How to Start a Running Regimen After Quitting Smoking

A running regimen can help improve your lung health after you quit smoking.
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Running after you quit smoking is beneficial for your overall health and can make you feel like you've accomplished something beyond just breaking a bad habit. Starting a running routine after you quit smoking should be a slow, gradual process. You won't go from smoker to marathon runner overnight.


You need to rebuild your endurance and work to overcome any shortness of breath caused by years of smoking. Running also can help you avoid weight gain, which is often associated with smoking cessation.

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Before You Start Training

Talk to your doctor before beginning a running routine. Your doctor may recommend chest therapy using a hand-held plastic chamber breathing device to exercise your lungs and reduce shortness of breath. Breathe into the device and try to move the plastic ball inside up as high possible with heavy breathing. Complete this exercise five to 10 times in a row, three times per day to help to clear your lungs and build your endurance.

Read More: The Effects of Smoking on Running

Don't jump right into running after smoking. Add small activities on a daily basis to improve the function of your lungs and increase your overall endurance. Take the stairs instead of riding an elevator, or get up and walk around your house during a commercial break during a television show.

Developing a Running Routine

Take a 10-minute walk each day for a week. The following week, add a minute or two to your walking routine. Continue to increase your walking routine until you have you are able to complete a 30-minute walk, five days per week without experiencing shortness of breath. You can opt to walk outdoors or on a treadmill.


Increase the intensity of your workout. Once you are comfortable with walking, you can begin to incorporate jogging into your routine. Jog at a slow, steady pace. Start out by jogging for five minutes a day, five days per week. Add one to two minutes to your jogging routine each week until you are able to jog for 30 minutes without excessive coughing and shortness of breath.

Read More: 12 Essential Tips for New Runners


Start a running routine by running five minutes per day when you have sufficient endurance. Plan to add one to two minutes to your running regimen each week. Continue to add time to your routine until you reach 30 minutes.



Contact your doctor if you experience severe coughing or wheezing as you run.

Additional Tips and Considerations

For another breathing exercise, pucker your lips up and take deep breaths. To increase the effectiveness of this exercise, stand with your arms and hands extended at your sides. Complete this breathing exercise for two minutes at a time, three times per day.


Stay hydrated as you run. Carry a bottle of water with you at all times. Work at your own pace and build up to running gradually. Depending on your overall health and the amount of smoking you used to engage in, it may take months to build to the point where you can run.

Participate in five to 10 minutes of stretching before any exercise. Focus on your calves, hamstrings, ankles, feet, hips and lower back. Stretching can help decrease your risk of injury as you run. This is especially important if you led a sedentary lifestyle while you were a smoker.




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