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Fight cigarettes with exercise

One of the biggest challenges of quitting smoking is managing the nicotine withdrawal symptoms and cravings that come with it.

The longer you smoke, the more nicotine receptors have been created in your brain, each one craving for nicotine and the dopamine rush that comes from having a cigarette. 

It can be helpful to remember that these cravings (though intense) won’t last forever and you have the strength to fight them. 

Exercise – whether it’s a light walk or a more demanding gym session – can be a powerful tool to help you quit smoking, as it can help alleviate both the physical and the psychological elements of addiction. 

Here are just some of the ways exercise can help you quit:

  • Manages stress - exercise promotes the release of endorphins, hormones that make you feel good, and can alleviate feelings of stress or anxiety.

  • Good distraction – using the time that you may have spent smoking being active can help focus your mind and distract you from thoughts of cigarettes.

  • Reduces cravings – studies have shown that moderate exercise reduces the urge to smoke.

  • Limits weight gain – many people are worried that if they quit, they’ll gain weight. Exercise reduces hunger and helps counteract any increased food intake by burning kilojoules.

Davina’s story – Be your best self

Davina smoked 10-20 cigarettes a day over 16 years. 

She used exercise as a way to combat cravings and manage the symptoms of quitting, changing her habits by going to the gym first thing in the morning instead of lighting up. 

She also focused her mind on study as a distraction and enrolled in a personal training course: “When the cravings come along – it helps to focus on something else”. Watch Davina's story above.

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