Exercise May Help Curb Smoking Cravings

Posted on August 28 2012

Exercise is an important activity in daily life that helps deter medical problems like heart disease and diabetes, keeps your muscles and joints in working order, and helps to keep weight in check. Physical activity can also increase a person’s self esteem, not just from the results, but from the physical hormonal effects that exercising produces in our bodies. Did you know that it can also help you quit smoking?

A new study shows that exercise is a great way to fight your way through cravings if you are quitting smoking. Exercise provides a distraction from the urge to smoke, and can help increase a positive feeling about yourself through its many benefits.

Exercise is not being looked at as a smoking cessation tool, but more as an aid to curbing the nicotine cravings. A new study out of the UK took a look at those who were either trying to cut down on smoking, or quit altogether. They put one group into an exercise regimen and another into a “sitting and doing nothing” regimen, and examined how they were able to handle their nicotine cravings. Those who exercised claimed to not have any issues with fighting the cravings and, in fact, wanted to smoke less all together, especially during “cool down” times, post-exercise. Conversely, those in the sedentary group had a tougher time fighting these cravings.

While there is no correlation that exercise will actually help you quit, the fact that it reduces cravings for nicotine is helpful to anyone trying to kick the habit. In theory, exercise could provide the answer to quitting smoking, especially when working with the word “habit.” Smoking is that, a habit, both for the need for nicotine and for the action of smoking. However, exercise is also a habit, especially for those who actually run, walk, bike, or lift weights regularly. While there is a level of will-power that must go into quitting smoking, it is also possible that the need for cigarettes, to fulfill that habit, can be replaced by exercise.

While studies continue to investigate the correlation between quitting smoking and exercise, it is interesting to know that exercise can temporarily help you beat the urge to smoke. Habitual smoking can make it difficult to exercise, so cutting down or quitting will make exercising easier. By making exercising easier, you can actually curb that urge to light up, and possibly have a more successful time quitting than by using cessation aids alone. As an added bonus, exercising regularly while trying to quit smoking can help keep those pesky pounds off – you know, the pounds that magically appear through the quitting process - making this a perfect “quit now” plan for anyone.



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Daily Mail:

Psych Central:


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