Can adding math help subract obesity?

Written by Contributor. Posted in Health & Wellness

Published on March 20, 2012 with No Comments

I am not ashamed of being a bit of a math nerd.

But it’s more than holding a degree in math education from Rutgers University.  I am also a big fan of physical fitness. A passion for both has led to exercise for children in a completely new way.

As adults, we don’t think about it, but much of our exercise regimens revolve around counting. So, I began thinking about how much more fun, and healthy, math could be for children if we combined it with exercise. That was the genesis of my combination of the two disciplines.

This approach actually addresses two of the most pressing problems in the United States today.

Research shows exercise improves learning and multi-sensory learning techniques improve the recognition and recall of information.

One-third of U.S. children are overweight or obese and 61 percent of fourth graders are not proficient in math. That being said, it just makes sense that we start approaching these problems head-on, and we can create an economy of scale in time and resources by doing it at the same time.

Parents need to encourage children to get off the couch and exercise, too.  Here are some tips for parents who want to see their children exercise as they learn.

Count-along: It’s not just about counting to 10 when you touch your toes. There is so much more you can do when your children are having fun. It can be as simple as having them do the same thing you do – sets of 10 repetitions of any exercise – and then have them add up all those 10s when they are done. It will help them get comfortable tabulating simple equations in their heads.

•Shapes Can Be Healthy: When I was a child in gym class, they made us do arm circles, but there are so many other shapes that can be explored. Triangles, rectangles and even more complex geometric shapes can be combined with exercise in a variety of ways. Be creative and don’t be content with your children using their arms like windmills. Make it fun for them and it will help to create healthy exercise habits that will last a lifetime.

•Scavenger Hunts: Hide and Seek is a time-honored game and, with a little twist, you can use it to make math and healthy eating fun. Hide some healthy foods around the house and set your children to the task of finding them, but write down the calories and fat for each healthy food. When they find the foods have the children match up the foods with the numbers.

It’s all about getting children to put down the video game controllers and to get off the couch. We owe it to our children to start them off in life with healthy habits that we never learned. As adults, we had to teach ourselves to work out and eat healthy. It wasn’t something that most of us learned when we were young. With this approach, you can help your children develop intellectually and physically, as well as help them establish healthy habits that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. 

Carrie Scheiner has a lifelong love of helping others. For more information, visit www.exploracise.com.

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