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Harmful Effects of Smoking on Sports Performance

Niharika Arya
Smoking directly affects a sportsperson's performance. It reduces a person's physical endurance, and causes heart and lung-related diseases. In this WellnessKeen article, we discuss more about the evil effects of smoking on people who play sports.
According to The Non Smokers' Movement of Australia, adolescents who had smoked for five days had an 8% reduction in endurance time compared to those who didn't smoke.
The harmful effects of smoking are not new to people. Even smokers know that they are risking their life just to get a puff. But people who have rigorous physical activity as a part of their life should pay more attention. The most common category of people whose daily routine involves excess physical activity are sportspersons.
Do you know smoking decreases the performance of a player by hampering his stamina, and causing major harm to his heart? Even people exposed to secondhand smoke can suffer from a number of health complications. So, here we are, trying to make you aware of some of the major harmful effects of smoking, on a player and his performance.

Negative Effects of Smoking on Sports Performance

The foremost thing to know is the constituents of the smoke that causes so many complications. According to Cancer Research UK, on burning a cigarette, it releases about 4,000 chemicals, out of which hundreds are poisonous, and 70 are cancer-causing chemicals.
Arsenic, benzene, cadmium, chromium, carbon monoxide, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide are some of the most dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes. Now let us find out the effects of these chemicals on a player's body.

Weakening of Muscles

Oxygen is absolutely necessary for each and every cell of our body to survive and perform its task. When a person inhales tobacco smoke, he is exposed to carbon monoxide, which readily combines with hemoglobin (a substance in the red blood cells).
This hampers the blood from carrying oxygen, and the muscles are unable to get the required oxygen. This forces the heart to work harder, resulting in the weakening of muscles. It also reduces the elasticity and flexibility of muscles, which in turn results in decreased performance.

Decreases Physical Endurance

Smoking leads to inflammation of the arterial wall. Due to insufficient blood supply in the cells, the blood vessels constrict, which further causes plaque formation inside the arteries. This reduces the circulation of blood, and puts extra strain on your heart to meet the oxygen requirement of the body, especially at the time of excess physical activity, resulting in decreased physical endurance.

Increases Risk of Heart Diseases

The resting heart rate is the heart rate when the person is in a resting or relaxed state. This heart rate is highly increased in people who smoke, as their heart has to do extra work to meet the body's oxygen requirement. So, when a sportsperson who smokes performs his routine exercise, the heart rate can rise to dangerous levels, which might even cause a heart attack.

Shortness of Breath

Smoking may result in the build-up of tar, and causes the mucous membrane to get inflamed, which increases the airway resistance, making it difficult for the body to get proper oxygen. This may result in shortness of breath, and the player feels exhausted very soon.

Increases Risk of Bone Problems

The nicotine and cadmium content in cigarettes show toxic effects on the bone cells, and also lowers the amount of calcium absorbed in the body. This results in low bone density, which increases the risk of fractures and other bone problems.
These were some of the effects of smoking on sports performance. People who are into any type of sports, or are looking forward to making a career in sports, should avoid smoking completely. Many effects of smoking can be reversed if a person quits smoking.