If you want to be successful as an athlete, you should forget all about smoking. Smoking is the number one factor that affects one’s performance in sports, particularly those that necessitate high levels of energy and stamina.

1. Significant reduction in energy

Getting enough sleep and observing healthy diet are enough to fuel your body with the energy it needs for your upcoming sports activity. But if you’re a smoker, you could be running low in energy no matter how much you sleep or eat energy-enhancing foods. In a 1999 study, researchers compared the energy levels of non-smokers with smokers and found that the latter spent 6.3% more energy than the former. By quitting smoking today, you can significantly increase your vigor, ready for your sports or exercise.

2. Reduced volume of oxygen (VO2)

Volume of oxygen refers to the amount of oxygen your body utilizes per minute. The more oxygen you access, the better you perform. If you’re a smoker, you are likely to have a reduced VO2. This was the finding of a 2008 study carried out by Larry T. Wier from NASA Wyle Laboratory. He looked at the VO2 maximum levels of runners who light up regularly and found a significant reduction in the VO2. This in turn, affects their performance in sports.

3. Poor dilation of the arteries

Even if you only smoke 5 cigarettes a day, the performance of your arteries is reduced by 50%. How does this affect your energy and stamina? Basically, arteries need to dilate so the muscles could get more energy (in form of nutrients). Without proper dilation, muscles could not get enough oxygen and nutrients. As a result, they feel tired and become swollen. Even if you don’t smoke, but regularly inhale secondhand smoke, your arteries will still suffer.

4. Weaker immune system

Smoking makes you more vulnerable to certain disease-causing organisms because the hazardous components of tobacco have the ability to alter the structure and immunological defenses of your lungs. The development of diseases necessitates additional energy because the immune system has to do its best to fight off the infection. The good news is that the effects of smoking to your immune system are reversible if you stop smoking now.

5. Changes in appetite

The body’s main source of energy is food. The normal response of the brain whenever it detects an energy imbalance is through appetite stimulation. Smoking can negatively affect this process by suppressing your appetite. In an animal study, scientists found that mice that were exposed to cigarette smoke had a 30% reduction in appetite, causing them to eat fewer amounts of food.

Other habits that are linked to smoking, such as poor intake of nutrients, alcohol consumption, and unhealthy lifestyle, all affect a person’s energy and stamina levels.

You might think that quitting smoking today is impossible. But actually, it’s easy. It’s easy if you know what to do and what to avoid. There are many smoking cessation methods that were proven to help smokers quit. By knowing more about them, you can increase your smoking cessation success.