health

Experts Say Knitting And Crocheting Can Have A Surprising Impact On Your Health

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

Knitting, crocheting, lacemaking, and lots of other string-based crafts have been popular for eons.

While in the past, knitting was a necessity to making warm clothing and blankets, now, it’s just a craft and pastime that people of all ages enjoy. It’s always so satisfying to make something with your hands!

But it’s more than making yourself a cute sweater or a fluffy pair of socks, it turns out. In fact, it’s much more.

Knitting actually brings with it a slew of health-boosting benefits. Besides being a cool, classic skill and a method of creative expression, sometimes in unexpected ways, it actually has mental, physical, and emotional benefits.

And if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Those who knit know how nice it is to relax after a long day with their current project and just be still for a little bit. It’s really soothing!

If you’re not a knitter, these unexpected side effects might just convince you to pick it up!

And if you are, these fascinating facts just might inspire you to start that project you’ve been planning, or to dream up a completely new one!

Check out the benefits that this ancient craft can bring to you, and break out the knitting needles!

Why Knitting And Crocheting?

Why Knitting And Crocheting?
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Knitting and crocheting might seem like crafts of the past, but they’re not at all. In fact, knitting has experienced an uptick in popularity among people of all ages.

But besides being a useful skill, what else is knitting doing for you?

Knitting Benefit #1: Lowers Heart Rate And Blood Pressure

Knitting Benefit #1: Lowers Heart Rate And Blood Pressure
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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 #2: Keeps Fingers Nimble

Knitting Benefit #2: Keeps Fingers Nimble
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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.

Naturally, as with any activity, be gentle and don’t overdo it, and make sure to take frequent stretch breaks.

Knitting Benefit #3: Improves Math Skills

Knitting Benefit #3: Improves Math Skills
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Believe it or not, you can sharpen your math skills without doing rows and rows of arithmetic — or at least, that’s what it will seem like.

Knitting and crocheting is all about counting, multiplying, measuring, and patterning, which are 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 #4: Calms Anxiety

Knitting Benefit #4: Calms Anxiety
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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 #5: Sharpens Memory

Knitting Benefit #5: Sharpens Memory
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Just like with math, knitting is all about remembering what you’re doing. 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 #6: Helps Manage Pain

Knitting Benefit #6: Helps Manage Pain
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Knitting requires focus, which means that you have to concentrate on it and not on, say, 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.

And it’s not just physical pain. People with clinical depression and eating disorders also reported feeling better after taking up knitting.

Knitting Benefit #7: Reduces Mindless Eating

Knitting Benefit #7: Reduces Mindless Eating
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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.

If you’re looking to eat more mindfully, try taking up knitting while you’re hanging out at home or watching TV.

Your hands will be occupied with the project, and so they won’t be scooping up chips.

Knitting Benefit #8: Keeps Your Brain Healthy For Years

Knitting Benefit #8: Keeps Your Brain Healthy For Years
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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 #9: Gives A Sense Of Purpose

Knitting Benefit #9: Gives A Sense Of Purpose
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One of the worst feelings is that you’re just kind of there.

But having a project gives you a goal and a sense of purpose. You want to meet that goal, and getting closer and closer to it is a great, inspiring feeling.

Even better is creating handmade gifts for friends and family, or creating necessities like scarves and mittens for the needy.

The feeling of creating something for someone you care about is deeply fulfilling.

Knitting Benefit #10: Boosts Confidence And Self-Esteem

Knitting Benefit #10: Boosts Confidence And Self-Esteem
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If working on a project is fulfilling, completing one is even better!

When you’ve finished something, you have a physical thing that you can hold up and look at and say, “I did that!”

Knitting is a skill that you learned and mastered, and it’s something you can do.

You can turn a piece of yarn into something wearable! That’s awesome! And you’re awesome for doing it.

Knitting Benefit #11: You Get A Neat, One-Of-A-Kind Craft At The End!

Knitting Benefit #11: You Get A Neat, One-Of-A-Kind Craft At The End!
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Along with a sense of accomplishment and ability, you also get a cool craft when you’re done with a knitting project! And the best part is that there’s no other one like it in the world.

Maybe you’ll end up with a perfectly fitting sweater, or a blanket that looks perfect in your bedroom, or a scarf in your favorite colors. Whatever it is, it’s yours!

Do you knit or crochet? Would you like to start? Let us know in the comments, and show us some of the things you’ve made!

And be sure to SHARE these unexpected benefits with your friends!