Have you ever been in a really horrible mood, then felt better after knitting for a few minutes? I have, and it's a perfectly understandable reaction once you dive into the health benefits of knitting.
Creative moods can make me feel like a crazy person, but they're actually healthy. Sometimes I come crawling out of the craft room like a wild animal with roaming, bloodshot eyes that have looked at too many balls of yarn. But I find that afterwards, I don't care so much about that thing I messed up at work or that bill I forgot to pay.
Could knitting actually be good for you? Experts say yes!
Here are just a few of the many health benefits of knitting. Next time you're feeling yucky, grab your needles for some instant happiness.
1. Knitting helps relieve stress.
When you're focused on knitting, are you thinking about your overdrawn bank account or the car in the driveway that needs a repair? Probably not. You're so busy counting stitches and focusing that your mind can't squeeze in those everyday problems. You might even feel a little better about those problems after knitting for a few minutes.
According to an Psychology Today article, any repetitive movement can help release serotonin, which in turn makes us feel calmer. And guess what? Feeling calmer can also help lower blood pressure. Woo-hoo!
2. Knitting is meditative.
Meditation and stress relief go hand in hand. When you're doing something meditative, you're focused on the task without thinking about your problems.
Meditation involves focus, and knitting puts you right into that zone. Add that to the repetitive movements of stitching and you might find yourself so zoned out that you lose track of time completely. Just think about how much focus is required to do a simple knit stitch alone. Even though you may feel like you're on autopilot, especially if you're a seasoned knitter, your brain is still telling your hands how to make that stitch. Insert the needle through the loop, wrap the yarn, pull the yarn through, drop the stitch -- all this requires a meditative focus.
3. Knitting keep you socially active.
Knitting offers plenty of opportunities for socializing. Whether you're hosting a few knitting friends at your place or you attend a regular knitting group, knitting gives you the chance to connect with other people. We all know how much a little social interaction can benefit our health!
4. Knitting keeps your fingers limber -- even if you have arthritis.
If you have arthritis, knitting can actually improve dexterity in your hands and fingers. The Arthritis Foundation suggests approaching knitting like it's a sport, warming up your hands before you get started. Stick with it and you'll see more long-term benefits and less pain when it comes to arthritis.
Be sure to take a look at our post on hand stretches for knitters and crocheters to learn some great stretches to do before and after you hit the needles.
Put your brain to work this month with new knitting skills that require more focus that just knitting and purling.
How about some Stranded Colorwork: Basics & Beyond with Sunne Meyer? You'll learn how to knit with up to three colors at the same time -- and leave the class with some pretty amazing mittens.