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Cigarette cravings

Exercise shown to powerfully decrease cigarette cravings

Wednesday, April 04, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: cigarette cravings, physical exercise, health news

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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.

Jump directly to: conventional view | bottom line

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.
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