Investigating the effects of substituting a cigarette with exercise compared with distraction on urges to smoke
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Intro: Previous research has investigated the effects of exercise and distraction on the desire to smoke. Findings have discovered that a greater intensity level of exercise has a bigger effect on cravings, yet is the length of exercise significant? This study examined the affects of multiple interventions to aid smoking cessation. Method: Following compulsory overnight abstinence 10 smokers were randomly assigned to conditions across three days: (i) 10 minutes distraction condition, (ii) 5 minutes of low intensity exercise- "moderate" and (iii) 15 minutes of low intensity exercise- "high". Both exercise interventions consisted of moderately paced walking; intensity was measured through Borg’s (1998), Ratings of Perceived Exertion. Participants did all three interventions and both pre and post condition the 13-item Questionnaire of Smoking Urges was completed. Results: A 3 way repeated ANOVA revealed that the longer "high" exercise condition had greater effect in reducing cravings to smoke compared to the "moderate" exercise condition and even more so when compared to distraction. Conclusions: This study has found that low intensity exercise has a greater influence on reducing the cravings to smoke compared to a distraction condition, specifically the longer 15 minute exercise intervention produced a greater decrease in cravings to smoke.
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