Five ways exercise can help you quit smoking

Want to stop smoking as part of your new year’s resolution? Consider taking these steps.

It is always a good idea to quit smoking and focus on healthier ways of living.

Smoking in South Africa may be declining, but it is estimated that 7 million people in the country aged 18 or older still smoke.

Many different methods or medications have proven to be successful in helping people kick the habit.

If you’re looking for a more natural way to stop smoking, exercise may just be for you.

According to Zone Fitness specialists, here are five easy tips on how getting active can help you break the habit for good.

1. Exercise releases endorphins

Endorphins are a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system that produce a “feel-good feeling”.

As it turns out, endorphins are also a good way of suppressing the craving for a cigarette.

“We see it all the time – when people get in the gym, they leave their vices at the door,” says Ivana Buchanan, group training specialist at Zone Fitness.

When it comes to smoking, the endorphin rush of a good workout is an effective way of beating your craving.

2. Exercise gives you a long-term goal to strive for

Having something to work towards gives you a sense of purpose, and a set of goals will give you a long-term goal that will trump the need to smoke.

The idea of working towards a goal over a period of time will also give you the focus you need to avoid slipping back into your old habits.

Once you start seeing the healthy changes your body goes through, it’ll help motivate you to keep going too.

3. Exercise improves your mental wellbeing

“The nicotine addiction is physical, but a great deal of it is mental too,” says Buchanan.

Exercise can help you cultivate a healthy mindset and focus your energy on living in the present and not seeking alternate satisfaction.

4. Exercise creates a support group around you

The gym is ultimately a community, according to Buchanan.

“Finding someone to exercise with is a great way of staying motivated. And that means not only achieving your fitness goals, but also keeping on a cigarette-free path,” she explains.

5. Exercise eases boredom

Boredom can be a potent reason for reaching for a cigarette in the first place, but instead of falling into old habits, concentrate on keeping active.

“If you’re bored at work or have an hour free, hit the gym, or concentrate on doing simple exercises at your desk. You’d be amazed what you’ll achieve performing leg raises while you’re seated behind your laptop,” says Buchanan.

Read the original story on the Pretoria East Rekord.

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