Can Exercise Help You Quit Smoking?

man running on beach
Smokers who are trying to quit might want to take a jog the next time a cigarette craving overtakes them, a new research review suggests.

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Looking at 19 past clinical trials, researchers found that a bout of exercise generally helped hopeful quitters tamp down their nicotine cravings. Whether that all translates into a greater chance of quitting, though, is unclear.

Still, the researchers say that if getting on your bike helps you avoid lighting up, do it.

“Certainly, exercise seems to have temporary benefits, and as such can be strongly recommended,” Adrian A. Taylor, a professor of exercise and health psychology at the University of Exeter in the UK, said in an email.

For its study, published in the journal Addiction, Taylor’s team combined the results from small clinical trials that tested the immediate effects of exercise on smokers’ cigarette cravings.