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Gymming and its effects on smoking

health-and-fitness Updated: May 25, 2011 02:09 IST
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Wondering if hitting the gym will have a direct impact on your nicotine cravings? Well, it might. But the positive effects don’t last long, at least according to new research. Recently published online in the journal Addictive Behaviors, researchers found no chronic effect of exercise on cigarette cravings, meaning that subjects who hit the gym noticed a post-workout reduction in cravings, but they didn’t last long, from several hours to 1-2 days, researchers said.

“One implication for these findings is that exercise may be a useful treatment strategy,” said David Williams, researcher at the US’s Brown University, “but it has to be done frequently enough and consistently enough because the effects that it has diminish over time.” In an earlier study, British researchers found that a single 10-minute workout session cut nicotine cravings. How does it work? Exercise produces neurotransmitters including dopamine, a feel-good chemical that can provide the same positive mood as smoking. But science has yet to provide concrete practical exercise recommendation for kicking the habit, because the benefits of a workout aren’t that long lasting, researchers say. Still, exercise does your body good in myriad ways.

George Washington University in the US advises doing something you enjoy. Cardiovascular exercise such as sports, running, or dancing can bolster energy, burn fat, and lift your mood by releasing vital endorphins and dopamine. Also, try yoga or Pilates to quiet your mind and relax frayed nerves.