Understanding the experiences of heavy smokers after exercise

Hassandra, Mary and Kolovelonis, Athanasios and Chroni, Stiliani Ani and Olympiou, Alkisti and Goudas, Marios and Theodorakis, Yiannis (2015) Understanding the experiences of heavy smokers after exercise. Health, 07 (12). pp. 1622-1633. ISSN 1949-4998

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/health.2015.712175

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Abstract

There is now strong evidence that exercise has an acute effect on the urge to smoke and the accompanying
withdrawal symptoms. However, the perceptions by heavy smokers of exercise and
its relationship to the urge to smoke have not been well documented. The aim of the present study
is to understand the experiences of heavy smokers with regard to exercise and its effect on their
urge to smoke. Five physically inactive, heavy smokers are asked to abstain from smoking the
night before exercising on a cycle ergometer under two conditions (one at medium and one at vigorous
intensity done a week apart). Semi-structured, in-depth interviews are conducted after the
second exercise session. Thematic analysis reveals six themes describing the participants’ experience
of exercise, urge to smoke, exercise preferences, exercise and smoking relationship, exercise
as an aid to quit smoking, and the effects of the experimental procedure. Overall, the participants’
experiences support the existing literature, which has posited affective, biological, and cognitive
mechanisms contributing to a delay in the urge to smoke after exercise. The main findings
pertain to: (1) the “feel-good” effect after exercise as a relief from the “feel-bad” effect during exercise;
(2) the decreased urge to smoke after exercise, stated by all participants regardless of reported
positive and negative feelings; and (3) exercise as a “clearing the mind” mechanism rather
than an attention-distracting mechanism.

Keywords:Physical Activity, Smoking, Perceptions, Intensity, Urge to Smoke, JCOpen
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
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ID Code:19842
Deposited On:21 Dec 2015 11:03

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