While any addiction is incredibly tough to break, it is true that smoking is among the hardest. Once a person starts the addiction, holding back from going in for the next cigarette becomes almost impossible to do without some sort of assistance. This is why an entire industry has basically been constructed around products and plans to help individuals kick the habit, with some proving more effective than others.
In order to prevent lung cancer or any of the many other respiratory illnesses that smoking tobacco can commonly cause, people are willing to dish out as much money and go to any length to halt the addiction. However, recent studies have begun to point towards exercise as a naturally healthy alternative to cutting back on nicotine withdrawal. The reasoning for this comes down to how exercise interact with brain function, and the results of how that interaction changes physical dependency.
Targeting Brain Receptors
Upon completing even moderate intensity exercise, a receptor in the brain called α7 nicotinic acetylcholine is fired. As one could guess, this receptor is linked to the effects of nicotine, as it is often set off in the same way by the introduction of the chemical to the body. For those trying to quit smoking, this accomplishes a type of substitute role that a workout is fulfilling, making the brain behave in the same way as if it a person were smoking an actual cigarette.
Cutting Physical Dependence
Because such receptors are still able to be successfully activated by exercise rather than the addictive act of smoking, the body does not go into such a strong state of nicotine withdrawal. Thus, the more times that this is continued — mainly by getting the body active prior to feeling the need for a smoke — the less dependent the body will feel over an extended period of time.
Why Exercise Might be a Key to Quitting Smoking