Citizens for Clean Air and Clean Lungs

Exercise Helps Smokers Quit
An article in the WASHINGTON POST Health section reports that an increasing number of studies show that exercise can significantly improve a smoker's chances of kicking the habit.

A study of more than 4,000 male runners published in PREVENTIVE MEDICINE shows that over 70% of those who smoked at the time they started running subsequently quit smoking.

Other research suggests that exercise is especially important for women who want to quit, because it helps minimize weight gain, a common reason why women don't quit smoking. Brown University School of Medicine recently conducted a study of 281 sedentary, overweight, middle-age women. Half of the group attended a cessation a program combined with a three-times-a-week wellness program, and the other half attended a cessation program with vigorous exercise three-times-a-week.

The researchers found that 49% of the women who went through the exercise program quit smoking while only 29% of the women in the control group did so.

In addition to minimizing weight gain, exercise can also help smokers deal with the stress and mood changes that frequently occur when they stop smoking.

"When people start exercising regularly, they realize how good it makes them feel," said Michael Sacks, a professor of psychiatry at Cornell University's Weill Medical College. "They also begin to realize that they can take care of their stress without resorting to destructive things," such as smoking.

WASHINGTON POST (Health section), (3/23/99) "Smoke And Mirrors", Carol Krucoff, p. 20.

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