The health benefits of knitting
We’ll be blogging soon about the benefits of a knitting group in schools and other institutions, but in fact knitting groups can benefit all ages. Perhaps you can encourage knitting at work in your lunch hour, or during book club, or in the pub!
The very action of knitting is well known to have both a calming and uplifting impact. With its repetitive nature, has often been likened to meditation; Perri Lewis compares it to yoga; this image was created by Alanna Cavanagh! Studies have shown knitting can reduce symptoms of depression and the feeling of pain in patients with chronic illness.
According to the website Stitchlinks: “Knitting is known to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, aid in dealing with life-altering illnesses and those living with the devastating effects of cancer”. It lowers the heart rate as well as blood pressure, and offers benefits for those suffering from Arthritis, Alzheimer’s, or Dementia.
Knitting also teaches important life skills: patience, perseverance, and communication. The knitter learns that making a mistake is not a catastrophe, and that goals can be reached despite a few detours along the way. Indeed, the end product may be considerably ‘richer’ with a bit of exploration en route!
For some, such as Julie Williams, knitting offers vital moments of calm and respite from demanding lives as carers. Julie describes how knitting has helped her cope with the demands of caring for her autistic son Toby in her blog Little Cotton Rabbits.
Stichlinks also has some interesting research on the bilateral movements in knitting:
“Many others have also told us that knitting has improved their memory. It’s known that multi-sensorial events are remembered more readily, so perhaps this is an explanation. Others believe that being a bilateral exercise, knitting could be enhancing the connectivity between the right and left cerebral hemispheres, which may lead to an improvement in memory.
The bilateral movements required in knitting could also be an explanation as to why those with dyslexia and dyspraxia have found improvement in their conditions since taking up knitting. In addition they have found that knitting also helps them to organise their thought processes and have found this skill to be transferrable to other areas of life.”
Of course, knitting together also provides a wonderful safe place for learning, conversation, and making new friends!
How has knitting improved your life? Let us know, we would love to hear your story.
Last updated: November 3rd, 2015.