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Guard Your Health is a resource for Army National Guard Soldiers and family members. Find health-related tools and information. Hear from fellow Soldiers and Families. Make medical readiness part of your personal mission.

I quit smoking cold turkey in December. I gained 15 lbs. I have recently started to lose the weight. My problem now is I can’t seem to get my physical activity up to the same level it was before I quit smoking. I knew my run time would suffer some initially, but I expected it to come back by now. I am so happy I quit smoking and would never think about going back to it. I just wish I could bring back my run. Any suggestions?

Thanks for reaching out. We commend you for quitting! As you’ve probably experienced, you gain many health benefits when you quit tobacco.

It will take time to get your groove back. Your body needs time to build up endurance and stamina. You can do this by:

  • Exercising at least 15 minutes a day. Try our Drill Deck—you can work out anytime, anywhere, no gym equipment necessary.
  • Doing “walk-run” intervals three to four times per week. Walk for 90 seconds, then run for 30. Repeat 10 times for a total of 20 minutes.
  • Strength train two or three times a week to build muscle. Need workout ideas you can do at home? Try our #WarriorReady Workout videos.

To get back into top running shape, you can also:

  • Run hill sprints. You can do this outside on a hill or by increasing the incline on a treadmill. Hill sprints will help you burn fat and increase your running speed.
  • Start with shorter distances and work your way up to your run goal. Register for 5Ks and 10Ks to help motivate you.
  • Work out with a friend. He or she will help you stick to your fitness goals and make it more fun!
  • Pick the right shoes for running and correctly lace them.

In addition to exercising, it’s important to fuel your body right. This will help not only with your running but also with weight loss. Make sure you hydrate properly and eat balanced meals. Also, manage your calories to help reach or maintain your goal weight.

If you still don’t feel like you’re in the place you want to be physically, talk to your Medical Readiness NCO or medical health professional. Good luck on your fitness journey!

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