5 surprising health benefits of knitting

There’s a lot more to be gained from taking up knitting than a new woolly wardrobe.

If there’s one thing master knitters are used to (aside from holding a beautifully turned out item in their hot little hands), it’s hearing the familiar cry of, “Why spend all that time knitting when you can just buy something almost as cheaply?”

The knitter might respond with “Because I enjoy making things myself” or, if they’re older, something about “idle hands being the devil’s work”.

If you’re new to the game however (and it has been the year for taking up a new hobby, after all), you’ll be pleased to know the action of knitting – no matter how badly – serves up a wide range of health benefits with that scarf or baby blanket.

Still not convinced knitting is for you? Consider the following advantages:

Knitting calms your nerves

There’s no denying learning to “knit one, purl one” can be stressful in the beginning, but once you get a handle on technique, the practice can produce feelings of calmness and peace in participants, according to a UK study.

It is suggested the meditative quality of the activity lowers the heart rate, which in turn reduces blood pressure.

Knitting can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment

The hands might be kept busy but it’s the mind that stays sharp, according to a 2011 US study.

The study, which sampled more than 1300 people between the ages of 70 and 89, looked at activities humans engaged in late in life and found those who engaged in knitting regularly had a diminished chance of developing mild cognitive impairment and memory loss.

Knitting may assist with overcoming ongoing health issues

At first glance, it seems too long a bow to draw, but a 2009 Canadian study found learning to knit led to significant health improvements in the lives of women battling the eating disorder anorexia nervosa.

Of the 38 women sampled, 74 per cent reported knitting not only helped them reduce their fears but the activity also prevented them from ruminating on their health issue.

knitting benefits

Finding your knitting crew could help you live longer

We all know that warm and fuzzy feeling of belonging and it seems our need to find “our people” has physical and psychological merit.

University of Queensland research found among the more than 25,000 people surveyed, social connectedness was a stronger and more consistent predictor of mental health than mental health was of social connectedness (around three times stronger).

Meanwhile, a meta-analytic review of 148 studies looking at the correlation between social connection and mortality indicated a sizeable 50 percent increased likelihood of survival for those with stronger social support.

Your key takeaway? Joining a community group for knitters could help you live longer (and feel good about doing so).

Knitting can make you happier and healthier

Rather than knitting a little something for yourself, consider joining a group that knits for charity or go on your own and donate knitted items to those in need.

Doing a good deed, whether it’s donating money or goods to a charity, will pay dividends.

A study by the University of Oregon found the brain’s pleasure centres become activated whenever people donated money to charity rather than keeping it for themselves.

Written by Dilvin Yasa