Even mild exercise can help stave off cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms as well as decrease a smoker's chance of reaching for a cigarette, according to a study published in the journal "Addiction." Researchers from the University of Exeter and the University of Toronto reviewed 14 previously published studies and compared the results.
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What you need to know - Conventional View
• Twelve of the studies reviewed demonstrated that a bout of exercise caused a rapid decrease in cigarette cravings, withdrawal symptoms and other negative effects of cigarette addiction.
• As little as five minutes of simple exercises such as walking, isometrics, or muscle flexing proved as effective as a nicotine patch in decreasing an immediate craving.
• A high-intensity bout of exercise decreased cravings for 30 to 40 minutes, whereas a light bout decreased them for 15 minutes.
• The majority of studies that looked at withdrawal symptoms found that exercise caused a significant decrease in at least two of six symptoms: anxiety, irritability, restlessness, stress, tension and poor concentration.
• The researchers noted that further studies are needed to discover the mechanisms by which exercise affects the body's response to addiction.
• Quote: "Relatively small doses of exercise should be recommended as an aid to managing cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms." - study authors Adrian H. Taylor, Michael H. Ussher and Guy Faulkner
Bottom line• Exercise can be used to stave off cigarette cravings.