If the two words “smoker” and “health” seem contradictory, it may be time to take another look at that conclusion. Even as the number of smokers decreases each year, there still are many people who continue the daily habit but who also watch what they eat and exercise on a regular basis. Of course, quitting is the healthiest way to go, but there are other considerations for people who aren’t ready to jump off that train just yet. Let’s take a look at some of the ways smokers can strive for a healthy lifestyle.
There seems to be the common misconception that if you smoke, you also, by default, don’t care at all about your overall health. In many cases this has led to an explosion of discreet smoking device shaped to look like pens, smart-phones, or even an asthma inhaler. Smokers may be trying to taper the number of cigarettes they smoke each day over a period of months. Or, they may be planning to switch over to a vaporizer instead of traditional cigarettes. Even if they continue to smoke in the future, that choice does not automatically indicate that they don’t care about their overall health or don’t plan to quit smoking someday.
Often, what a smoker eats can help mitigate some of the ill effects cigarette consumption has on the body. Just like anyone else, smokers should follow a diet that low on fat and high on fresh vegetables and fruit. They should save the red meat for special occasions and try to eat foods that are high in fiber. Whole grain bread and vegetables in dark colors are some of the best choices. Low-fat dairy products are good additions as well. Smokers should stay away from processed foods, soda, and foods that are high in sodium and fat.
Again, nonsmokers and smokers alike can benefit from getting regular exercise. Because smokers are damaging their lungs, it can be of vital importance that they continue to strive for lung health with a lot of cardiovascular exercise. There is always a place for strength training in any workout regimen as well, but cardio might be the best place for smokers to spend their energy. Smokers should plan to hit the gym, take a jog, or hop on a bicycle at least four times per week for at least one hour, more if they are heavy cigarette smokers.
Other Preventive Measures
Finally, smokers will do well to practice as much preventive care as they can. In addition to transitioning to vaporizers instead of rolled cigarettes, they should also visit their doctor’s regularly so they can monitor their overall health. The doctor, of course, will always recommend smoking cessation, but he or she can also administer lung tests that check for capacity and functionality. In addition, smokers should try to limit their levels of everyday stress, as long-term anxiety can wreak havoc on a body’s health.
Quitting smoking is best, but there are other ways smokers can strive for better health. These guidelines are a solid place to get started on that quest and prove the naysayers that smokers can live healthier, too.