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Ottawa's N.U.T.S challenging both body and mind

Midweek Mugging: Owner Hi Nguyen thinks the best learning can be done while active, not necessarily while sitting in a classroom.
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Hi Nguyen wants to increase the learning ability of local children and adults, while keeping them active through his business, N.U.T.S.

N.U.T.S, which stands for Neuron Upgrade Training Station, sends people through different physical obstacles while asking them multiple choice trivia questions at key points in the course.

“It’s been known for a long, long, long time that body and mind go together, but we’re really the first company to have integrated the whole learning concept in an obstacle course,” he said.

Nguyen said making people do exercise and elevating their heart rates puts the body in peak performance, and that helps the brain retain information.

Some of the different obstacles at N.U.T.S include monkey bars and balance beams, but also more imaginative ones like a “ninja line”, where people have to grab different hanging objects to get across a gap, and a skeet-ball-like game played with a heavy medicine ball.

Nguyen said he is a retired RCMP officer and some of the obstacles are inspired by what is used at the training academy.

After going through a few stations, participants get to a section with iPads where they have to answer trivia. Nguyen said the questions can be completely customized by teachers bringing a class in, or one of the topics N.U.T.S has pre-installed.

Since opening at the beginning of May 2017 in a space just down the road from the Canadian Science and Technology Museum, N.U.T.S has been busy with families coming for birthday parties and camps during the summer, Nguyen said. He said corporations have also been booking the facility for training sessions and team building too, so it’s not just for kids.

The business can also pack up some of the obstacles to go on the road and will be at Carleton University for two sessions in the fall.

The idea for the business came to him when he was thinking of a way for families to get out and enjoy themselves and to combine learning with physical activity, he said. After prototyping the concept, the idea solidified.

“I created a small obstacle course in a park -- literally from toys I bought at Dollarama --  and created a small obstacle course and integrated some multiple choice answer booklets,” Nguyen said. “I had kids run it and they were having a blast and having so much fun, so I went ‘wow I think I have something’”.

Nguyen said he wants people to remember how much fun it is to move instead of sitting down, and to help people realize that being sedentary isn’t the best way to learn.

“Whether you’re in a corporation and you’re renting a room at the Hilton or you know you’re in a school setting, you should always, always focus on movement because that’s how the brain was wired to perform.”

“You shouldn’t suffer when you go to learn something.”

N.U.T.S is located at 2253 Gladwin Crescent, and is open Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.




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