Heavy Work is thought to organize the brain from the bottom up. It’s part of the catalyst sparking executives to roll their sleeves up and get down and dirty with the nitty gritty of manual labor. It just plain feels good. But beyond that, it’s emotionally cleansing. It’s almost as if the effort to overcome physical resistance clears out the cobwebs blocking the way to mental clarity.
Put that way, we all could use a healthy dose of some Heavy Work.
Here are some easy ones to share with teachers. Children can do them sitting at or near their desks, or certainly within the perimeter of the classroom.
- Popcorn. Imagine being a kernel of popcorn in a microwave. Children place their hands onto the seat and lift their butts each time you say “Pop.” Starts slowly, building into a frenetic series of pops. Then reverse momentum gradually to a stray pop here or there.
- Toe Writing. Staying seated, a child lifts both feet and writes his name and address, the Declaration of Independence, or anything pertinent to the classroom subject. This takes a lot of abdominal and quadriceps strength. (One foot may even mirror the writing of the other.)
- Chair or desk push-ups. Place both hands on a stable surface. Step backward until you are angled away. Arms should be straight at first. Bend to touch your nose to the furniture at hand… literally.
- Take your chair for a walk. Make a track around the classroom. Each child picks up his chair and marches clockwise or counterclockwise. Stop in the middle to do the Hokey Pokey, arm press the chair forward or upward, or otherwise turn yourself around. But whatever you do… don’t let the chair touch the floor!
- Overhead Book Press. Using a large text book (or three), students reach overhead. Hands should be opened flat and perpendicular to the ceiling. With the texts laying securely on the opened hands, the students bend their elbows bringing the books almost to their heads and then back up again. Repeat. Do at least 10.