Research has shown that exercise can improve your chances of successfully quitting smoking (as well as improving many other addictions).1 Most know that exercise improves general health and well being. But the reason that exercise contributes to successful quitting, isn’t just because smokers experience a of decline of health from smoking. It turns out that exercise is an effective way to stave off cravings and boosts blood to the brain – contributing to neurogenesis.
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, can improve long-term success in quitting.
“Exercise needs to be maintained for individuals to continue to kick the habit.” (source: Harry Prapavessis / Director of Health Psychology Laboratory)
Not only is running beneficial to physical health and taking the mind off urges to smoke, but researchers have shown that it also promotes the growth of new neurons.2 Smokers, and other addicted individuals, often suffer from a less-efficient reward system caused by the repeated over-stimulation from addictive substances. As a result, the brain stops producing natural neurotransmitters and often has malfunctioning neurons.
Here is a video explaining the process of how the reward system becomes less efficient:
Exercise boosts blood to the brain and can repairs receptor cites. Exercise, coupled with evidence-based techniques to cope with addictions such as smoking, are supremely beneficial.3