British Lung Foundation
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So I am happy to say that I have been smoke free for almost 9 months and I feel amazing. Around that same time I started working out 4 days a week at the YMCA. I now have a personal trainer that I meet with once a week for weight training and a "once a week butt kicking". I am fit and in the best shape of my life at 42 years old, however, if he has me do any kind of high intensity exercise I get incredibly winded and have to take a few minutes to be able to catch my breath and have almost passed out because I can't breath. It is so frustrating that I am able to lift weights like the "big boys" but cardio kicks my butt. I would like to be more toned but I can't seem to do the exercise I need to to get me there. My body is able to do more but my lungs keep restricting me. Is that normal for this amount of time smoke-free? Any suggestions on how to open up my breathing more. It's pretty scary when you struggle so hard to catch a breath. I never had any of the coughing or phlegm like I've heard others have after quitting. Am I expecting too much too soon?

2 Replies

Yes you possibly are expecting too much too soon especially as I imagine this is the first time you have done this much exercise. Try pursed lip breathing when you get sob when exercising and this should help. Take things easy and step up your exercise slowly. Eventually you will get there.

All the best and well done on giving up the smoking. My partner gave up smoking at about your age and although a fit man - he was a PT instructor he still has damage to his lungs from the years of smoking which no amount of exercise or medication can help with. Though he is still as fit or fitter than most people his age.

Good Luck


I would really suggest you go and speak to your GP or practice nurse to get a lung function test - just to see if all is well on that front. And speak to them about what you are experiencing during exercise.

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