Acute effects of aerobic exercise and Hatha yoga on craving to smoke

Tobacco Research and Intervention Program, Moffitt Cancer Center, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33617, USA.
Nicotine & Tobacco Research (Impact Factor: 2.81). 08/2011; 13(11):1140-8. DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntr163
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recent studies have examined the effects of physical activity on craving to smoke and smoking withdrawal. The current study was designed to compare and contrast the effects of 2 different forms of physical activity on general and cue-elicited craving to smoke.
Following 1-hr nicotine abstinence, 76 daily smokers were randomly assigned to engage in a 30-min bout of cardiovascular exercise (CE; brisk walk on a treadmill), Hatha yoga (HY), or a nonactivity control condition. Participants completed measures of craving and mood, and a smoking cue reactivity assessment, before, immediately following, and approximately 20 min after the physical activity or control conditions.
Compared with the control condition, participants in each of the physical activity groups reported a decrease in craving to smoke, an increase in positive affect, and a decrease in negative affect. In addition, craving in response to smoking cues was specifically reduced among those who engaged in CE, whereas those who engaged in HY reported a general decrease in cravings.
This study provides further support for the use of exercise bouts for attenuating cigarette cravings during temporary nicotine abstinence. Results also suggest that CE can attenuate cravings in response to smoking cues. There are several areas for further research that may improve integration of exercise within smoking cessation treatment.

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    • "Another study found that daily smokers assigned to either a brief yoga intervention or an exercise intervention, relative to a passive control, reported a decrease in craving to smoke. Further , while the exercise group reported lower craving in response to smoking cues, those who had received yoga reported a general decrease in cravings (Elibero et al., 2011). Although few in number , these studies are consistent with the notion that yoga may be useful in facilitating long-term regulation of behaviors that require considerable self-regulation, such as physical activity or smoking abstinence. "
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    • "shown to attenuate craving in response to cues to smoke (Elibero et al. 2011), thus implicating reduced cue-reactivity as a mechanism through which PA exerts a therapeutic effect on withdrawal symptoms. This body of work is in its infancy, and has the potential to inform the design of PA pre-cessation interventions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Smoking cessation is associated with cigarette cravings and tobacco withdrawal symptoms (TWS), and exercise appears to ameliorate many of these negative effects. A number of studies have examined the relationships between exercise, cigarette cravings, and TWS. The objectives of this study were (a) to review and update the literature examining the effects of short bouts of exercise on cigarette cravings, TWS, affect, and smoking behaviour and (b) to conduct meta-analyses of the effect of exercise on cigarette cravings. A systematic review of all studies published between January 2006 and June 2011 was conducted. Fifteen new studies were identified, 12 of which found a positive effect of exercise on cigarette cravings. The magnitude of statistically significant effect sizes for 'desire to smoke' and 'strength of desire to smoke' ranged from 0.4 to 1.98 in favour of exercise compared to passive control conditions, and peaked either during or soon after treatment. Effects were found up to 30 min post-exercise. Cigarette cravings were reduced following exercise with a wide range of intensities from isometric exercise and yoga to activity as high as 80-85 % heart rate reserve. Meta-analyses revealed weighted mean differences of -1.90 and -2.41 in 'desire to smoke' and 'strength of desire to smoke' outcomes, respectively. Measures of TWS and negative affect were reduced following light-moderate intensity exercise, but increased during vigorous exercise. Exercise can have a positive effect on cigarette cravings and TWS. However, the most effective exercise intensity to reduce cravings and the underlying mechanisms associated with this effect remain unclear.
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