Home > News & Events > News > 2009 > april-juni > “Smokers’ muscles tire more quickly”
News archive
04/09/2009

“Smokers’ muscles tire more quickly”

Smokers’ muscles tire much more quickly than those of non-smokers, irrespective of how many cigarettes they smoke per day or how long they have smoked.

Smokers’ muscles tire much more quickly than those of non-smokers, irrespective of how many cigarettes they smoke per day or how long they have smoked. In his PhD thesis, Rob Wüst concluded that smoking has an immediate effect on muscles, possibly as a result of the reduced oxygen supply and oxygen deficiency in the muscle due to substances in cigarette smoke. He studied how changes in skeletal muscles can result from smoking and will obtain his doctorate for this work on 9 April 2009.

Wüst used smokers and non-smokers with normal lung functions as his test subjects. He stimulated the upper leg muscles of his subjects, causing these muscles to contract regularly. This enabled him to see what happens to the muscles without having to take any differences in motivation into account. It appeared that the smokers’ muscles tired much sooner than those of the non-smokers, irrespective of the number of cigarettes the subject smoked per day or how long he or she had smoked. It therefore looks as though smoking has an immediate effect on muscles, possibly by reducing the supply or use of oxygen, due to substances in the cigarette smoke.

It this is the case, it is not only important that smokers stop smoking to prevent worsening of lung problems during chronic lung failure (COPD) - a sickness that is becoming increasingly frequent in the Netherlands – but may also contribute to the rapid improvement of these patients’ exercise capacity.

© Copyright VU University Amsterdam

spamfuik@vu.nl