A short stroll found to help when giving up cigarettes

In collaboration with the Press Association

Taking a walk when nicotine cravings hit could help smokers to forget their urge for a cigarette, a new research review suggests.

Researchers from the University of Exeter reviewed 14 different studies relating smoking and exercise and found that cravings decreased when study participants took some exercise.

The effects of even light exercise, such as taking a stroll, could bring cravings within manageable levels for as much as 50 minutes.

During exercise, the body produces a chemical called dopamine.

This chemical is also produced when the body is addicted to a substance like nicotine, and causes us to crave actions like smoking for the release of dopamine they bring.

Some scientists think that exercise causes a release of dopamine that relieves nicotine cravings. But others think the process is more complex than that.

Adrian Taylor, the lead author of the report said: "Relatively small doses of exercise should be recommended as an aid to managing cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

"Further research to understand the mechanisms involved, such as stress reduction or neurobiological mechanisms, could lead to development of more effective and practical methods to reduce withdrawal phenomena."

He explained that exercise could also prevent people from putting on weight when they gave up smoking.