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How to Start a Running Regimen After Quitting Smoking

author image Martin Booe
Martin Booe writes about health, wellness and the blues. His byline has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Bon Appetit. He lives in Los Angeles.
How to Start a Running Regimen After Quitting Smoking
A running regimen can help improve your lung health after you quit smoking.

Running after you quit smoking is beneficial for your overall health and can make you feel like you've accomplished something beyond just quitting smoking. Starting a running routine after you quit smoking should be a slow, gradual process. 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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Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

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