Did you know within 20 minutes of quitting smoking your body and heart start to recover? This Monday, create a quit plan and jump-start your quit journey with some physical exercise.

Many people don’t consider the heart to be the main organ associated with the effects of smoking. People who smoke are at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Nicotine raises your heart rate and blood pressure while carbon monoxide causes oxygen levels in your blood and brain to decrease.

The good news is that quitting smoking on Monday is a step in the right direction! When you commit to quit, exercise can a be a resilient ally in your plan and it helps your heart to recover faster. Part of making a plan is to identify your triggers to light up, the next step is to be ready to cope with your cravings. Exercise allows you to work off the stress that may cause cravings and to effectively keep them at bay. It may also help put you in a better mood!

Plan to spend time exploring your exercise options. The easiest and quickest stress relief is just getting up and walking out the door for a #MondayMile, or a jog around the park, or around the block. The benefits of walking are enlightening. Walking clears your head, changes the scenery, distracts you, and can be fun, especially with friends and other supporters of your plan to quit.

Elevating your heart rate, a natural consequence of exercise, burns fat, aids in weight loss, improves your stamina, decreases cholesterol, and boosts your immune system.  Benefits you’ll want to keep receiving now that quitting is your plan.

Use every Monday to remind yourself why you’re quitting smoking, recommit to your plan, and conquer cravings with physical activity. Your heart will thank you!