For the longest time, health experts across the world have reiterated the ill effects of smoking on lungs, however a latest study claims that it can take a toll on your legs too. Yes you heard us. Researchers said that components in cigarette smoke may directly damage the muscles in your leg as well.
Smoking could directly damage the muscles by reducing the number of blood vessels in leg muscles, which in turn can reduce the amount of oxygen and nutrients the muscles received, revealed the study published in The Journal of Physiology.
"It is vitally important that we show people that the use of tobacco cigarettes has harmful consequences throughout the body, including large muscle groups needed for daily living, and develop strategies to stop the damage triggered by the detrimental components of cigarette smoke," said lead author Ellen Breen from the University of California-San Diego, US.
For the study, the team of researchers from California along with Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and Kochi University in Japan, exposed the mice to smoke from tobacco cigarettes for eight weeks. The carried out thee experiment by either by inhalation or by injecting them with a solution bubbled with smoke.
The findings also revealed that the reduced level of oxygen and nutrients due to reduced blood vessels may impact the metabolism and activity levels. It is to be noted that both these are risk factors for many chronic diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes.
One limitation of the study is that it could not identify the chemical responsible out of the 4,000 chemicals in a cigarette smoke that caused the muscle damage.
Researchers believe that further investigation is required to investigate the link. Along with the better understanding of the process by which they reduce the number of blood vessels.
Importance of Strong and Healthy Legs on Brain
Those missing out on the importance of leg day, should rethink their move. According to a recent study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, leg muscles contribute to a healthy nervous system.
Here are some foods and exercise you can try for enhanced muscle strength
Foods For Legs
For strong legs you must load up on food that is rich in vitamin D. Here are some foods you must load up on to increase your vitamin D intake naturally.
1. Cheese: Cheese is one of the richest sources of vitamin D. Ricotta is said to have the highest levels of vitamin D. Cheese is also considered as a rich source of good fat and calcium
2. Mushrooms: Mushrooms are packed with decent quantum of vitamin D. Make sure you clean the mushrooms well before using. You can have them in broths, stews or salads.
4. Egg yolk: Since the vitamin D in an egg comes from its yolk, it's important to use the whole egg--not just the whites. Don't toss away the yolk, unless you have a cholesterol problem.
5. Raw Milk: Raw milk is one of the best sources for vitamin D. Vegans can try Soy milk, which is also very rich in the sunshine vitamin.
Here are some exercises you can try at home for stronger legs
Stand straight with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Pause, then slowly push yourself back to the starting position. This is the main Body Move Squat.
There are other squats as well like Body-Weight Jump Squat. Place your fingers on the back of your head and pull your elbows back so that they're in line with your body. Bend your knees in preparation to leap and jump as high as you can. When you land, immediately squat down and jump again.
Pistol Squat -Stand holding your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level, parallel to the floor. Raise your right leg off the floor, and hold it there. Push your hips back and lower your body as far as you can. Pause, then push your body back to the starting position.
This is another efficient and easy exercise to get those muscular legs. Lunges also help in providing better balance, being more functional, superior symmetry, increased hip flexor flexibility, improved glute activation, better core stability, spinal deloading and others.
This is how you can perform lunges: Start by standing up straight with your feet hip-width apart and flat on the ground. Place your right foot forward on the ground, heel first. Lean your body forward keeping your back and upper body straight. Hold this position and lower your body until your right knee is at a 90-degree angle to the ground. Keep your back straight and push yourself back to the original position with your right foot. Repeat with the other leg.
(With inputs from IANS)