When you hear someone talk about knitting, I’m sure the first thing that comes to your mind is the image of an elderly lady (for the sake of this visual, let’s say your grandmother) sitting in a rocking chair slowly working away at a hideous, itchy sweater for you to wear out of guilt. Now, push this image to the back of your mind and absorb this tidbit of information.
There is actually a slew of health-boosting benefits that come from knitting!
That’s right, besides being a cool, classic skill and a method of creative expression (sometimes in unexpected ways), it actually has mental, physical, and emotional benefits.
If you’re not a knitter, you may be surprised to learn of the amazing and unexpected side effects that can result from picking up the hobby! For those that are familiar with the needle and thread, these fascinating facts just might inspire you to start that project you’ve been planning, or to dream up a completely new one! Without further adieu, here are the benefits of knitting.
Knitting Benefit: Improves Math Skills
Knitting and crocheting are all about counting, multiplying, measuring, and patterning, which is all math skills. When you knit, you do most of that stuff subconsciously, though. But the effect on your brain is the same: stronger mathematical skill.
Knitting Benefit: Lowers Heart Rate And Blood Pressure
If you knit or crochet, you probably know how relaxed you feel after wrapping up a good session.
But relaxing is way more than just feeling good. It’s healthy!
Relaxation lowers levels of stress hormone cortisol, which, in excess, is harmful to the heart and circulatory system, and stress can cause all kinds of other nasty health problems, too.
Knitting Benefit: Reduces Mindless Eating
If your hands are busy, you can’t reach for junk food! People who knit tend to be less likely to engage in mindless eating, and thus tend to have better diets.
Knitting Benefit: Nimble Fingers
Knitting and crocheting require a number of small, precise movements, often executed rapidly.
This repeated exercise is actually great for keeping the finger joints flexible and the muscles in the hands toned and steady.
It might seem counterintuitive, but keeping the fingers moving by knitting is great for maintaining mobility in those with arthritis.
Knitting Benefit: Keeps Your Brain Healthy For Years
Studies have shown that among older people, those who knit or crochet had a decreased chance of age-related cognitive impairment or memory loss.
Among people aged 70 to 89, the studies showed that the knitters and crocheters had the healthiest brains and memories.
It suggests that crafts like this help the brain create and maintain the neural pathways that keep the mind and memory sharp.
Knitting Benefit: Calms Anxiety
Besides physically relaxing the body, knitting also soothes the mental state.
For many, the practice of knitting is meditative, and allows the mind to pause and refocus, and soothes worries.
Knitting Benefit: Sharpens Memory
Just like with math, knitting exercises your memory and makes you keenly focus on what you’re doing. Your mind is always focused on when to knit and when to purl, what color stripe comes next, and how many rows go into which part of the project.
Knitting makes your brain actively rely on its memory, and the more you use it, the stronger your memory becomes.
Knitting Benefit: Helps Manage Pain
Knitting requires concentration. When you’re 100% focused on what you’re doing, then it leaves little time for you to focus on other things — like pain.
People with chronic pain may find that knitting allows them to think about something other than the discomfort, and makes them less aware of the pain for at least a little while.
This benefit isn’t just limited to physical pain. It has been found that people with clinical depression and eating disorders also reported feeling better after taking up knitting.
Knitting Benefit: Gives A Sense Of Purpose
Not feeling like you have a sense of purpose is a terrible feeling.
Focusing on a project such as knitting gives you a goal and a sense of purpose. It gives you measurable goals, and with them, comes a sense of fulfillment as you meet them.
Knitting Benefit: Boosts Confidence And Self-Esteem
If working on a project is fulfilling, completing one is even better!
The sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a project is second to none.
Those that have completed knitting projects take pride in know that they’ve learned and mastered the skill.
Knowing you can turn a string of yarn into something wearable is kind of awesome! And those that achieve that, are awesome for doing it!
Knitting Benefit: You create a one-of-a-kind item that’ll never be exactly replicated
Aside from the sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing a knitting project comes what is possibly the most exciting reward — you’ve created a one-of-a-kind item unlike anything else in the world.
Maybe it’s a perfectly fitting sweater or a terribly fitting sweater — but it’s the only one of its kind.
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