Exercise alleviates smokers’ depression and cravings

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People diagnosed with depression step out to light up twice as much as non-depressed smokers. New research from Concordia University explores the relationship between smoking and depression.

Not equipped to quit

About 20% of American adults are smokers. The percentage of smokers is twice as high for people living with depression. Findings from the study showed that depressed individuals have a harder time quitting smoking no matter how motivated. A person without clinical depression is better able to handle the anxiety, cravings and lack of sleep that some people experience as they put the smokes down.

Exercise key to curbing withdrawal symptoms

Researchers found that exercise was beneficial for reducing the compulsion to reach for a cigarette. This was true even if the exercise did little or nothing to reduce the depression. Withdrawal symptoms were reduced after regular walks.

Exercise helps reduce depression symptoms as well

“The review should be seen as a call to arms,” noted study co-author Gregory Moullec, a postdoctoral researcher affiliated with Concordia’s Department of Exercise Science. “Our hope is that this study will continue to sensitize researchers and clinicians on the promising role of exercise in the treatment of both depression and smoking cessation,” noted first author Paquito Bernard of the University of Montpellier in France.

People still like pharma solutions

“We still need stronger evidence to convince policymakers,” said Moullec. “Unfortunately there is still skepticism about exercise compared to pharmacological strategies. But if we continue to conduct ambitious trials, using high-standard methodology, we will get to know which interventions are the most effective of all.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday


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