The popularity of vaping continues to grow, and many people who are switching from smoking to using e-cigarettes are doing so specifically because they represent a healthier alternative to standard cigarettes. This is borne out by Public Health England data from 2015, which shows that e-cigarettes are 95% less hazardous than smoking.
As such, many may also be wondering whether e-cigarettes may also have less of an impact on exercise routines than conventional smoking. The body requires a healthy flow of oxygen while working out, and standard cigarettes have been shown to disrupt healthy oxygen distribution in various ways – but is the same true of e-cigarettes?
In this blog post, we will explore the impacts of vaping on your capacity to exercise, how it compares to smoking, and whether or not you should vape and exercise.
Does Vaping Impact Your Capacity To Exercise?
When considering your own vaping habits, it is important to acknowledge that e-cigarettes do pose a certain risk of impacting your physical exercise capabilities, albeit not to the same extent as smoking.
There are various reasons for this:
- E-cigarettes contain nicotine, an addictive substance that has been found to constrict blood vessels, which can lead to a reduced blood flow to your muscles during exercise. This reduced blood flow can result in diminished performance and increased muscle fatigue.
- Nicotine is also a stimulant, which can raise your heart rate and blood pressure during strenuous physical exercise. This can pose dangers, including a higher risk of experiencing a heart attack.
- Nicotine has appetite suppressing effects, which may be a double-edged sword in terms of exercise. On the one hand, it could prove helpful in controlling excessive food cravings, but on the other, it may limit your ability to take on the nutrients you require for a healthy workout routine. It is important to ensure you are getting the right nutrition to power your exercises, and that you are not skipping meals due to your nicotine intake.
- Certain e-liquid ingredients, including propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, may contribute to respiratory irritation and inflammation. This could potentially impact your ability to engage in high-intensity workouts or endurance sports.
Vaping And Exercise Vs Smoking And Exercise
Although vaping can pose certain risks to your capacity to exercise, it is important to note that this does not compare to the much more significant damage that smoking can cause.
There is a wealth of evidence demonstrating the negative effects of smoking on physical fitness and exercise capacity, including reduced lung function, impaired blood flow, and a higher risk of various respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. As a result, smokers often experience shortness of breath, reduced stamina, and decreased athletic performance.
This is due to a number of factors:
- Cigarette smoke contains a wide range of additional harmful chemicals that will restrict arteries and harden blood vessel walls, which causes your heart to pump faster to compensate. This leads to elevated heart rate and blood pressure.
- Traditional smoking increases the amount of carbon monoxide in the bloodstream, replacing oxygen, making it harder for the red blood cells to supply enough oxygen to your muscles.
- Cigarette smoke includes tar and other chemicals that coat your lungs, damaging the alveoli (air sacs) and further restricting the body’s ability to absorb oxygen.
Although care must still be taken by people who vape before or after a workout – for example, certain e-liquid varieties, such as nic salts, can provide nicotine levels higher than a conventional cigarette – it can still be considered a less dangerous habit. Both vaping and smoking weaken our physical abilities, but the distinction between the two remains clear.
Should I Vape And Exercise?
Given the potential risks associated with vaping and exercise, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. If you’re currently a smoker, switching to vaping could potentially result in improvements to your lung function and overall exercise capacity. While it is not risk-free, vaping is considered a less harmful alternative to smoking and may be a viable option for those who are unable to quit smoking entirely.
That being said, the healthiest option is always to quit using nicotine products altogether. If you’re an athlete or serious about your fitness, you should strive to avoid any substances that could negatively impact your performance or overall health. Although vaping’s influence on exercise has not been as extensively researched as smoking, it is best for dedicated athletes to err on the side of caution.
If you do choose to vape and exercise, make sure to monitor your body’s response carefully. Pay attention to any changes in your lung function, and be mindful of any respiratory irritation or inflammation. If you experience any adverse effects, consult with a healthcare professional to discuss your options and make sure you are making the best decision for your health and fitness goals.
Ultimately, the decision to vape and exercise comes down to an individual’s unique circumstances. By staying informed and proactive about your health, you can make the best choices for your fitness journey and work towards a happier, healthier future.
Ian Botterill – Head Of Digital at EDGE Vaping