The Benefits of Knitting: Why Learning To Knit Is Fantastic For Your Health!
No longer a craft reserved for the grandparents among us, knitting has seen a massive resurgence in popularity over the past few years. Did you know that approximately one third of women aged 25-35 are now knitting? And it turns out that if you haven’t yet swelled the ranks of the knit-obsessed, you’d be mad not to, as the benefits to spending 20 minutes a day getting creative with your needles and yarn are many!
The Relaxation Response
Studies have shown that the repetitve actions involved in crafts like knitting, crochet and needlework can induce a state of deep relaxation similar to that we experience during well know relaxtion practises, like yoga and meditation. Of course, for those entirely new to knitting, there’s a learning curve that requires concentration and perseverance… but once you’ve broken the back of it, a seasoned knitter can expect to experience a lowered heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduced levels of cortisol (that stress hormone that no-one likes!) The repetitive motions of knitting have been shown to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which quietens the ‘fight or flight’ response – so you feel calmer, quieter and far more relaxed afterwards!
Reach for your yarn and needles on your daily commute, your lunch break, a cosy evening in, or an afternoon with friends… it’ll do you good!
The Productivity Effect
The main difference between a craft like knitting, and the art of mindful meditation, is that with knitting, you have something tangible to show for your efforts at the end! Not only do these finished projects help make us feel good by solving practical problems in our lives (warm snuggly jumpers for cold winter days, blankets for grandchildren, a new tea cosy for the kitchen) but they also boost our self esteem. How great does it feel to see a completed project, and know that you created it yourself? This is exactly why you’ll see so many snaps of finished projects posted on social media by crafty enthusiasts – because every finished article is an achievement, and we want everyone to know about it!
Knitting in the Big Wide World
Don’t just take our word for it – you only have to look at how the art of knitting is being applied out there in the big wide world to see that the benefits really must be worthwhile! Knitting is featured in craft programs run by schools, prisons, therapists and healthcare professionals alike, all of whom report that the introduction of knitting helps to enhance social skills, as well as increase calm.
Distraction in Action
A study in the UK involving volunteers suffering from chronic pain reported that activities including knitting and crochet actually reduced subjects’ awareness of pain. It has been suggested that the brain can only process so much information at any one moment, and therefore that crafting activities that require our focus make it more difficult for the brain to register pain signals. The repetitive movements required to create a pattern release calming serotonin, which can lift moods and dull pain, according to the findings.
Get Started With Knitting
So next time your mother, sister or grandmother offers to show you how to knit – take them up on their offer! Not only will you pick up an invaluable skill, but it’s a fantastic way to spend time with someone you love, too. Alternatively, their are plenty of tutorials available online that will take you from beginner to pro, and help you take advantage of the many benefits on offer to knitting enthusiasts everywhere.
This fantastic book comes in a handy small format that fits comfortably in a bag, so you can take it out and about with you! The wire-bound format means that it lies open while you are working, and it also has a useful fold-out flap at the back that provides a quick and easy reference to all the abbreviations used in the patterns. All the essential techniques are covered, including basic garter and stocking stitch, casting on and casting off, and increasing and decreasing, all clearly explained using step-by-step photographs and simple instructions. Alison’s designs have a timeless appeal that will delight knitters of all ages, and there are projects for children as well as adults, making it a fantastic investment for anyone keen to give knitting a go!
Keen to learn more straight away? Check out our beginner’s guide to knitting right here, or dive into the rest of our knitting and crochet articles, projects and patterns right here on the blog!