Deciding to quit smoking can be a difficult choice to make, but sticking to your decision afterwards, especially when the nicotine cravings hit, can be even harder.

There are various methods you can use to help ease withdrawal symptoms, from therapy to nicotine patches, and even by eating certain foods. But is there a way to relieve cravings physically?

Go Smoke Free have revealed the ultimate exercises for beating nicotine cravings, allowing you to live a healthier and more active lifestyle.


One of the main reasons why people smoke is because they believe it makes them feel more relaxed. Finding an alternative outlet that provides you with the relaxation you desire will help you stay away from temptation. Incessant nicotine cravings can also cause stress and anxiety levels to rise, so being able to tune into your body, focus your breaths, and clear your mind can help fight your urges.

Recommended movements/poses

  • Child’s pose – helps to relax and focus on your breathing
  • Sun salutations – stretches and releases tightness in almost every part of the body
  • Cat-cow – stretches the muscles of the hips, back, abdomen and chest, whilst also relieving built-up tension in these areas


Feeling angry is a common side effect of quitting, and when all you can think about is having a cigarette, it’s natural to get frustrated.

Any physical exercise can help with this, but boxing is one of the best and arguably most fun ways to relieve pent-up anger. Although this option can come at a cost, using the money you’ve saved by not buying cigarettes can help with funding.

Joining a boxing club is a great way to participate in this exercise. Some clubs may charge a monthly or yearly membership fee but will provide equipment and training. This can be great for not only releasing your anger, but also learning how to control and manage it. Plus, being part of a community can help keep you accountable and you may even meet people on the same journey as yourself.


Getting outside and going for a walk can be beneficial in more ways than one. A change in environment can stop you from thinking about smoking, especially if you would usually smoke in your house.

Listening to your favourite songs or some feel-good tunes can help block out persistent thoughts, and getting fresh air can relieve anxiety.

If you have someone to walk with, this might also help, as it can pass the time and keep your mind off wanting a cigarette.


HIIT can improve your blood pressure and your aerobic fitness, which is highly beneficial if you smoke. HIIT workouts are intended to be challenging, as you’re aiming to push yourself to 80% of your body’s maximum heart rate.

However, if you’re a long-time smoker, it might be better to shorten your exercise bursts to begin and gradually lengthen them as your cardiovascular health improves. Here are some moves to try:

  • Jump rope: high impact – keeping a rhythm and counting reps can distract you from your cravings
  • Cycling: low impact – like walking, getting outside in the fresh air can relieve stress and anxiety
  • Burpees: high impact – burpees are tough and demand perseverance; pushing past the discomfort of this exercise can help train your brain to do the same in other scenarios, like quitting smoking
  • Squats: low impact – focusing on the burning sensation in your glutes may divert your attention from wanting a cigarette
Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.