Running has many benefits for smokers and recent quitters. Here’s what valid, scientific studies say:1, 2
Cravings. The desire to smoke is weaker after a session of moderate running. Running can therefore delay cravings and reduce the number of cravings you have. Cravings are a major reason why people go back to smoking.
Smoking less. Light to moderate exercise can cause you to take fewer puffs before being satisfied.
Withdrawal. Running actually reduces withdrawal symptoms such as stress, anxiety, tension, irritability and restlessness. Exercise puts you in a better mood so you’re better able to cope with withdrawal.
Concentration. Lots of people find it difficult to concentrate while trying to quit smoking. Going for a run (or doing other exercise) can improve poor concentration.
Health. The younger you are when you quit, the faster the body reverses most of the health effects of smoking.3
1 Ussher, M.H., Taylor, A., Faulkner, G. (2008). Exercise interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2008, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD002295. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002295.pub3. [Abstract: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18843632]
2 Taylor, A.H., Ussher, M.H., & Faulkner, G. (2007). The acute effects of exercise on cigarette cravings, withdrawal symptoms, affect and smoking behaviour: A systematic review. Addiction, 102, 534-543. [Abstract: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17286639]
3Health Canada. (September, 2009). Benefits of Quitting. Retrieved from www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/quit-cesser/now-maintenant/road-voie/_program/unit2-10-eng.php