Learning to knit can be difficult. You need to train your hands to do the most simplest of knitting skills and in the beginning it can feel like you will never be able to manage it. But once you master it, after lots of practise, there is more to knitting than clothing yourself and your family through the winter.
Here are ten ways knitting keeps you healthy and that will make sticking out that learning curve really worthwhile:
1. Improved Motor Function.
Knitting stimulates almost your entire brain all at once. The Frontal Lobe carries out higher mental processes such as thinking, decision making, and planning as well as being the main force behind your motor skills. The Occipital Lobe is responsible for processing visual information from the eyes and passing the information to other parts of the brain to create memories of what you see. The Parietal Lobe deals with sensation. The fingers and hands are a primary site for sensory data, so much of the parietal lobe is dedicated to receiving and processing what they are doing. The Temporal Lobe forms memories (like the ones received from the occipital lobe) and recognises language. So it basically helps you read the pattern as this is, for all intent and purpose, another language.
Using all of these parts of the brain at the same time strengthens your mind and slows down cognitive impairment. It can help people with diseases like Parkinson’s to improve their motor functions by helping improve their fine motor skills and distracting from their painful symptoms.
2. Improvement of Concentration.
Knitting can help you to focus on one thing and therefore reduces hyperactivity and procrastination. It shifts your attention to the project in your hand and as you see it progress this reinforces the desire to concentrate and get the reward at the end.
3. Reduces Stress, Anxiety and Depression.
Focusing on a task can help distract you from the anxiety, stress or depression that could be creeping in. After a few minutes of sitting down to knit your heart rate reduces and your blood pressure decreases so if you are feeling anxious reach for the knitting needles to reduce your symptoms.
4. Improves Memory.
Even with consistent dedication to develop skills, the most experienced knitter will still make mistakes. This teaches you to recall your errors so you can avoid them in the future. Also, you know that tough lace pattern repeat that you had to read over and over for every row but then suddenly you knew it and didn’t need to look at the pattern again. Yeh, that.
5. Strengthens Arms and Hands.
The rhythmic motion of knitting can aid in the prevention of tendinitis and arthritis. Knitting for a few hours a day can exercise the hands and arms, strengthening the muscles.
6. Provides a Digital Detox.
Most of us are used to having our phones glued to our hands these days and the age of digital is definitely upon us. Knitting is a simple way to separate us from the electronics. It’s back to the old school way of doing things manually with our own hands instead of reenacting something in a computer game or relying on technology. It’s also less strain on your eyes when you are not looking at artificial lights all the time.
7. Gives you “Me Time”.
When you knit, you choose which pattern to create, you decide how long you will knit for and you set yourself targets to finish something. This gives you the power of choice and in turn, gives you a sense of control over your “me time”. Knitting creates quality time to do something you want to do as a leisure activity.
8. Gives a Sense of Pride.
Knitting is goal driven and, regardless of what you make, you have a sense of pride at the end. Unless it’s a complete disaster of course! Pride stimulates your reward center and releases dopamine which makes you feel great. Knit a jumper, take on the world!
9. Creates Friendships.
Whether you join your local knitting group (stitch and bitch, knit and natter) or if you head to the online forums for a chat about your latest project, relationships are formed with people who have a mutual hobby. Something you can chat about and get enjoyment from. It can be a mentally healthy way to build friendships.
10. Builds Good Habits.
Not all habits are bad. Knitting has all of those 9 health benefits above and they are not to be sniffed at. The concentration it takes alone can keep your brain healthy, the skill keeps your hands and arm exercised, and the entire ability makes you more relaxed, more social and releases endorphins that make you happy. In my eyes, knitting is a very good habit to have.
So there you have it, ten ways knitting keeps you healthy. Which one surprised you? And which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below.