What is Heavy Work?
Heavy work is any kind of activity that puts weight or resistance on the body. Lifting weights is an obvious type of heavy work, but there are many other ways to accomplish this that don't look or feel like a workout to your child. Carrying books from one place to another or pushing a shopping cart are just a few ways that kids can engage in heavy work without even realizing they’re working!
Why Heavy Work Matters
Heavy work engages our sense of proprioception, which is our feeling of our body and where it is in space. This sense helps us move safely through the world and provides us important information that we use throughout the day.
However, many kids with sensory processing challenges experience decreased proprioception. If a child you know chews on their clothing or toys, seems less coordinated or bumps into things frequently, struggles to sit still, or plays too rough or breaks things frequently, it may be a sign that they are struggling with decreased proprioception.
Heavy work can help by providing stronger input to to the child’s proprioceptive receptors in their body. By providing extra input in the form of increased pressure on the body, heavy work can help calm and organize the body.
Heavy Work Activities for the Home
Have your child walk on hands and feet like a bear, or flip over an scuttle like a crab! For added fun you can make it a race.
Tug of war
Play catch with a weighted ball or stuffed animal
Riding a bike
Drobnjak, Lauren. "25 Heavy Work Activities for Small Spaces” The Inspired Treehouse, 2017, https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/25-heavy-work-activities-small-spaces/
Morin, Amanda. “Heavy work and sensory processing issues: What you need to know” Understood, https://www.understood.org/en/articles/heavy-work-activities
“Proprioception Explained” Brain Balance, https://www.brainbalancecenters.com/blog/proprioception-explained