A new study says that, unlike what we initially suspected, it takes many years for your body to recover from the effects of smoking once you stop, in many cases up to 15-20 years in fact.
The good news is that big benefits are reaped in the short term:
The cardiovascular system (including heart and lungs) start to recover within hours! And you can see significant recovery within a year, and a significant drop in risk of heart disease within 5 years.
But this study suggests that it does take 15-20 years for a smoker's health to become similar to someone who never smoked.
Of course there are things you can do to accelerate recovery once you stop smoking, including:
- Exercise, especially exercise that gets your heart rate up (e.g. HIIT, running, swimming, cycling, climbing)
- High intake of anti-oxidant rich vegetables
- High intake of Omega 3 fatty acids (e.g. salmon, sardines)
- Access to fresh air (escaping the city as often as possible)
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Good quality sleep