Use weight training to quit smoking

Smokers who are looking for a way to kick the habit and get healthy may want to try weight lifting to help them kick the habit for good, a new study suggests.

According to a study, researchers found that three months of pumping iron actually seemed to help curb cigarette cravings and lessen withdrawal symptoms, while also keeping down the weight gain that many worry about when quitting smoking. The study also showed that overall, both men and women who completed a resistance training programme were twice as likely to kick the habit as smokers who didn't lift weights.

How weight training can help you quit

"Cigarette smoking kills thousands every day, and while the large majority of smokers want to quit, less than 5% are able to do it without help," the study's lead author, Joseph Ciccolo, an exercise psychologist with the Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, in Providence, said in a news release from the Lifespan health system.

In the study, which was funded by the US National Cancer Institute, Ciccolo's team recruited 25 male and female smokers between the ages of 18 and 65 who had smoked at least five cigarettes per day for the past year or more. All of the participants were counselled on quitting smoking for 15 to 20 minutes and given an eight-week supply of the nicotine patch, before being randomised into two groups, the authors noted.

The first group of smokers was asked to complete two one-hour full-body resistance training sessions involving 10 exercises each week for 12 weeks. The intensity of the training programme was also increased every three weeks. Meanwhile, the second group of smokers ("controls") simply watched a brief health and wellness video twice a week.

After completing the 12-week regimen, 16% of smokers in the weight-lifting group had successfully quit smoking, according to the study published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

As an added bonus, they had also lost body weight and body fat. In contrast, only 8% of the smokers in the control group had quit, and they had also gained both weight and body fat, the results showed.

Three months later, 15% of those in the weight-lifting group had still not started smoking again, compared to 8% of the control group.

More reasons to do weight-training

Weight-lifting is no just for big men in the gym, it has been shown to have numerous benefits to people of all ages. Read this article on how to find a healthy balance between weight-training and cardio exercise so you get the most out of your workout and see results sooner.

A recent study in the US proved that not only is weight training beneficial for losing weight and getting toned, but it even has benefits for pregnant women. For the study the researchers measured the progression in the weights used, as well as changes in resting blood pressure and potential adverse side effects in 32 pregnant women over a 12-week period and concluded that conclusion "the adoption of a supervised, low-to-moderate intensity weight-lifting exercise programme can be safe for women with a low-risk pregnancy".

A second study performed on older people also hailed weight training as one of the best exercises for maintaining muscle mass. For this study all the participants performed three sets of resistance training exercises that included leg press, knee extensions and squats, three times a week. In the 32-week second phase, and found that older adults benefited greatly from weekly maintenance dosing to maintain resistance-training-induced increases in muscle mass.

So if you're looking to get started with some weight training, read this article here by a personal trainer on how to build bigger, stronger muscles or check out this weight training programme to get you started.

However, if you're still not convinced however, and those lingering myths about weight-lifting are still bothering you, then you need to read this article.

More information

The American Cancer Society provides more information on quitting smoking.

SOURCE: Lifespan, news release, Aug. 9, 2011, Health24

(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

(Amy Froneman, Health24, August 2011)

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