Smokers worried about weight gain when they toss their tobacco should consider the program Walk or Run to Quit, says a program spokesperson.
Karla Heintz, senior manager with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Prairie chapter, said gaining weight is a common fear for some women who smoke but want to quit.
“When you’re trying to quit smoking and you’re triggered by stressors, you tend to then go to do some other behaviour. Maybe you choose to eat. We’re instilling the new positive behaviour change of becoming active,” Heintz said.
“It’s just a nice way to curb some of those cravings and temptations that people have.”
Walk or Run to Quit is offered at 100 Running Rooms across Canada in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The 10-week training program that helps people quit smoking by learning to walk or run five km will be held at Red Deer’s Running Room, #169 at 2004-50th Ave., starting August 9 at 6 p.m.
Walk or Run to Quit is also available online starting August 13 for those who can’t make the weekly sessions in Red Deer.
Both the in-person and online program are available free of charge until the Sept. 30 deadline by using the promo code WRTQ18. To register or learn more, visit runtoquit.com.
Heintz said over half of last year’s participants were still smoke-free six months after the program, and on average participants were still running walking or running three times a week.
She said the program is open to anyone who wants to incorporate physical activity as they work to quit smoking.
“They may have never run in their life. This program welcomes all fitness levels and if people want to stay walking, they can keep walking. That’s great. If they want to advance to running — wonderful. The instructors at the Running Room will train them and teach them how to run.”
Support also includes a guidebook and support from Alberta Health Services’ tobacco cessation service, Alberta Quits.
“There’s no single, right way to look at when someone should quit smoking. Some will do it right when the program starts. Others do it at the halfway mark. And some do at the very end.”
Heintz said by week five, the goal is to have people thinking about when they will set their quit date.