If you’ve set as a New Year’s Resolution this year to kick the tar habit once and for all, set yourself up for success. Add as many supportive tricks and tools as possible to the stop-smoking plan as you near the quit date circled on the calendar. A recent study has uncovered yet another tool to stuff into your kick-cravings belt—and it’s likely easier than you think to use. Hint: Go and get yourself some spiffy new sneakers.
When a team of researchers reviewed a collection of 19 small clinical trials that analyzed the immediate effects of exercise on smokers’ cigarette cravings, they discovered that exercise could be a simple and effective way to fight nicotine cravings because its fast-acting benefits can strengthen smokers’ resolve against nicotine cravings.
The study, appearing in the August 2012 issue of the journal Addiction, was supported by the global research organization, The Cochrane Collaboration.
When smokers were assigned to sedentary activities (such as watching a video) or fitness (such as biking or brisk walking), researchers found that smokers who exercised had diminished cigarette cravings compared those who were sedentary. In fact, those who exercised in some way reported having levels of cravings lowered by about a third compared to those who did a passive activity, researcher Adrian A. Taylor, a professor of exercise and health psychology at University of Exeter, told Reuters.
If you’d like to take the edge off intense, hard-to-overpower cigarette cravings, try amping up exercise and see how that works for you. Keep multiple pairs of sneakers and simple workout clothes stashed at home, at the office, in the car, and at the gym (no excuses). Also keep music devices (and chargers) juiced and handy. Don’t underestimate the power of a brisk walk, which can be done nearly anytime and anywhere, and thereby may be especially useful to combat cravings.
It is not known why exercise may ease cravings and not clear whether it actually translates into smokers having an improved chance of quitting, stress the researchers. It it thought that exercise may help lower cravings by means of offering a distraction that is stronger than the pull of strong nicotine cravings.
Of course, exercise alone would not be enough to help the vast majority of smokers who want to kick the habit. The average smoker endures an average six serious quit attempts before giving up the nicotine habit for good, according to the American Lung Association. The study’s researchers suggest smokers looking to quit employ multiple therapies together, such as support groups, talk therapy, technologies, nicotine replacement, and/or medication.
Has exercise helped You overcome cigarette cravings?