Everyday Math

Math, Numbers, and the Body

How do the body’s natural rhythms and mathematics seem to fit together?

The body has several natural cycles it experiences, including one called circadian rhythm (CR). In general, CR refers to the many body clocks that regulate our daily rhythms, natural cycles that control our appetite, energy, body temperature, sleep, and moods. The reason for such rhythms is mainly because your body’s cells don’t have enough energy to perform their many tasks at a constant rate and at the same time; thus, biological processes are rhythmic, giving cells time to alternately rest and be active. In its simplest form, this is why animals (and plants) have a dormant (sleep) cycle.

One of the more interesting interpretations of rhythms—albeit somewhat controversial, as most people believe it’s more “trendy” than scientific—are your bio-rhythms, or how your life is affected by biological cycles that cause oscillations (think of an up and down sine wave). It’s divided into cycles that show how you are doing intellectually (a 33-day cycle; peak days you’re at your best memory-, logically-, and alertness-wise), physically (a 23-day cycle; peak days you’re at your best strength-wise and well-being-wise), and emotionally (a 28-day cycle; peak days you’re at your best creativity-, sensitivity-, perception-, and mood-wise).

Each biorhythm varies throughout the days, affecting you depending on where on the sine wave you fall that day. To determine each part of the cycle, use the following: For physical = sin(2πt/23); emotional = sin(2πt/28); intellectual = sin(2πt/33); and an extra cycle, the intuitive = sin(2πt/ 38), with t being the number of days since you were born. Plot them each day to see how you’re doing through the week or year. Or just do it the easy way and go to a “biorhythm calculator” on the Internet.


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