Kicking butts in '14
If you smoke, there's one New Year's resolution you need to make -- and you already know what it is.
It's to quit, of course. Quit now, and will start to feel the benefits of quitting smoking. You can undo the damage and restore health to your body -- and new research shows that your heart can recover from the damage of a smoking habit much faster than anyone had ever thought.
Smoking, of course, is a recipe for heart disease, heart attack, heart failure and stroke -- not to mention a boost in the risk of dying of these conditions.
But even if you're a longtime heavy smoker, you could bring your heart risk back down to normal -- right in line with the risk of someone who never even touched a cigarette -- and you can do it in just a few short years.
If you've had a pack-a-day habit for 30 years, for example, you can restore health to your heart in as little as 8 years, according to a look at data on 853 quitters and 2,557 people who never smoked.
Eight years may sound like a long time, but it's really not. It's nothing next to the 30 years it took to build up all that damage, and it's nearly twice as fast as previously believed.
And bear in mind this is the time it takes to heal completely. Your heart will start to see the major benefits of quitting smoking a whole lot sooner than 8 years.
Your lungs will take longer to heal, but that's to be expected since the lungs are hit hardest by smoking. But if you quit now, they will start to fix themselves -- and you could feel the difference in a matter of weeks, not years.
If you're ready to turn your life around and quit, don't turn to meds or patches. Go cold turkey. It's far and away the most successful quitting strategy around, even if it's a little difficult at first. But you will improve and start feeling the benefits of quitting smoking in no time!
And if you need a little more help, try acupuncture and hypnosis. Both can help with the cravings, ease the stress and ensure success.