Smoking cessation can lead to better health, but finding ways to kick the habit can be difficult. Regular exercise can reverse some of the harmful effects of nicotine and also make it easier to stop smoking.
A study published February 22 from University of Georgia researchers and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, revealed that exercise can reduce anxiety by twenty percent. Exercise is a natural way to reduce anxiety associated with smoking cesssation.
Smokers who exercise were also found to find cigarettes less appealing, found in a study from researchers at University of Exeter and published in the journal Addiction.
Past studies have shown that brisk walking can reduce cravings for cigarettes, as well as reducing the urge to light up from smoking cues.
University of Exeter PhD student Kate Janse Van Rensburg said: "We know that smoking-related images can be powerful triggers for smokers who are abstaining. While we are no longer faced with advertisements for cigarettes, smokers are still faced with seeing people smoking on television, in photographs or in person. We know that this makes it more difficult for them to quit." Regular exercise can combat nicotine cravings.
Patients with COPD from smoking can also benefit from regular supervised exercise that improves quality of life.
Smoking is not only linked to lung cancer and respiratory disease. It can also increase the chances of vision loss with aging, may increase therisk for Lou Gehrig's disease, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, colon and rectal cancer, and stroke. One study also shows that inhaling your own second hand smoke leads to worse health outcomes than previously known.
Regular exercise can be a valuable tool to help with smoking cessation, but should be guided by your physician, especially if you have been sedentary. Regular exercise can help you stop smoking, but also has benefits for boosting body image and self esteem, weight loss and lower risk of chronic illness and disability.
Environmental Health 2010,9:5doi:10.1186/1476-069X-9-5
Addiction: DOI 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02692.x
Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(4):321-331