As little as five minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, can significantly reduce smokers' nicotine cravings and may help them quit smoking, says a British study in the journal Addiction.
The authors of this study reviewed the findings of 12 previous papers that examined the association between exercise and nicotine cravings, the Associated Press reported.
"If we found that same (strong) effects in a drug, it would immediately be sold as an aid to help people quit smoking," said lead author Dr Adrian Taylor, a professor of exercise and health psychology at the University of Exeter.
While nearly anything that helps distract smokers from their need for a nicotine fix is believed to help, it has long been suspected that exercise may be particularly effective, the AP reported. This may be because exercise triggers production of the mood-enhancing hormone dopamine, which helps reduce smokers' nicotine dependence, Taylor suggested.
"What's surprising is the strength of the effect," Dr Robert West, professor of health psychology at University College London, told the AP. "They found that the acute effects of exercise were as effective as a nicotine patch."
West was not involved in the study. – (HealthDayNews)
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Exercise helps smokers