Smoking cessation success rate higher for those with regular exercise program

  • Published
  • By Traci Fuhrman, M.S
  • 72nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron
Recent data has demonstrated that smokers who participate in a regular exercise program have a much higher smoking cessation success rate. The more physically active you are, the greater your success rate.

If you are a smoker or used to smoke, you know that quitting is one of the hardest things to do. The American Lung Association reports that successfully quitting often requires multiple attempts and a combination of counseling and smoking cessation medication is the most beneficial.

But, did you know there is a simple solution to help you quit? It's regular physical activity. Exercise can help you cope with the physical and psychological aspects of nicotine addiction. Exercise not only helps to limit weight gain but also decreases cigarette cravings. Withdrawal symptoms and cravings decrease during exercise and can last up to 50 minutes afterward. Exercise can also decrease your appetite, distract your thoughts from smoking, improve your mood, increase your energy level and help you cope with stress.

Cardiovascular exercise is immensely beneficial to the body. It increases blood flow, improves heart disease prevention, boosts positive mood and fosters a sense of well-being. There are numerous ways to engage in cardiovascular exercise including aerobics, biking, calisthenics (burpees, jumping jacks), dancing, jogging, karate, kickboxing, running and swimming.

To help increase your physical activity and increase your smoking cessation success, follow these simple tips:

· Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on three to five days a week.

· Make exercise a priority and put it on your schedule. If you can't set aside the recommended 30 minutes, at least exercise in 10-minute sessions.

· Be sure to choose activities you enjoy. Start slowly and build up to more frequent or more intense exercise.

· It may help to stick to your exercise plans by signing up for a class or arranging to exercise with a buddy.

As you begin your exercise program you may initially experience shortness of breath, but keep with it. Over time, you will notice it's easier to breathe and exercise once you have quit your lung function improves.

If you stay committed to your smoking cessation exercise program, your appearance, lungs, mood and overall health can improve dramatically. It's also easier to prevent relapse if you are constantly reaping the rewards of not smoking. Call Laura Crowder at the Health and Wellness Center at 734-5506 for more information and to get started on your healthier lifestyle today.