Those of us who love knitting don't really need an excuse to spend time with our needles and knitting yarn. But it's interesting to note that this hobby really has a number of significant health benefits that you may not know about. If you're not already a knitter, here are a few reasons you might want to consider it.
The Health Benefits of Knitting
This is probably the biggest benefit of knitting, the deep sense of relaxation that comes from the repetitive movements. Studies have shown that it's a lot like meditation, which is well-known as an effective relaxation technique.
Anyone dealing with stress, anxiety and even depression can improve their symptoms and state of mind with some knitting. Just don't try to tackle difficult projects beyond your abilities, or you can end up adding more stress than relieving it.
While knitters do often just “zone out” and pay little attention to the stitches they are doing, when you are working on a new or complicated pattern, you have to pay closer attention. The challenge of keeping the yarn tension right, keeping your fingers in the proper position, counting stitches and watching where your stitches are falling all keep your mind sharp.
A Sense of Accomplishment
This is another mental health benefit, but a benefit nonetheless. That sense of pride that comes with creating something lovely and even practical can't be left out of this discussion. Whether it's simply being proud that a long scarf is finally finished, or that you mastered a difficult stitch, there is a lot to be said for the simple feeling of success.
Knitting to Improve Coordination and Dexterity
Specifically in your hands, fingers and arms, knitting can really help you improve your coordination and your fine motor control. Knitting requires some pretty precise movements and manipulations, and it will take practice to get your fingers in shape to handle it.
Stave off Arthritis
And speaking of joints, knitting can be a big help with the symptoms of arthritis. For this benefit, it is best if you are able to take up knitting before painful or stiff fingers become a problem. It's a preventative more than anything else. But if you are already suffering from arthritis, knitting can help you loosen up those joints though it may be painful at the start.
How to Learn The Art Of Knitting
If you are interested in improving your personal health in any of these ways, it might be time to learn how to knit. The easiest way is to find someone who knits that can show you the basics. If you don't know anyone, you can find excellent video tutorials all over the Internet that can be just as good. In fact, it may even be a better way to learn since you can pause and replay any stitches you can't seem to master. If you are anything like me, you might need to take a beginner's class at a craft store 3 or 4 times. True story.
For tools, you just need a set of mid-size knitting needles and a few skeins of yarn in your favorite colors. You'll be making scarves, blankets, hats or sweaters in no time.
Are there any knitting geniuses out there with tips and tricks for newbies? Please share in the comments!