How Smoking Affects your Muscular System?

Smoking remains to be the number one avoidable cause of death. There are components in a cigarette that damages the muscles contributing to the loss of bone mineral content and increased incidence of fractures. The end result is the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which cause skeletal muscle dysfunction. Smoking can also cause spine, muscle, and nervous disorder. When the bones are affected, you become weak and it can take longer for the muscle to recover consequently slowing down the healing process. Additionally, you become prone to developing bone or vascular diseases and muscle tears among others. Below are ways in which smoking affects your muscular system.

Decrease the Supply of Blood to Muscles

A publication in the Journal of Physiology says that smoking decreases the number of small blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to muscles in the legs. This limit your ability to exercise because your leg muscles become weak. The other way your muscles are deprived blood is through the high production of phlegm by smokers which hinders respiration, thus limiting the amount of oxygen entering the bloodstream. With blood flow difficulties, it also negatively impacts metabolism and the body ceases to function properly.

Increases the Risk of Bone Fractures

Smoking reduces your bone mineral content increasing the risks of bone fracture. Your bones weakness is associated with lung inflammation which limits activities and exercise. Weak bones can’t support heavy lifting or hold your body for long hours of a workout. Whenever a smoker tries to engage is some exercises, they expose themselves to the risk of injuries. For this reason, smokers are advised to avoid strength training and any other intense workout.

Weakens Body’s Collagen

Nicotine in cigarettes breaks down the collagen in the skin and body’s connective tissues including the muscles, blood vessels, bones, and tendons. Collagen is important as it holds your bones and muscles together, provides structures to joints and tendons and promotes skin elasticity. Collagen is meant to wear out with time but smoking accelerates its break down which can be dangerous for the body. Weaker collagen makes it hard for the body to generate tissues after an injury leading to delayed healing time for wounds.

Increases the Risk of Developing Osteoporosis

Cigarettes contain nicotine which slows down the production of bone-forming cells thus reducing their count. In addition to that, smoking reduces calcium absorption from food contributing to less bone mineral, therefore, developing fragile bones (osteoporosis). Furthermore, it breaks down estrogen, a compound used in building and maintaining a strong skeleton in humans. Research suggests that the chances of elderly smokers breaking their hips is about 30 to 40 percent more than nonsmokers.

Increases Heart Rate

Smoking increases your heartbeat by an average of 30 percent compared to a non-smoker. This is not good for exercising because your heart works harder to achieve adequate air circulation leading to use of more energy. Increased heart rate can increase blood pressure reducing the overall performance when doing the same workout as a nonsmoker. If your aim is to achieve muscles, your deteriorating performance yields less muscle or no muscles altogether. In addition to that, a high heartbeat rate can contribute to heart failure or stroke.

Damages Testosterone

If you’re trying to build muscle, you require normal or high testosterone levels. Smoking damages the cells that produce testosterone within the body, hence interfering with its production leaving you with lower than average. Since testosterone governs muscle growth from exercise and directed muscle training, lack of it minimizes the chances of building up.

Affects Endurance Power

Overall, smoking can diminish your energy power, including in the gym. The strain on your heart and lungs can leave you feeling generally less energetic compared to a nonsmoker. Cigarettes decrease your ability to endure long workout or intense exercises. Consequently, you must cut your exercise to a short schedule or no exercise at all. Even though you try as much as possible to exercise, you will keep on repeating without success and you will take longer to develop muscles.


It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been smoking. Quitting smoking at any point can help improve bone density and the ability of your bone and muscle to generate and heal. If you’re to undergo any surgery, you are encouraged to stop smoking in advance in order to improve the possibility of healing. If you have a hard time quitting, consult your doctor or behavioral therapist to help advice on the best nicotine replacement products. In case of pain or discomfort in your spine, muscles or joint, see the doctor immediately. The risks of smoking are real and come with adverse health effects. If you can, quit smoking today for a better health and a longer life.

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