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Lift Weights and Drop the Smokes

DIR-RoundBy Lacy J. Hansen, a two-time Boston Marathon finisher, for DietsInReview.com

It isn’t exactly news that smoking is bad for your health. However, the statistic that cigarette smoking is still responsible for more than one thousand American deaths every day is startling. A large portion of smokers do not want to end up as another death toll statistic, but quitting isn’t as easy as they wish it were. Less than five percent of smokers struggle to quit without help. But help may just be a few dumbbells away, as a recent study found that resistance training may be the best way for smokers to finally drop the habit.

smokingResearchers at Miriam Hospital in Rhode Island recently published the findings of a smoking and weight-lifting study. Twenty-five male and female smokers between the ages of 18 and 65 participated; all of whom have smoked at least five cigarettes each day for at least one year. All participants underwent a 15-20 minute counseling session focused on smoking cessation. Participants were also provided with an eight-week supply of nicotine patches.

Then, the participants were divided, at random, in two groups: A weight-lifting group and a control group. The resistance-training group participated in two, 60-minute workouts each week for 12 weeks and involved full-body exercises, gradually increasing intensity every three weeks. The control group did not follow a weight-lifting regimen; they watched a health-and-wellness video twice weekly.

After the 12-week study period, 16 percent of the smokers in the weight-lifting group quit smoking and reduced their body weight and overall body fat. Among the control group, only eight percent quit smoking, and the group increased its body weight and body fat.

While these statistics are far better than those of the daily death rates of smokers, further study on smoking and weight lifting is needed. If these results present to be typical though, this program could do a lot for smoking cessation, not to mention overall health and fitness for Americans. A way to quit smoking that also lowers weight and body fat? Talk about a real breath of fresh air!

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