down the street in my truck, I looked over at the pack of cigarettes and the lighter on the dash. I had an instantaneous urge to pick them up and chunk them out the window, which I did. I never bought another pack of cigarettes. That's been seven years ago.

P.S. I gained 50 lbs in the few months afterward, which lately I've lost 25 of.
 

distincthead

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Jul 22, 2006
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brad g said:
I had smoked from the age of 18 to the age of 24, about 1 pack a day. The way I quit was one day I was driving down the street in my truck, I looked over at the pack of cigarettes and the lighter on the dash. I had an instantaneous urge to pick them up and chunk them out the window, which I did. I never bought another pack of cigarettes. That's been seven years ago.

P.S. I gained 50 lbs in the few months afterward, which lately I've lost 25 of.
I smoked from early teens to age 24 (right now, that is) It's rough, but at least I wont gain any weight. I actually lose appetite when I'm going through quitting. Gotta force down enough to keep me cycling. Good for you guys on quitting though, even if it was 30 years ago.
 

pieralberto

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Jul 2, 2006
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I quit 34 days ago, the first days I was very down depression was horrible. I am feeling better now but weight gain is the ****, I was down 15 pounds when i was riding and smoking( not at the same time) and now I gaint the 15 back, i am riding much harder now and my question is how can you determine your muscle gain vs weight gain?..............hope im making sense.....

Piero
 

tes151

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Aug 11, 2006
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I quit just over a year ago when I was 44 years old. I had been smoking since I was 13 or so. Took that long to finally get tired of it enough to quit. Now I'm riding a Trek hybrid on the rail trail whenever I'm home ( truck driver ) trying to lose the weight I gained on top of the flab I had before I quit. Best thing I ever did was quit. Now I can live long enough to be a burden to my children. :D
 

distincthead

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Jul 22, 2006
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tes151 said:
I quit just over a year ago when I was 44 years old. I had been smoking since I was 13 or so. Took that long to finally get tired of it enough to quit. Now I'm riding a Trek hybrid on the rail trail whenever I'm home ( truck driver ) trying to lose the weight I gained on top of the flab I had before I quit. Best thing I ever did was quit. Now I can live long enough to be a burden to my children. :D
Good for you!! It doesn't matter how often you ride, or what you ride, just that you do. It inspires people.
 

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