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Tips on improving your health

Exercise to reduce cigarette craving

It has long been proven that cigarette smoking contributes to many illnesses such as hypertension, heart disease and cancer, among others. With the current emphasis on improved health and wellness, many smokers are turning to nicotine patches and other pharmaceutical products in attempting to kick the habit. However these drugs are not always successful and may have unpleasant side effects. Studies have proven that exercise can reduce cigarette craving and help you quit the habit altogether.

How can exercise reduce cigarette craving?

Many people smoke out of habit, but others do so when they are anxious, under stress or unable to concentrate. Exercise releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain, which helps to improve mood, relieve stress, raise concentration levels and make the need for cigarettes redundant. It has also been found that exercise increases blood flow to areas in the brain that are affected by triggers for cigarettes.

How much exercise is needed?

It takes as little as fifteen minutes of walking, cycling, swimming or stretching to produce the feel-good effects that can stave off the craving for a cigarette. It doesn't have to be strenuous, doesn't require particular equipment, or has to be done at a particular time. Any aerobic activity that is pleasurable can elevate your mood and reduce cravings. A good practice would be to perform this activity whenever you feel a craving coming on. Dancing to music from the radio or your personal player, gardening, walking up stairs or any other physical activity you can come up with will do the trick. After a while, you will find that you are able to stay away from smoking for longer periods until you can quit altogether.

Many people say that quitting smoking leads to weight gain, however, that is because they tend to substitute the cigarette with food or chewing gum. An added bonus of exercise is that it reduces the need for snacking between meals. Exercise not only eliminates cigarette craving but sugar craving as well, making weight gain unlikely.


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