Lifting weights or resistance training can build muscles, tighten, and tone, and a US study announced August 9 shows it may also help smokers kick the habit.

Although prior research on exercise and quitting smoking has yielded some mixed results, researchers from the Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, affiliated with Brown University in the US, report their study is the first to examine the effect of resistance training, rather than cardiovascular workouts, on quitting smoking.

The new study is published online in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

According to the findings, 25 male and female smokers who completed a 12-week resistance-training regimen as part of a smoking cessation program were twice as likely to quit compared to the control group. Smokers in the study were between the ages of 18 and 65 and reported smoking at least five cigarettes a day for the past year or more.

The resistance-training group engaged in two 60-minute training sessions per week for 12 weeks. The full-body routine involved 10 exercises, with researchers gradually increasing weight and intensity every three weeks.

How does it work? Exercise of any type produces neurotransmitters including dopamine, a feel-good chemical that can provide the same positive mood as smoking. But science has yet to provide concrete practical exercise recommendations for kicking the habit, because the benefits of a workout aren’t that long lasting, researchers say.

Still, exercise does your body good in myriad ways, so hitting the gym could be a smart move in terms of eliminating nicotine addiction from your life. Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the US told health and fitness website that exercise can help relieve stress and reduce depression, two key factors that can help you fight off an addiction or any other bad habit.

What’s the best type of exercise to help with addiction? George Washington University in the US advises doing something you enjoy. Just about any type of exercise can enhance energy, burn fat, and lift your mood by releasing vital endorphins and dopamine. Also, try yoga or Pilates to quiet your mind and relax frayed nerves.

Learn more about exercise tips to help you quit smoking:

Access the new study here: — AFP RELAXNEWS