-By A. Scott Roberts
M.S. Rehabilitation Counseling
Research has shown that exercise can improve your chances of successfully quitting smoking (as well as other addictions).1 Most know that exercise improves general health and well-being. But the reason that exercise contributes to successful quitting is because it boosts blood to the brain.
When you are experiencing cravings for your cigarette, the last thing you probably think of is going on a run outside or hopping on the treadmill. But doing something that actively engages you, such as running, goes far beyond distracting your mind off of cravings, but may actually heal the addicted brain.
"Exercise needs to be maintained for individuals to continue to kick the habit." (source: Harry Prapavessis / Director of Health Psychology Laboratory)
Researchers have shown that exercise promotes neurogenisis (birth of new neurons).2
Smokers, and other addicts, often suffer from a less-efficient reward system caused by the repeated over-stimulation from the addictive substances. As a result, the brain stops producing natural neurotransmitters and often has malfunctioning or diminished neurons.
Exercise boosts blood to the brain and repairs receptor cites. Exercise, coupled with evidence-based techniques to cope with addictions, such as smoking, are supremely beneficial.3
If you want to change the brain, exercise coupled with meditation and cognitive therapy approaches are very promising. What exercise does is boosts blood to the brain and promotes neurogenesis (birth of new neurons), while meditation and cognitive therapy rewires the brain. This results in less thought patterns down the same neural pathway. This is a major reason why I exercise and meditate. I practice what I preach, and it has produced profound results on myself, and others.