Smokers who want to quit smoking may use nicotine patch to relieve themselves from the withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine patch only has one-third of nicotine usually found in cigarette smoke. So, it can help you to reduce your dependence on nicotine. But what if you exercise while using a nicotine patch? Will it cause any complications?
First, you need to understand how the patch works. Nicotine patch is available in three dosages: 21mg, 14mg, and 7mg. Its objective is to reduce the consumption level of nicotine gradually over time, usually in a period of 12 weeks. When you apply the patch on your skin, the nicotine will enter your blood stream through the skin. You will begin to cut down the dosage according to the schedule as advised by your doctor. Then you stop completely at the end of the treatment period.
Exercise can provide many health benefits. In quitting smoking, exercise can reduce stress and help to shed off unwanted weight. Many smokers fear weight gain when they stop smoking. To convince yourself that exercise can improve your health, especially after quitting smoking, record your resting pulse on the day you quit. Monitor your pulse again after six weeks. You will notice a sharp drop in your pulse. This means there's improvement in your heart.
Recently, an Austrian research concluded that regular exercise can help smokers using nicotine patch to quit smoking. In the study which involves 68 subjects, 80% of the participants who exercise remained smoke free at the end of three months compared to 52% who didn't exercise.
However, some researches believe that strenuous exercise can lead to nicotine toxicity. When you exercise, your skin temperature increases, your blood vessels expand, and your circulation improves. This will double the absorption of nicotine from the patch into the blood stream. As a result, you may suffer from a heart attack.
The two missing elements in the Austrian study are: do the participants who exercise have their patches applied and how strenuous are the exercises performed. Since no studies can confirm this concern, it is suggested that smokers remove the patches two hours before engaging in any strenuous exercise.
If you plan to use nicotine patch, your chances of quitting will be higher when combined with regular exercise. Just remember to take the patch out before you start the exercise. Daily exercise can help you to ease the withdrawal symptoms. You should consult with your doctor before you begin this program. Your doctor can help you to plan a schedule to reduce the dosage of nicotine patch.