Shalom Life | November 08, 2014

Israeli Study: Quitting Smoking Will Make You Physically Stronger

Scientists from the Technion Institute of Technology say that quitters gain not only fat, but muscle

By: Daniel Koren

Published: October 27th, 2014 in Health » Israel

Israeli Study: Quitting Smoking Will Make You Physically Stronger

A new year-long study conducted by scientists from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology claims that while quitting smoking does usually lead to weight gain - often smokers replace the habit with food as a way to stay true to their goal - some of that gain is actually muscle.

The study, overseen by Professor Dror Aizenbud, chairman of the Department of Orthodontic and Craniofacial Anomalies at Rambam Health Care Campus, and molecular biophysicist Prof. Abraham Reznick of the Technion is the first evidence ever presented that quitting smoking can physically make you stronger.

On average, ex-smokers normally gain about 5 kilograms after quitting smoking, the study shows, with 26 percent of which attested to bigger muscles. Those who successfully quit smoking got a 20% boost of strength, and their bones eventually get stronger as well.

Of course, there are several other health benefits to quitting smoking, one of the leading causes of death in the United States, that includes decreasing the risk of cancer, heart disease, and other such ailments.

Published in the journal Addiction earlier this month, the study suggests that by quitting, smokers can more easily obtain that buff body they've always wanted.

“The main reason for smokers not trying to quit is the fear of gaining weight,” said Oren Rom, a dietitian who led the study for his doctoral thesis in medical sciences at the Technion. “So if we can see that there are some beneficial effects from weight gain, like improved muscle function and strength and improved bone density and strength, maybe it will encourage people to quit.”

In conducting the study, scientists tested the body composition and muscle strength in 41 heavy smokers, who smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day, immediately after they quit, and then again a year later.

Only ten of them were able to successfully stave of smoking for the entire year.

After the year, the scientists again measured the quitters' body composition, and found that they gained an average of 5 kilograms. While 74 percent of the weight gain was indeed fat, the rest was pure muscle, which provides quitters with better strength, roughly 17-23 percent.

“Our study is quite good news. Just by quitting smoking, you seem to be able to gain muscle mass and strength,” said Rom.

Hopefully this new information will be able to provide additional incentive for smokers on the fence about kicking their nasty habit. Good luck!

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