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Trying to quit smoking? Go for a run

These days we’re all up to speed on the negative consequences smoking can have on our health and wellbeing. But kicking the habit isn’t always as easy as Alan Carr makes out. Now British scientists believe exercise may play a vital role in helping smokers cut down or quit, linking bouts of exercise to a reduction in nicotine cravings.

The research, which was published in the scientific journal Addiction, looked at data from 19 clinical trials in which smokers were randomly assigned to either exercise or passive activity groups. Whilst the results show that those who endured exercise – which included brisk walking or biking – enjoyed a reduction in their nicotine cravings, the researchers couldn’t conclude if this would translate in a greater likelihood to quit.

‘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 in Britain, who led the study.

Whilst those who exercised had less desire to smoke than they did before working out, researchers are not sure of the exact reasons why. Taylor believes it’s likely the exercise might work as a distraction, whilst also boosting mood, leaving the smoker less likely to crave nicotine in the aftermath of their workout.

Whatever the mechanism, if you’re trying to cut back on your cigarettes, next time a craving comes along, think about putting on your runners and heading out for a jog.

Are you trying to quit smoking? What methods have you tried?

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About the Author

Lizzy has more than ten years’ experience in the print and digital publishing arena and is the Editor at Single File. Having moved from the UK to Australia in 2008, Lizzy has worked for a number of leading publishers in Sydney and has particular expertise in the health, wellness and travel markets. If you have any questions for Lizzy, you can send them across by email to

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