Physical Activity May Help Pregnant Women Quit Smoking

by Jenny Novac on November 25, 2013

pregnant woman on a treadmill

A recent study made in Canada showed that fast walking may help pregnant females who want to quit smoking to stave off tobacco cravings for a period of time. A research made previously demonstrated that physical activity can interrupt nicotine cravings for both women and men.

The researchers told in the journal Addictive Behaviors that tt was unclear if the same works and for the pregnant women because they do have high metabolism, which can increase longings for a cigarette, Thus it was the first time when such a study was made  to find out what effects has physical activity on smoking pregnant women.

The author of the research is Harry Prapavessis, the director of the Exercise and Health Psychology Laboratory at Western University in Ontario, Canada. His team found that 15-20 minutes of walking at a mild to moderate pace is enough to retain cravings.  In the study participated 30 pregnant women from  Canada and England who were in their second trimester of pregnancy. Women smoked more than 5 cigarettes daily and were not engaged in regular physical exercises.

During the study half of women were walking on a treadmill and the other half were watching a home gardening video for 20 minutes. Both groups did not smoke cigarettes for 15 – 19 hours before coming into the laboratory.

It was found that in participants was reduced the desire to smoke by 30%. However, the cravings returned. In 30 minutes after exercising, the same group of females reported a craving reduction only by 17%. Women who were engaged in physical activity reported less withdrawal symptoms including less restlessness, irritability,  tension.

However, due to the fact that in the study participated small number of women, its results are only preliminary and more studies need to be done here. But generally the results of the study are very positive and successful. Dr. Sharon Phelan said that today exercises may be only a part of quitting strategy but not a main cure for that.

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