Health: Exercise can help in quitting smoking

Talk about rotten deals: You manage to stop smoking, only to gain weight. Now a new study raises hope that exercise can help you quit and curb weight gain.

Some researchers at Rhode Island's Miriam Hospital enrolled 281 women in a smoking-cessation program. Half also were assigned vigorous cardiovascular fitness routines.

At the end of the sessions, the exercise group had a higher rate of success and smaller weight gains, says study leader Dr. Bess Marcus. She says more research is needed, but she speculates that exercise enabled women to relax their fears of gaining weight and eased the depression that often accompanies quitting smoking. Other benefits included a boost in mood and energy levels, she said.

"I would recommend that anyone trying to quit smoking after consulting with a physician start exercising," she says. "It can only help."

Weight loss: Let's make a meal
Sticking to a diet is tough, as everyone knows. Toss in a rumbling stomach and the 3 p.m. munchies, and the effort needed becomes almost superhuman.

But a new study suggests that sticking to your normal eating schedule (snacks included) and focusing instead on changing what you eat during those times could make the struggle a bit easier.

After putting 81 men on different eating schedules and diets, researchers in Ireland found that the men who continued to eat according to their traditional schedules had more success sticking with the plan.

These men selected lowfat foods and snacks, but kept eating at their regular times. Instructed to limit their food intake to three meals a day, the other men had a harder time sticking to their diets, showing that changing what you eat — not when — could be your key to diet success.

To do

By Ericka Kostka
WALKING magazine

  • Feb. 1 was National Women's Heart Health Day. Get the facts, and protect yourself from a leading killer disease of women. Call (800) 662-1701, or visit

  • Attention back-country skiers, snowshoers, and inn lovers. The Catamount Trail, the country's longest back-country ski trail, runs the entire length of Vermont. For info, call (802) 864-5794, or visit

  • Get on the right foot. The Sisters Together: Move More, Eat Better campaign is a health awareness program to help at-risk women get healthful habits. To start a program in your community, neighborhood or church, call (301) 984-7378.

  • Help yourself, help a friend. Created by Congress, the National Domestic Violence Hotline answers more than 11,000 calls per month. To talk, or for local referrals, call (800) 799-SAFE.

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