Save money, read a book, exercise regularly, all good advises. But, what about learning math? Keeping our math skills sharp benefits our professional and personal lives even after our formal education is over.
1. Math makes us better at analytical thinking
A math problem needs to be split into smaller problems to be solved. The idea is that we do know the solution to those smaller problems, so we can apply previously known solutions.
Analytical thinking, on the other hand, lets us process complex information by splitting the complex info into small pieces, each one easy to digest. Similar to solving a math problem.
Improving analytical thinking means we can undertake more complex processes, and our analytical brain can be exercised through improving our math skills.
2. Math facilitates problem solving
Math teachers and books are famous for presenting a topic, a couple of easy examples and let students work on more complicated cases. The main objective is that students learn to generalize previously acquired knowledge.
In fact, generalization is something we use all the time. A simple example is learning to cross a street. When we grow up we are trained to cross the streets that were close to home. As adults we use that knowledge to cross streets everywhere we go.
The better we are at math, the easier it is to identify similar patterns and to apply previously acquired knowledge in new situations.
3. Math is used every day
Math helps us understand the world around us. Three simple examples are,
- Counting quantities, like counting money, or the number of pizza slices we want to eat.
- Understanding relations, like the relation between the number of days (rotational movement) and how often seasons repeat themselves (translation movement).
- Having access to safe online banking, which is possible thanks to cryptography.
4. Math helps keep our brain healthy
Harvard Medical School currently lists solving math problems as the number one activity to reduce the risk of mental decline, cognitive impairment, and age-related memory loss.
In fact, solving math problems requires mental effort akin to exercising, and just as exercise keeps our bodies healthy, learning more math helps keep our brains sharp and healthy.
5. Math is fun
Learning math can be a really gratifying activity. All that mental effort, all that struggle pay off when we realize we can solve a math problem!
Perhaps the best thing about learning math is when we say wow, I was able to solve that. When you solve a math problem the solution is yours, and nothing can be more exciting than creating your own solutions.