Knitting and crocheting may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of getting in shape. In fact, it is generally regarded as a passive activity that is anything but health promoting. While it’s benefits in terms of producing items of clothing are obvious, you may be surprised to learn that knitting and associated string based craft activities have a whole slew of health promoting benefits.
It turns out that knitting is beneficial to you from a mental, physical and an emotional point of view. In addition to the obvious benefits of being able to express your creativity in an extremely practical way, save money and always have something warm to wear, those are pretty compelling reasons to pick up you needles.
The following 10 health benefits of knitting may just make you a convert.
Benefit #1: Knitting Reduces the Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
Knitting and other string craft activities are extremely relaxing and soothing activities. At the end of a session, it’s more than likely that you’re feel very calm, possibly even sleepy. This induces a relaxed mood, it decreases cortisol levels and it brings down all of your vital cardiovascular indicators. If you doctor has told you that your blood pressure needs to come down, this is the ideal way to do it!
Benefit #2: Knitting is a Great Finger Exercise
Knitting requires some pretty dexterous finger movements. The movements are nimble, precise and delicate. The repeated movements will keep your fingers nimble, helping to ward of the effects of arthritis and osteoporosis. It will also keep your fingers steady. To ensure that you don’t suffer from repetitive strain injury be sure to take regular breaks wherein you stretch your fingers.
Benefit #3: Mental Math Skills
There is a surprising amount of mathematics involved with knitting and other string craft activities. You do a whole lot of counting, multiplying, dividing, measuring and patterning. This will keep your brain stimulated, providing you with plenty of practice at mental mathematics. You will be doing mental gymnastics that most people never get to do. As a result, you will be boosting your brain power every time you pick up your knitting needles.
Benefit #4: Anxiety Reduction
Knitting is a great way to reduce your stress levels. It will instantly calm your body and your mind. When you are knitting, especially after you’ve been doing it for some time, you’ll be able to put yourself into a meditative state. You’ll be able to reflect, contemplate and put your mind at ease.
Benefit #5: Boosts Memory
To successfully complete a knitting project, you need to be constantly using your memory skills. You have to remember about the color pattern you are using, the number of rows, when to purl and when to knit. In short, you will be relying on your memory every second. This will improve your general recall in every area of your life.
Benefit #6: Pain Management
When you’ve suffered an injury, it’s difficult not to fixate on the pain. But, unless you’ve got a broken arm, it’s quite likely that you will be able to knit as you recuperate. As a result, you will have an activity that you can give your mental focus to. That way, you will be able to take your attention off your pain and onto your knitting. Your mind will be taken off of your physical discomfort and this will make it easier for you to get through.
Even people who are suffering from clinical depression can find relief through knitting.
Benefit #7: Counters Binge Eating
When we’re sitting idly watching TV, or even reading a book, we are prone to binge eating. It’s not because we are hungry. Rather, we simply want to have something to do with our hands, and transporting food between a plate and our mouth fits the bill nicely. However, when you are knitting, your hands are already busy.
Anyone who is trying to clean up their diet and reduce their habit of chowing down on junk food while watching TV, need to give knitting a try – it works wonders!
Benefit #8: Keeps Your Brain Active
Knitting is a great brain boosting activity for elderly people. A recent study that provided mental testing on subjects between the ages of 70 and 89. Knitters and crocheters were far better in their recall and overall brain power than people who did not engage in any string craft activities. This study, and others like it, strongly suggest that string craft activities strengthen the neural pathways that keep the brain active.
Benefit #9: A Sense of Achievement
Knitting is very purposeful. You are in the process of making something. This provides you with a sense of purpose. When you finish what you are making, you get a tremendous sense of accomplishment. As you get closing to completing your piece, you are motivated to carry on and get it done.
When you make clothing for other people, you also get a very satisfying sense of the joy of giving.
Benefit #10: Improved Self Esteem
When you reach you knitting goal, you feel eminently satisfied by your accomplishment. You will end up with a physical item that you can hold, wear and remind yourself that you made that. This provides you with a real sense of self esteem.