Effects of Walking on Cigarette Cravings and Affect in the Context of Nesbitt’s Paradox and the Circumplex Model

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of Exeter
  • | 2 St George’s, University of London
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The study examined whether walking can mimic the effects of nicotine during temporary abstinence, by eliciting changes in mood and affect and by reducing cravings. In a randomized crossover design, 15 participants did a self-paced 1-mile walk or sat passively on separate days. A repeated-measures ANOVA revealed a significant reduction in desire to smoke during and for up to 20 min following exercise. Further MANOVAs and univariate ANOVAs revealed significant interaction effects for time-by-condition for tension, and affective valence and activation. Walking reduced tension and increased affective valence and activation during and up to 20 min after exercise, but increased activation only at the end of exercise. ANCOVAs revealed that exercise-induced reductions in cravings were mediated through reduced tension. Walking should be recommended for reducing cravings, but further research is needed to understand whether the arousing properties of exercise can help manage cravings.

School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, St Luke’s Campus, Heavitree Rd, Exeter EX1 2LU, U.K.

Division of Community Health Sciences, St George’s, University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 ORE, U.K.

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