A common question among those who run and smoke is whether their smoking habit is hampering their times? Even if you are notching up decent times and live a healthy active life, is it possible that smoking is actually reducing your performance levels?
Here’s a not so surprising notion – a lot of runners smoke. Ironically too, many world class marathon runners had been smokers before they became world class! In fact, in a certain study done in 2007, 50 men who had taken part in marathons since 1982 were taken as the subject. Some were actually quite fast and some were just barely hanging on. Some of them smoked previously and others continued to smoke. The commonality though was that all were closet smokers who did not engage in their vices publically.
In the research it was found that those who continued to smoke actually had lower lung capacity and were among those who were struggling with their prolonged running carriers. So going by that study, it isn’t easy to say if stopping smoking would actually improve your race times but from what studies have shown thus far, you would actually end up living a much healthier life. Remember that a major by-product of smoking is the CO or Carbon monoxide. This poison binds to hemoglobin as it has 200 times the affinity and this prevents oxygen from binding with blood cells thus reducing stamina among other things.
Basically, if you were to eliminate cigarettes then your system would be more adept at transporting oxygen and the muscle cells in your body would be able to exert a lot more force. Who knows you could end up improving your time by at least 15 seconds.
Then there are additional advantages. For starters, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease drops significantly the moment you stop smoking. And if you live longer, live healthier then you can run longer. So whether or not, ceasing smoking improves performance, it definitely lets you run for a lot longer.