Need a cigarette How going for a jog could ease your cravings
Exercise may serve as a good distraction while also boosting a person's mood, say experts
08:06 GMT, 27 August 2012
Beat those cravings: Jogging may prove a good distraction from smoking
Smokers who are trying to cut down or quit should work out the next time their cravings threaten to overcome them, say researchers.
A study that combined the data from 19 previous clinical trials found that a bout of exercise helped quitters reduce their nicotine cravings.
'Certainly, exercise seems to have
temporary benefits, and as such can be strongly recommended,' said
Adrian Taylor, a professor of exercise and health psychology at the
University of Exeter, who led the study.
However, whether this translated into a greater chance of stopping smoking completely was unclear.
In the trials used for the study, smokers were randomly assigned to either exercise – most often, brisk walking or biking – or some kind of 'passive' activity, such as watching a video or just sitting quietly.
Overall, people said they had less desire to smoke after working out than they did before, although the reason for this was unclear.
Prof Taylor said exercise may serve as a distraction, while being active might also boost people's mood, so that they don't feel as great a need to feel better by smoking.
None of the smokers in the study, published in the journal Addiction, was in a quit program or using nicotine replacement products, such as gums or patches. Since nicotine replacement therapy curbs cravings, exercise might have less of an effect on smokers using these products.
Around one in five adults smoke in the UK today but two-thirds of these wish to quit. Each year around 100,000 people die from smoking-related conditions such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart disease.
Treating smokers on the NHS is estimated to cost 2.7billion, while 2.9billion is lost in work productivity due to smoking breaks.
For information about quitting smoking visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk