Quit smoking tips abound. Some are science-based. Some aren’t. One with scientific efficacy is exercise, and a little goes a long way.
As little as five minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, can help smokers quit by reducing cravings for a cigarette and symptoms of withdrawal, according to recent research.*
Lead scientist Dr. Adrian Taylor of the University of Exeter in London and colleagues reviewed 12 papers involving nearly 1,400 people that examined the link between exercise and nicotine depravation.
The scientists focused on exercises that didn’t require a gym membership, such as walking and strength training using free weights. According to their data, just five minutes of exercise rapidly reduced cravings for a cigarette and symptom withdrawals like stress, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, tension, and poor concentration, “and they remained reduced for up to 50 minutes after exercise,” the researchers reported.
Moreover, concluded the British team, the effects of exercise were as effective as a nicotine patch.
The data offer new insights into why so many smokers who come to the Pritikin Longevity Center are able to kick the habit. “We’ve also observed that many of our guests quit smoking without gaining weight, and, of course, that’s a major benefit,” notes Scott Danberg, MS, Director of Exercise at Pritikin. “Many even lose weight.”
Quick Smoking Tips That Lift Mood
Physical activity, theorized Dr. Taylor, may produce mood-enhancing hormones such as dopamine, which may reduce smokers’ nicotine dependence.
* Addiction, 2007; 102 (4): 534.