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  • Ex-Smoker

    I'm an ex-smoker (two months now) after 11 years of smoking about a pack a day. I'm trying to get back in shape (I've been doing weight training, pushups, and situps) but I'm having extreme difficulty with my running.

    Does anyone know of a good way for me to break up all the mucus that has built up over time in my lungs? It's seriously hindering my ability to maintain any run for more than 3 minutes without stopping to catch my breath.

    I'll never pass any physical agility test at this rate.

    I see officers who smoke and wonder exactly how they got on the force? There are also some posts in here where people claim they continued to smoke during the academy and passed with flying colors. I truly find this hard to believe.

    So please, if anyone knows of anything I can do to speed up the process of clearing my lungs I'd love to hear it. Thanks!

    PS - I realize there is no overnight magic formula, but there has got to be something I can do to facilitate the process

  • #2
    Dude, how old are you? Younger guys can get away with smoking and PT better than older guys.

    Go to the nearest high school. Take a partner with. Take water with (not beer or sodas). Stretch out good before you start. Begin with wind sprints . . . 40, 50, 60 yard dashes. Start off at a modest pace and work your way up to your top speed then move up to quarter mile sprints. The harder you work the faster you'll clear your lungs.

    I haven't smoked in 15-18 years, I've lost count. While in the academy in 1987, I had to quit smoking to make my required time; 12:25 for a mile and a half. 6 weeks of wind sprints, and no smokes, and I made my final @ 11:40. I started smoking after graduation and made up for lost time. I quit for good a few years later.

    Wind sprints dude . . . and put your *** into it if you want to succeed. They will clear your lungs.


    • #3
      I had the same problem when I started testing... aside from the obvious (running more) there is a great quick fix. Get a pack of menthol Halls cough drops and start sucking on one right before and during your run. The menthol helps open up your airways, making it a little easier to breathe. Just don't choke and I'm sure it will help.


      • #4
        I'm not a smoker and never have been but the guy who stated that younger guys are able to cope with it better is telling the truth. Most guys that go to the academy are fairly young and even if they are smokers, they havent been for 11 years. You have alot of crap built up around your lungs and it will take time to remove it. Water is the key thing. Just drinking alot of water will flush your organs and help them rebuild themselves. As far as the running goes, I would just try to build up. I run 3 times a week about 4 miles a day. It takes time to build up to that even if you've never been a smoker. It will take time. Just keep at it and dont try to run a marathon from the get go.
        "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the son's of God."


        • #5
          Best thing I can tell you is lots of water and Robitussin DM. The DM in the cough syrup helps to thin out the mucus and the more water you drink the easier it is to get it out of your lungs. You can also try the mucinex pills or whatever they are.
          It's a CERT thing. You wouldn't understand.


          • #6
            Time will clear your lungs. A buddy of mine quit after about 15 years, and it took a few months for him to stop coughing stuff up.
            The important thing is to not go back to smoking. I quit for good almost 6 months ago, and I really throw myself into my workouts as a way of not slipping back into old habits. Then I marvel over how much and how easily I can run now, and that provides motivation to never go back. Just keep it up! You're doing all the right things. Good luck.


            • #7
              I used to smoke too. Aside from general running there is something else you could do, but it is hard. Depends on how bad you want to reach your goal.

              So you wanna test those lungs out, one word: SPRINT.

              Yes, wind sprints. Not only will they cause your body to burn calories like crazy for days after. You build muscle and down right get up an go ability. You increase your WIND. You breathe so hard you think your lungs will implode. Wind sprints will in fact bust that stuff up faster than anything and will help offset those years of smoking by forcing your lungs to grow grow grow to take on more volume.

              5 to 10 spints is all you need. No more, each time you run at the END of your workout. This seriously works. I also believe this is more practical to what we as cops do, from a stop to a full sprint then fight. wind sprints build practical ability. Simply look up sprinting programs via google or any other search engine to get you started.
              Good luck.
              "Anyone is capable of anything"

              "I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything I thought it could be".

              -Peter Gibbons
              Office Space


              • #8

                Man you guys were absolutely right about the sprinting. It's been a few weeks now since my post and ive been concentrating on wind sprints. I've never coughed so much in my life (even as a smoker). I don't run out of breath anymore like I used to, although i still have a long way to go.

                Now my calf muscles get tired before i run out of breath. But that's just an endurance issue. It should get better with time and more running.

                And the advice about taking robitussin or mucinex was right on the money except for one thing. Its not the DM (i.e. Robitussin DM or Mucinex DM) that works. Because i found out that the DM is a cough suppresant which kind of defeats the purpose. Instead, i took the regular mucinex (No DM) and that too along with the sprints is helping to clear my lungs... that and lots of water.

                I actually feel so much better now and more confident that i can do the mile and a half run.

                I think in several more weeks i'll be right where i need to be.

                Thanks for all the great advice guys.


                • #9
                  Glad to hear you quit, 2 mo is a great start! Keep it up

                  Heres a time line I found on the web of what is going on since your last cigarette

                  20 minutes
                  Your blood pressure, pulse rate, and the temperature of your hands and feet will all return to normal.

                  12 hours
                  Your blood oxygen level will have increased to normal and carbon monoxide levels will have dropped to normal.

                  48 hours
                  Damaged nerve endings have started to regrow and your sense of smell and taste are beginning to return to normal.

                  72 hours
                  Your entire body will test 100% nicotine-free and over 90% of all nicotine metabolites will now have passed from your body via your urine. You can also expect the symptoms of chemical withdrawal to have peaked in intensity. Your bronchial tubes are beginning to relax thus making it easier to breathe. Your lung capacity has also started to increase.

                  10 days to 2 weeks
                  Your body has physically adjusted to again functioning without nicotine and the more than 3,500 chemical particles and 500 gases present in each and every puff.

                  2 weeks to 3 months
                  Your heart attack risk has started to drop. Your lung function is beginning to improve.

                  3 weeks to 3 months
                  Your circulation has substantially improved. Walking has become easier. Your chronic cough, if any, has likely disappeared.

                  1 to 9 months
                  Any smoking related sinus congestion, fatigue or shortness of breath have decreased. Cilia have regrown in your lungs thereby increasing their ability to handle mucus, keep your lungs clean, and reduce infections. Your body's overall energy has increased.

                  1 year
                  Your excess risk of coronary heart disease has dropped to less than half that of a smoker.

                  5 to 15 years
                  Your risk of stroke has declined to that of a non-smoker.

                  10 years
                  Your risk of death from lung cancer has declined by almost half if you were an average smoker (one pack per day). Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus has now decreased.

                  15 years
                  Your risk of coronary heart disease is now that of a person who has never smoked.


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