You are more likely to succeed in your attempt to give up smoking if you also do regular exercise, say researchers from Austria. They found that smokers who use nicotine gum or skin patches were much more likely to stay off tobacco if they also did regular exercise, compared to people who just had the nicotine replacement therapy and no exercise.

In this study, 68 volunteers at Otto Wanger and Lainz Hospitals were monitored for three months. Half of them did regular exercise while the other half didn’t. All of them received nicotine replacement therapy. 80% of those who exercised were still not smoking at the end of the three months, compared to just 52% of those who didn’t exercise.

The researchers also found that the exercisers who failed to stay off tobacco smoked less than the non-exercisers who went back to smoking.

Comment by Editor of Medical News Today

I had my last cigarette on 20th May this year and celebrated 5 months without touching any tobacco products. I have been going to the gym everyday (Monday to Friday) and using the Nicotine Inhaler. I do 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and 30 minutes of resistance (weights) training each day.

What really did it for me was the change in my stationary heartbeat (pulse while resting). On my last smoking day it was 78, six weeks later it was 59. I was amazed at the difference.

If you are trying to give up ask someone, a gym instructor or a health professional, to take your ‘resting heartbeat/pulse’ on the day you give up. Then follow up six weeks later. It is an incredible motivator. The way I see it is that “My heart now gets the same job done with 25% less effort.” Whenever I think of cigarettes, I say to myself “You will go back up to 78. Do you want that?”

I am sure the exercise has also helped keep my weight down since I gave up. I have tried to see the whole experience as a liberation, rather than an abstention. Perhaps the term ‘giving up’ should be replaced by ‘liberation’ – it is a positive thought, and positive thoughts tend to lead to better success.

American College of Chest Physicians

Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today