First Grade Science and Long Term Fitness

Simplifying complicated issues is a central theme in parenting to a first grader. Curiosity looms over everything, and there's no better place than Science to see this in action. Solids, liquids, and gases - states of matter, as they are known - are not defined in first grade science. Kids don't get to atoms and electrons for years. However, labeling household items and things in nature as one or another is a fun way to introduce kids to science. 

We adults get tripped up pretty easily though. It all started out well with my daughter. We named some solids: a chair, a glass, the walls, our books. We named a bunch of liquids like water, milk, pee, blood. Even invisible gases aren't tough, the simple ones like air. And the special air that goes into a balloon that keeps it floating up high. 

But then she asked some tough questions: "is a plant a solid?," "What about the body - it seems like a solid, but there are liquids inside of it." To my delight, I found a web forum with a little more detail after we covered my standard response, "what do you think?" The graphic at, about a third of the way down the page was really helpful to her, and I realized that it was really helpful to me too. The human body is a pressurized system of mostly water and oxygen. There are solid parts: minerals mostly and for many people, foreign substances/chemicals from unhealthy food products, but the vast majority of our cells, blood, muscles, and brain are composed of water.

How does this affect your fitness? Daily stimulation of your body with simple moves like those you find at do so much more for you than that butt-kicking boot camp you drag yourself to once a week. No matter how tired you are, no matter how fit you are, no matter how injured you are, the insides of your body need to activate in order to stay liquid, to stay pressurized in balance with the outside world. Too many solids and too much gas prevent the flow of all of those liquids, so one of the worst things that you can do is to roll out of bed and start the day without exercise.

Ten minutes is all you need to foster greater energy and more efficient metabolism. Making this time part of your daily habits can also prevent injuries and burn out. You can get stronger and fitter, as you harness the power of your body's primary state of matter. Enjoy the week.