What are the benefits of heavy work?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

There are numerous benefits of heavy work for children. Let’s explore them in detail:

1. Calming and self-regulation: Heavy work activities, such as lifting, pushing, or pulling heavy objects, provide deep pressure input to the muscles and joints. This input has a calming effect on the nervous system, helping children to feel more grounded and regulated. It can be particularly beneficial for children who struggle with sensory processing difficulties or have trouble managing their emotions.

2. Improved clarity and alertness: Engaging in heavy work can help increase alertness and promote a state of readiness for learning. The proprioceptive input received through heavy work activities stimulates the brain and enhances cognitive functioning. This can lead to improved focus, concentration, and mental clarity, making it easier for children to engage in tasks and absorb information.

3. Extended attention span: Heavy work requires sustained effort and concentration, which can help develop and extend a child’s attention span. By engaging in activities that involve heavy work, such as carrying a heavy backpack or pushing a cart, children learn to persevere and stay focused on a task for a longer period of time. This skill is valuable in academic settings and everyday life.

4. Body awareness: Heavy work activities provide valuable proprioceptive input, which helps children develop a better sense of their body in space. This increased body awareness can improve coordination, balance, and motor planning skills. By engaging in heavy work, children become more attuned to their body’s movements and positions, leading to enhanced motor skills and overall physical development.

5. Muscle strengthening: Heavy work activities naturally require the use of larger muscle groups, such as the arms, legs, and core. By regularly engaging in heavy work, children can strengthen these muscles, leading to improved overall strength and endurance. Strong muscles provide a solid foundation for various physical activities and can contribute to better posture and stability.

In my experience, I have seen the positive impact of heavy work on children. For example, I worked with a child who struggled with attention and sensory regulation in the classroom. We introduced heavy work activities, such as carrying weighted backpacks and pushing heavy carts, into his daily routine. Over time, we observed improvements in his ability to stay focused, regulate his emotions, and participate actively in class. The heavy work provided the necessary sensory input to help him feel more grounded and ready to learn.

Heavy work offers a range of benefits for children. It promotes calmness and self-regulation, improves clarity and alertness, extends attention span, enhances body awareness, and strengthens muscles. By incorporating heavy work activities into a child’s daily routine, we can help them thrive physically, emotionally, and academically.