Feel the urge to reach for a cigarette?
Hop on the treadmill.
A new review of studies shows that exercise really does help smokers trying to quit by decreasing the urge for nicotine, Reuters first reported.
"Certainly, exercise seems to have temporary benefits, and as such can be strongly recommended," study researcher Adrian A. Taylor, professor of exercise and health psychology at the University of Exeter, told Reuters.
The review of studies, published in the journal Addiction, showed on a whole that doing some sort of physical activity -- whether running, or taking a bike ride -- was linked with decreased cravings for nicotine, compared with doing something less active.
"Despite a high degree of between-study heterogeneity, effects sizes of all primary studies were in the same direction, with PA [physical activity] showing a greater reduction in cravings compared with controls," the researchers wrote in the study.
PsychCentral reported that the study participants did not use any other kinds of smoking cessation programs or products, so it's possible that these may work better than exercise to quell urges. But, at the least, the study suggests exercise could be a useful tool to help kick the habit.
This isn't the first time fitness has been pinpointed as an aid for smoking cessation. University of Exeter researchers previously found that exercise changes activity in the brains of smokers, which corresponded to a lowered craving for nicotine. That study was published in the journal Psychopharmacology.
For more natural ways to help you kick the butt -- and thereby lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and a myriad of other deadly health problems -- click through the slideshow:
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