Smoking While Exercising: What Could Go Wrogn?

Image from the film "Splash" (1984)Ever since I saw John Candy having a cigarette while playing racquetball in “Splash”, I’ve thought that people who smoke while exercising just look cool and sexy as hell.

So I’ve conditioned myself to smoke both weed and cigarettes when I run. Yes, there are mountains of clinical data explaining what an awful idea this is. But almost everything I advocate doing on this blog is an awful idea from a clinical standpoint.

Let’s just say you already smoke cigarettes and/or weed… what if, while running, you stop to smoke a bowl or have a cigarette, then run another couple miles?

Your heart rate is going to go up, but it’s not like that never happens. Your lung capacity will diminish, so your stamina will suffer some degree of a slump.

Let’s say I’m running and I just stopped for a cigarette or a big bowl of grandaddy purp. Right about the ninth step, I’ll get that “Damn! I don’t feel like doing this right now at all!” feeling. But just keep striding through it, and it passes, and you’re fine. I don’t think smoke breaks will significantly hurt the exercise regimen of a smoker.

Plenty of everyday smokers have been great athletes. I’m told Mario Lemieux, Vlade Divac, Keith Hernandez, and John Elway all smoked at the height of their career success. Bay Area hockey fans will note that the Sharks’ Dany Heatley smokes. And you know that more than half of the NBA smokes weed.

Smoking is unconditionally bad for you. But if you exercise, you are an inherently less-unhealthy smoker. “If people can quit, that’s the best thing,” Dr. Robert Sallis, director of sports medicine at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fontana, tells the L.A. Times. “If you can’t stop smoking, exercise will mitigate some of the effects.”

Smokers who run know that nothing beats a cigarette while you’re walking in your “cooldown” period after a multiple miles run. Plus you hack up a ton of garbage while you run, clearing your airways. And you sort of thwart the pulmonary diseases that the smoking is giving you.

Stoners who run know that the iPod plus some Northern California skunkweed is a stellar combination. You can just zone out on the music and forget you’re running. But please do pay attention to traffic.

I watched “Splash” again just to get that screengrab above, and really recommend you treat yourself to a repeat viewing sometime. It is really a magnificent film. One of the things I was taken by was a line from the late John Candy, not about smoking, but resonant to readers of this blog:

“Drinking is really a matter of algebraic ratios. How drunk you get is dependent on how much alcohol you consume in relation to your total body weight. You see my point? It’s not that you’ve had a lot to drink, it’s just you’re too skinny.”

Never forget John Candy.

13 Responses to “Smoking While Exercising: What Could Go Wrogn?”

  1. Dude you are so funny!

  2. bigbadblackman Says:

    hell yeah. i beez smokin da chronic while i beez playin some hoops and im so fine. all diz white boy chit dat sayz you cant smoke da bud while exercising beez wack. Oh by the way—I HATE WHITE PEOPLE.

  3. I rarely laugh out loud when reading blog posts. I did while reading this one. I love your site!

  4. Even some Olympians smoke. Sure, they’re ping pong players, but still:

  5. styroteqe Says:

    Nice! I used to smoke canadian herbal tobacco before going to the gym and running on the treadmill. Always made the time fly by, and I’ve heard that it gives you a better cardiovascular workout. Certainly improved my workouts, that’s for sure.

  6. iamjackscolon Says:

    I almost never go for a run that doesn’t start with a huge inhalation of the sticky-icky-icky. 3-4 miles, and I can still come back with a little buzz on, but perhaps I need to bring along the dugout for my long run.

  7. Smoking before or during exercise, even though it makes you have less stamina can make the exercise itself more productive.
    Muscles develop by working hard with not enough oxygen, and cigerettes greatly decrease the oxygen in your blood for about 20 minutes after have one. That’s why olympic athletes run on mountains and stuff where the oxygen is thin.

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