Why You Need to Send Your Kid to School with a Heavy Backpack


It’s school time and parents have LOTS to do! There are school lists, school fees, lunches to make, snacks to pack and SO MUCH MORE to consider. Then, you have to consider WHERE to put all the stuff you’ve assembled for your kid!

YOU NEED A BACKPACK! You’ve got to get a backpack to ensure your child can carry all his or her important stuff to school. Parents may also worry about how heavy these backpacks can be. It’s true, an overly heavy backpack could create some concern. However, could there be some positives associated with heavy backpacks? What could be gained from carrying a heavy backpack around?

YES, it might seem scary at first to have kids carry heavy backpacks.  However, others have looked into this as well.  Smaller people can carry heavier loads but there is a limit to the weight that a person should carry [1].  SO… something to consider is the POSSIBILITY that you may not be giving your kid an adequate load or weight in his or her backpack.


BUT, what is “a sufficient load” that a person may adequately carry so that there isn’t an undue burden on the person?

YES, WE DON’T WANT TO UNNECESSARILY STRESS THE KIDS! But… a person can carry 15% to 35% of their body weight, and some people may attempt more. However, the real weight a person carries must not exceed what they should be carrying, or what may cause unnecessary stress. A backpack that is a little heavier than usual may not be such a terrible idea.

WHAT WE SHOULD also consider is that your kid could be carrying a backpack that is SO LIGHT that some opportunities are being wasted. WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT THIS?

We should give more thought to the benefits that can be obtained when you send your kid to school with a heavy backpack. For example, let’s talk about increasing the amount of exercise when walking with a heavy backpack. In addition, kids may experience increased bone density as a result of the added stress of a heavy backpack, getting rid of excess or unneeded calories, and building endurance. However, it’s important to purchase the right backpack that’s built for “weightier” items.

Walking with a heavy backpack!

Walking can be great! It’s a form of exercise, a way to get out and about, an alternative to other means of transportation, and good for your overall health as well. Unless you’ve got medical conditions that prevent you from walking, it is worth a try!

Now, what about kids?

If walking is great for adults, THINK about how much good walking could do for kids TOO. Then, also consider the impact of WEIGHTS. These weights could help provide resistance to the muscles. Being able to walk certain distances every day with a heavy backpack could lead to stronger muscles and a LOT more exercise. Hence, a little weight in those backpacks may not be so bad. Kids can get quite a bit of exercise by simply carrying a HEAVIER backpack to school.

Bone Density Benefits 

Bone density is another potential benefit of heavy backpacks. THINK ABOUT… RESISTANCE. Sometimes, it’s good to have resistance… but in what way, you might ask?

Well, resistance can help toughen or strengthen bones by increasing the density of the bones.

How does such density help?

If your bones do not have adequate density, this in essence means that your bones are weak and could become susceptible to injury. With low bone density or weak bones, a person can easily fracture or break a bone by falling or impacting the bone in any way. Indeed, you CAN increase your bone density by doing weight-bearing activities and exercises like walking [2].

The lower a person’s bone density is, the increased likelihood that injury, breaks, and fractures of the bones can occur. Strengthen your bones and the bones of your kids. Don’t shy away from putting some weight in those backpacks!

Burn those calories

You can burn calories through physical exercise and activity. Walking and other physical activities can vary daily in relation to the calories that are burnt [3].

By carrying something heavy… and heavy backpacks are included… you could be doing some EXTRA WORK… and this means that you are BURNING EXTRA CALORIES TOO! Great news, right!

So, if you want your kid to get a BIT OF A WORKOUT, in a way that he or she may not even realize is happening, re-consider the ‘everyday backpack’. YES, quite a seemingly easy way to burn off those extra calories. With the right amount of weight in the backpack, the body gains muscle mass and an increasingly good chance of tolerance to the weight too. This is associated with body toning and building up endurance, which EVERYONE would love!

Build that endurance!

YES, slow and steady can sometimes win the race… the race of endurance. Meaning, do not try to load up a backpack or bag to its upper limit all at once. Take your time and do it GRADUALLY.

BUILD UP THE ENDURANCE and let your body gradually catch up as it feels the extra exertion at first. Sometimes, the body does not actually notice the increased weight or the mind is focused on other things and the newly added weight makes little or no difference. Then, over time, your kid becomes able to endure the weight.

The GREAT NEWS ABOUT THIS is that you’ll HAVE the ENDURANCE when you need it! By boosting your endurance, you also get stronger, and your kid can experience the same benefits, too.

Gain knowledge

Surprisingly enough, your kid can gain knowledge from this activity. Perhaps not at first. However, as time passes, there can be lessons to be learned by being able to accommodate increasingly heavier and heavier loads.  There WOULD also be a LESSON to learn about limits because… let’s face it… kids cannot carry unlimited amounts of books or other weighty items in their backpacks. There is a lot to understand about strength, endurance, limits and SO MUCH MORE.

There are backpacks that are built for this!

Do you know that backpack designer… at least most of the reputable designers and manufacturers… does consider the amount of stuff that students put in their backpacks these days. INDEED! There are backpacks that are built to last! These backpacks have superior designs, materials, and components that help the child effectively and efficiently carry a reasonable amount of weight.

So, GET A MODERN, WELL-DESIGNED BACKPACK! These modern-day backpacks allow kids to evenly distribute weight, adjust straps, add additional straps if the design permits, add components such as pouches, zipped elements, and more support.


In addition, it is important to note that backpacks should be set up properly so that kids are able to adequately support the weight of the backpack. If a backpack with reasonable weight is not set up properly, the child carrying the backpack could suffer in terms of aches, pains, and possibly more serious injury.

The backpack straps and setup need to be adjusted suitably to fit the frame and size of the person carrying the backpack. Also, you’ll want to distribute the items in the backpack as evenly as possible, so that the load carried balances out across the shoulders and back. So, DO SET UP the backpack properly!

SO… if you do load backpacks with a reasonably heavyweight, be sure you purchase REALLY sturdy backpacks that can accommodate such loads effectively. This may not be the time to go the CHEAP route of backpack purchasing. It’s BETTER to get a really solid backpack that can provide the necessary benefits.

It is important to remember TOO that making a backpack heavy should be done the smart way. You don’t want to make a backpack TOO heavy so that your kid is unable to carry the backpack without feeling pain or complaining that the bag is too heavy. 

Keep the weight within reason, just enough weight to reap the benefits of sending your kid to school with a heavy backpack!

Rick Kaselj MS

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