If you’re among the nearly 70 percent of U.S. adult smokers trying to give up smoking , you’re probably well aware of the benefits. Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk of lung cancer drops 30-50 percent , and just one year of not smoking decreases your risk of coronary heart disease by half . While these health benefits and others make a compelling case, it’s not as simple as just quitting cigarettes.
Smoking-cessation aids like nicotine-replacement products, prescription medications, counseling and behavioral therapies  can increase the likelihood of success. Even so, cravings and withdrawal symptoms make breaking the smoking habit feel like an impossible challenge. Surprisingly, one practice that can help you to part ways with cigarettes may be one you don’t expect: exercise.
A study by the University of Exeter has added weight to the claims that exercise can assist efforts to quit smoking. The research used fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans to show how physical activity results in changes in brain processing. In fact, these changes can reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms . Although further study is needed, researchers believe exercise curbs cravings by boosting your mood and/or shifting your blood flow.
Although eliminating cigarettes has a clear benefit, a regular exercise plan can be difficult to incorporate into a busy life. In addition, those new to exercise will have an especially hard time finding the right workout plan that will reduce cravings and fit their schedule. That’s where isometric exercise fits in.
Another study of the relationship between smoking cessation and exercise concluded that isometric exercise, in particular, was found to reduce the desire to smoke. Furthermore, just 10 minutes of isometric exercises, which involve contractions of specific muscles, measurably lessened cravings and withdrawal symptoms in the study’s participants .
There are many advantages to using isometric exercise to curb cravings. These exercises don’t require a long time commitment to complete, making them easy to fit into a busy schedule. They can also be done at any time, at any location, so isometrics are the perfect solution to avoid boredom and deal with cravings throughout your day.
One easy way to introduce isometric exercise into your daily routine and smoking cessation strategy is with the Activ5 device and mobile app. Designed for those short on time and seeking convenient exercises on-the-go, the Activ5 program can help you remain physical and reduce smoking urges. Activ5 coaches you through five-minute workouts that not only help curb urges, but also tone and strengthen your muscles.
Activ5 provides quick bursts of exercise to keep you on track. It also maintains the convenience of isometric exercise, as you can use Activ5 to stay active anytime and anywhere.