Should We Be More Concerned About Tobacco Health Risks?
Sports Medicine Health & Fitness Specialist, CJ Mann speaks out.
Summer is here!
It's time to get healthy and finally lose those Cigs--FOR GOOD! Do you want some top advice on how to be a better healthier you?!? Of course you do!
So I'm binge watching all the "REAL L Word" episodes I missed and I'm noticing that just about EVERY main character and their buddies are smoking away like chimneys. With cigarettes hanging from their shirts, hats, socks and even bras! Since when did smoking become fashionable and cool again? WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! Smokers please do not "X" me off this page just yet--Hoo! I come in peace. Listen, I'm far from a prude, but gals--it's time to break through the denial and be cognizant of the severe health dangers smoking can cause at any age, and look to quit--soon.
Being an American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness Specialist, and a American Cancer Society Certified Cancer Trainer I felt compelled to speak up for my fellow LGBTQ communities PRECIOUS health and well-being. Unfortunately, I am also an expert in a more painful way--by watching and taking care of my dear aunt while she was dying from smoking induced Lung Cancer (even though she quit over thirty years before when she was a heavy smoker)--and I can tell you it was a terribly painful, drawn out illness. It was also extremely hard for EVERYONE to see a love one suffer in that way. As I write this, my dear stepdad is in hospice care for the same illness from Smoking several years ago (although he also quit 30 years before)--it came back to haunt them both.
So, first I'll start will the obligatory BAD NEWS--BUT then I will end with the GOOD NEWS--I promise! So hang in there for me (and YOU!) I'm real sorry to break the news...
It seems in our twenties we are invincible--and, actually, we do "turn over" damaged cells into healthy ones more often --but that capability decreases as we age. And if the DNA is damaged enough in our cells from smoking at even a young age, that is going to show up later in our lives. I can assure you--it's NEVER a good time to get cancer or ANY pulmonary disease where you cannot breathe and suffer such pain and discomfort--or even death since Lung Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases on the planet.
Smoking has the terrible ability to damage EVERY possible cell in your body from your head to your toes--your beautiful heart, eyes, breasts, ovaries etc., ETC! And yes, just like those graphic commercial show--you can lose limbs from circulation damage. If you ever want to have babies one day, you had better quit--since it can also damage your fertility cells. Never mind, the well-known fact that smoking while pregnant can cause serious birth defects. Heck folks, if you want to live a long, healthy life, you had better quit--now.
Hope you're STILL on this page because FINALLY here is the REALLY GOOD NEWS I promised you! Every day you quit smoking you can add an extra day to your life--or should I say and extra day of health and feeling good with those you love. In fact, as soon as you quit your body starts to repair itself and you start feeling better within A FEW SHORT DAYS--and you can REVERSE much of the damage done to that of a non-smoker--REALLY! Quitting Smoking can be the toughest thing on earth--but it's also, without question, the best and MOST REWARDING thing you will EVER do for yourself--AND the ones you love.
The first few days of quitting are the hardest because of the withdrawal from the Nicotine addiction--but after that it is more about habitual behavior. I suggest if you have a hard time quitting, consult with a doctor who specializes in quitting smoking to prescribe the best treatment options for you--or perhaps prescribe a Nicotine patch if necessary. Hypnotherapy has also shown some success. And please don't be afraid to ask your smoking friends or relatives to have the courtesy NOT to smoke around you--and Your GOOD friends will (or SHOULD ) respect your VERY brave decision to quit.
Now is the time for YOU to take care of YOURSELF--and make quitting smoking the first step towards the NEW, HEALTHIER YOU! Also start eating healthier by tossing the chips and fries and stocking up on fresh fruits and veggies, and go easy on the booze and late night soirees. And get back to exercising--slowly at first, and do whatever you can (But have all the sex you want to strengthen up those lungs--among other things!)
Here's some quick Exercise Tips to get you started (and YES they work.) You'll have Physical and Visual results in ONLY 4-6 weeks following this routine!
1) Start walking 15 minutes a day until you build your CARDIOVASCULAR (heart and lungs) capacity up--and work towards doing some cardio building exercises like walking, running, biking, swimming, elliptical machine, tennis, karate etc., for up to 20-30 min 3-5 times a week at a moderate intensity (on a scale from 1-10--rate yourself around a 5-7).
2) Also incorporate 2-3 days of resistance training (weights, machines, bands) into your week for muscle definition, strength and good circulation. Do not work the same muscles on consecutive days--i.e. skip a few days before you work the SAME body part again--usually 3-5 days between.
3) Get some Yoga or Pilates in once a week for core (abs and back) flexibility and strength (for combating "Netflix Neck" or a stiff Back from Binge watching Season 2 of OITNB for 10 hours straight in bed!)
4) ACSM now recommends "Mindfulness" training--which includes practicing meditation or Tai Chi types of exercises at home or at the gym to reduce stress (from reading this article!) 1-2x a week or when needed (and you can also flirt with all the cute gals!)
That's pretty much it folks! Pretty simple once you get started! There's also a ton of exercise/meditation apps --or routines available free on the internet. It is VERY important to find exercises that you ENJOY so you stick with exercising--FOREVER. And don't be afraid to try new things! Drink plenty of liquids and don't overheat--wear proper clothing and be visible and safe at night or in secluded areas (safety in numbers.) Be sure to warm up and cool down (doing the activity at a much slower rate start to finish) and stretch a little before and after each routine.
And if you REALLY want to be COOL and MOST ATTRACTIVE--become HEALTHY and lose the cigs and you'll certainly have a trail of flirting admirers waiting for you to come off that treadmill to hand you a towel! No need to thank me for the tips--your family and friends will SURELY thank you for it later in life while you're dancing away at your hundredth birthday bash--(hopefully with that cute Yoga instructor you met sixty years before!)
*BEST of LUCK MY LGBTQ Community--AND Three Cheers for the NEW, HEALTHIER YOU THIS SUMMER!! (and your trail of Gym admirers)--and hopefully some of the gals from the New L-Word will be there too! Best Of Luck--and stick with it--IT WORKS!!
*Here are some websites to help you Stay Healthy and Quite Smoking--For GOOD!
* NYS quitters hotline and resource--Where they offer FREE ADVICE and where you may be eligible for FREE NICOTINE PATCHES!
CJ MANN ECITS, ACE, ACSM, ACS Cancer Exercise Trainer