FEBRUARY 21, 2007

Working out doesn't make a difference when...

       Why do people go to the gym? Perhaps to lose weight, build muscle, look better, live a healthier lifestyle, right? These are all legitimate reasons to go and pump some iron. I think most of us can understand that.
       And if youíve been reading my column for any length of time youíll have figured out that just by that opening thereís something I donít get. Iíll set the scene for you and see if you can figure out what doesnít fit: You pack up the gym clothes, fill the water bottle, get to the gym, pass the smokers taking a break from their workout to blacken their lungs and poison their bodies and youíre on your way for a sweat-drenched fitness session.
       Did you catch it? All the hard work a person puts into a fitness regimen is essentially washed away with one puff Ė just one Ė of that cigarette. Donít get me wrong, there are plenty of other habits people have that defeat the purpose of going to the gym.  For instance, eating junk food after going to the gym is a good example of this. But at the same time, itís a counterbalance because the body is burning off the calories or fat it consumed throughout the day.
       When it comes to smoking, all the working out a person can do is not going to clean all the black off the lungs from a cigaretteís over 4,000 toxic chemicals. Sure the physical activity may (and Iíll stress the word ďmayĒ) open up the lungs and get the blood flowing but not enough to cancel out the deadly effects of the nasty habit roughly 21 per cent of Canadians have.
       Iíll be the first to admit that nobody is perfect and most of us will do some unhealthy things from time to time. The occasional bag of chips or a few cookies here or there doesnít help and Iím guilty of that. The difference with smoking is that the effects are longer term and often irreversible.
       And letís think about something else too: many adults (my parents included) donít want to expose their precious grandchildren to second-hand smoke but have no problem putting it in their own body. It always begs the question- why isnít your life as important? It ought to be.
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