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Lifting Weights Can Help Smokers Quit Without Putting on Pounds

By Join Together Staff

Lifting weights can help smokers quit without gaining weight, new research indicates. Men and women who participated in a three-month resistance training program were twice as likely to quit smoking, compared with smokers who did not lift weights.

HealthDay reports lifting weights appeared to help reduce cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms, while reducing the weight gain that can often follow smoking cessation. The study, which appears in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, included 25 adults who smoked at least five cigarettes a day for the past year or longer. They received smoking cessation counseling for 15 to 20 minutes, and were given an eight-week supply of nicotine patches.

The participants were then split into two groups. The first group was asked to participate in two one-hour resistance training sessions, which involved 10 exercises a week for 12 weeks. The intensity of the program gradually increased. The second group watched a brief health and wellness video two times a week.

After three months, 16 percent of smokers who lifted weights had quit smoking, while also losing body weight and fat. In the video-watching group, 8 percent of smokers had quit, while gaining body weight and fat.

Three months after that, 15 percent of the weight-lifting group were still smoke free, compared with 8 percent in the video group.