Once your heart is weakened by years of smoking, is there a chance that cardio could fix it?
I'm 29 and have been smoking since my 15th birthday. For the past year+ I've been smoking a pack and a half of Cheyenne cigars with the occasional cigarette. From age 15 to 23 I would cut the filter in half and put a cig out halfway and light back up 20 minutes later. Then from age 23 to 27 I would smoke a full filtered cigarette. I believe my heart is very weak. I've never had a heart attack, but it just feels weak at times. And that along with getting lazy with my workouts, it's kinda hard to get back where I used to be.
Anyway, I'm wondering if VO2max training (eventually lactate threshold sprint intervals) could be dangerous. Or would it help?
I wont push too hard.
Thanks. Will award BA.
- AlphaLv 74 weeks agoFavourite answer
No exercise is going to help you if you are still smoking. It isn't just your heart, but your lungs have lost a great deal of its ability to oxygenated your body, specifically you heart. Your heart is a muscle and any muscles needs nutrients AND oxygen to keep it going. And because of the low amount of oxygen getting to the heart (as well as other organs), it is not going to be able to function at its peak efficiency.
Trying to force your heart to work harder by doing cardio while it is starved of oxygen has a very high chance of leading to cardiac arrest (heart attack). That's the bad news.
The good news is that if you quit smoking,your lungs and body starts to recover the moment you stop and there is a good chance your lungs will improve and gain some of its capacity to oxygenate your body. It will never be as good as someone who did not smoke, but it will be better than someone who never quit smoking.
If you have quit smoking, then you need to give it a few months (9 months for your lungs) before starting something significantly stressful. During this period, you should do something easy such as walking or using an exercycle or treadmill at the lowest setting. Your goal should be to ease into it and GRADUALLY increase the difficulty. It could take as much as 15 years to reach your maximum recovery level, but it starts the moment you stop smoking.
You may be interested in learning more about recovery from smoking at the following webpages: