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It is wonderful to learn more about the neuro-psychological details behind the reality that exercise has profound benefits for mental health.
As an individual who lives with schizophrenia and depression, I have witnessed the benefits of regular walking on my cognition. I have a very strong memory, particularly for academic information.
I think one of the main reasons I have been able to continue on in higher education (I am close to finishing my Master's degree in Canada and I will be continuing on to a PhD immediately after this degree finishes) is not only due to my resilience and perseverance, but also because I try to keep my body as busy as my mind is.
I walk an average of well over 10,000 steps each day, sometimes bordering on or surpassing 20,000 steps. This is largely because I do not drive, and I try to avoid taking the bus whenever my goal destination is less than a 30-minute walk, one way.
A series of neuropsychological tests confirmed that I do not have any neuropsychological impairments - excluding the issue of schizophrenia itself, of course. I still largely credit this reality to my daily walking patterns.
What is interesting is that I do not go for walks for the sake of walking. I only walk for practical reasons: to arrive at a goal destination such as the grocery store to buy groceries. It is the sum of all of my short walking periods that adds up to my 10,000+ steps each day.
The research in this article indicates that the best benefits come from 45- to 50-minute sessions of aerobic exercise or resistance training. However, I argue that in my experience there are still very powerful positive impacts on one's mental health by engaging in many small durations of exercise such as walking throughout the entire day.
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