New research suggests exercising could be a helpful tool in combating tobacco withdrawal symptoms, a common problem affecting smokers who want to quit. These symptoms include irritability, depression, and sleeping issues.
Experts also recommend professional support services and keeping away from smoking triggers like peers that smoke.
Past studies have also found a link between exercising and lower nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Previous research has also shown that moderate exercise for about 10 minutes can dramatically reduce tobacco cravings.
It is unclear how exercise can reduce the symptoms, but the latest research seeks to obtain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms behind this benefit of exercising.
Co-author Dr. Alexis Bailey and his colleagues gave mice nicotine for two weeks and then divided them into three groups:
- one group had to exercise 24 hours per day,
- one group exercised 2 hours per day,
- the third group had no wheel training regimen at all.
After two weeks withdrawal symptoms were assessed.
Researchers’ main finding was that the first two groups showed milder nicotine withdrawal symptoms than the mice in the sedentary group. Active mice’s brains also experienced a major boost in the activity of a brain receptor for nicotine, the alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine.
In addition, study authors found that two hours of exercising every day are just as good as 24 hours of exercising when it comes to help smokers quit. In other words, the beneficial effects do not lie with the intensity of exercising.
Exercise also seems to lower the risk of physical dependence in smokers. Researchers recommend even a moderate amount of exercise to people that want to quit smoking for good.
The latest study is the first to find such a strong link between exercise and lower withdrawal effects in addicted mice.
The study was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.
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