Exercise Helps Adults with High-Anxiety Sensitivity Quit Smoking

Date:

— Exercise helps smokers with a high risk for cessation failure due to emotional distress finally kick the habit, according to psychologists at The University of Texas at Austin.

According to a study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, between 20 and 33 percent of smokers are considered to have high-anxiety sensitivity — or fear of anxiety and related sensations such as a racing heart, sweating or dizziness — and smoke to cope with stress, making it harder to quit.

“Anxiety and depressive symptoms and syndromes are the most prevalent psychiatric conditions in the general population and are remarkably comorbid with smoking,” said psychology professor Jasper Smits, lead author of the study. “Those with high-anxiety sensitivity experience greater problems with nicotine withdrawal, which is a strong predictor of lapse and subsequent relapse.”

Smits’ research, however, suggests that exercise can reduce anxiety sensitivity and depressive symptoms, doubling the chances of cessation for these adults.

Participants were daily smokers who were screened for anxiety sensitivity and randomly assigned to a 15-week intervention that included thrice weekly exercise (72 individuals) or wellness education (64 individuals) sessions in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy and optional nicotine replacement therapy patches.

Exercise sessions required 25-minutes of “vigorous” work (77 to 88 percent of maximum heart rate), and wellness education sessions included healthy life-style discussions and weekly wellness goals.

Abstinence was assessed through self-reporting and saliva samples. At the end of treatment, 26 percent of those who exercised successfully abstained from smoking, and 12 percent who attended wellness sessions abstained. After six months, 23 percent of the exercise group abstained, and 10 percent of the wellness education group continued to abstain

The National Health Interview Survey found that smoking among U.S. adults without psychiatric disorders decreased steadily between 1997 and 2011 (from 24.1 percent to 18.2 percent), while smoking among adults with some form of psychiatric disorders has remained relatively stable (43.6 percent to 42.1 percent).

“This group is particularly at risk for cessation failure, and our findings suggest that exercise can reduce that risk,” Smits said.

Misty Boggs
Misty Boggs is the Creative Director at MSGPR. She lives in Angelina County and recently earned her bachelor's degree in Public Relations and a minor in Creative Writing at Stephen F. Austin State University in 2020. She is currently working on obtaining her MBA from Lamar University. Between studying and working, she enjoys teaching her niece and nephew the fine art of never growing old.

Share post:

Subscribe

Popular

More like this
Related

Eclipse Insights and Capitol Update: Divine Connections and Texas Border Security

Our state recently witnessed a total solar eclipse, a...

Spring Transition in Our Pastures

Traveling around the county recently, one can’t help but...

Double Duty: AC’S Walker Earns NJCAA, WBCA All-American Honors

Angelina College’s Amyria Walker had herself quite the year...

Run it Back

AC Softball Hosting Reunion for 2014 National Champs In Angelina...