There are two popular resolutions people make for themselves every New Year: quit smoking and get in shape. If you have decided to quit smoking, you’re already on your way to a healthier life. If you decide you also want to try getting in shape while you quit, exercise can be a great way to alleviate symptoms that often occur when you give up cigarettes. Many people are joining running groups that are specifically geared toward people who are quitting smoking – and for many of those people, it has worked.
A study from the University of British Columbia reported that half of the participants who completed a 10-week running group program for people quitting smoking quit successfully. The findings revealed that physical activity served as a useful aid in smoking cessation as did quitting in a group setting. While both methods have been shown to be effective in helping people quit smoking, combining the two may have even better results.
Even if you are not a fitness buff and are just starting out, increasing the amount of time spent moving around during your daily routine may be a great way to help you get through nicotine cravings while you quit smoking. Moderate physical activity – and especially aerobic activity – can help limit the weight gain that sometimes occurs when quitting smoking while also reducing your appetite and the urge to smoke. A bit of exercise can also help to reduce stress and provide a healthy distraction.
While the benefits of working out can enhance an individual’s attempt to quit smoking, the dynamic of running or doing any coordinated exercise in groups provides extra support and motivation. Think of how even one quit buddy can make an impact on a quit plan – then consider how much more effective a whole group can be! In addition to a community of support, a group will help you feel like you’re not alone in your journey to quit smoking. Maybe everyone has different symptoms, but everyone has a story to tell. Connecting with people to whom you can relate and observing each other’s progress (and setbacks) can make your plan to quit smoking easier to manage.
Quitting smoking and becoming more active are both great goals that work well together. This Monday, seek out a network of people who are doing the same thing. You can keep each other accountable every Monday and celebrate your progress together!