Brian Sullivan


So you want to light up a cigarette? Well go and exercise.  According to Dr. Harry Prapavessis, Director of Western's new Exercise and Health Psychology Laboratory, exercise can help you quit the habit for good.their smoking habit – for good.
Dr. Harry Prapavessis and his team have shown that supervised exercise in addition to pharmacological agents like nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) helps smoking cessation, improves physical fitness, and delays weight gain in women smokers.
“It can help smokers fight weight gain and deal with the other symptoms of nicotine withdrawal,” says Prapavessis.
"However, as with all smoking cessation intervention, relapse effects after stopping the program are common problems" said Prapavessis who was named Canadian Cancer Society Researcher of the Month of January 2010.
In a recent study, 70% of women had stopped smoking at the end of the 12-week program, but after one year, only 27% remained abstinent.
Unfortunately, the research revealed that once an organized program ends, most people will relapse. If exercise continues, it helps people stay tobacco free.
"This suggests that exercise needs to be maintained for individuals to continue to kick the habit" he said.
"It is important to determine whether inexpensive home and community-based lifestyle exercise maintenance programs can maintain exercise, fitness and weight after cessation program termination, and hence prevent (reduce) smoking relapse".
"This research project will not only contribute to a better understanding of the role exercise plays as a smoking cessation aid” said Mary Jung, part of  Prapavessis team and a Canadian Institutes of Heath Research (CIHR) post-doctoral fellow. “it will also explore a means of increasing the cost-effectiveness of long-term smoking cessation programs.”
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