One of the most popular New Year resolutions is to stop smoking tobacco products like cigarettes. It is a significant step towards a healthy lifestyle. Yet overcoming the addiction is extremely challenging. Science is giving us tools to help.
Studies show that more than fifty percent of attempts to quit smoking are not successful. This statistic is very disheartening for someone who wishes to quit smoking. It is thought that his rate is at least partly due to the limited efficacy of the substitution products currently available.
So what else can a smoker do to help in this battle? How can they beat the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that drive them back to smoking?
Exercise has been shown to be of benefit as a non-pharmacological aid for treating nicotine dependence. In particular, clinical and laboratory studies provide evidence that exercise prior to smoking cessation and/or during smoking cessation can reduce the severity of nicotine withdrawal and craving following cessation of smoking and might be protective against relapse.
A recent study in the British Journal of Pharmacology reveals that exercise during nicotine exposure markedly reduces the severity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms, an effect that is accompanied by increased activation of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (which are targets of nicotine) in the hippocampal region of the brain.
“The findings support the protective effect of exercise preceding smoking cessation against the development of physical dependence, which may aid smoking cessation by reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms,” said senior author Dr. Alexis Bailey, of St. George’s University of London.
The study also highlighted that the amount of exercise did not affect the withdrawal symptoms. In other words, exercising a little did as much in reducing withdrawal symptoms as much a lot of exercising. Exercising for 10 minutes a day can be sufficient to help quit smoking.
If you are wanting to start an exercise routing to help quit smoking, then practicing yoga offers a safe and inexpensive way to begin. You can easily ramp up your physical activity in your home (there are a lot of excellent on-line classes) and the meditation will also help your mental and emotional state.
Go ahead! Plan your 2018 to be a journey towards a healthier you.