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Exercise helps smokers quit their tobacco habits
04.20.2012Healthcare and wellness programs that encourage individuals to be more physically active may play an important role in a person's ability to quit smoking, according to a new study.
A team of researchers from Taiwan found that smokers who exercised on a regular basis were significantly more likely to quit smoking than individuals who were rarely physically active. The researchers said the findings show that exercise may be critical for multiple reasons. Activity, in and of itself, is good for the heart. When the benefits of quitting smoking are factored in, exercise programs may be critical for cardiovascular health.
For the study, investigators from the National Health Research Institute in Taiwan analyzed data collected from more than 434,000 adults over a 12-year period. The results showed that active smokers were 55 percent more likely to quit than sedentary smokers. Furthermore, tobacco users who were able to quit were significantly more likely to avoid relapse if they exercised regularly.
The benefits of exercise and quitting smoking translated into improved life expectancy. The results showed that physically active individuals lived an average of 3.7 years longer and had 23 percent lower all-cause mortality rates during the study period, compared to sedentary participants. Individuals who successfully quit smoking had even longer life expectancies and lower mortality rates.
"If smokers can continue to exercise, not only they can increase the quit rate, but also they can reduce their mortality for all cause and for cardiovascular disease in the long run," said lead researcher C.P. Wen.
Enrolling in a healthcare and wellness program that encourages frequent exercise may be one of the best things a smoker can do for their health.
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