What are the advantages of knitting?

Knitting is one of those sleeper activities which most often seems like an utter waste of time. It sounds like an activity for couch potatoes or those individuals who cannot possibly do anything productive in their life. Wrong!

You will be surprised to realize that knitting is remotely none of those. Not only is it a super fun activity but it also has benefits beyond the reach of common knowledge. It has been known to kickstart literacy, stimulate your mind, beat stress and much more.

It is a seemingly innocuous artwork that enkindles many positive changes in your body. According to us, it is the ultimate activity you can take up, to nourish both your mind and body. It is the ultimate pastime that is both joyous and utilitarian at the same time.

For many, activities like meditation or yoga have become life-changing habits that help to bring calm both to mind and body in times of stress, anxiety or pain. But did you know that knitting can also help you cope with mental health challenges? At Love Knitting, the home of knitting yarns, patterns and a global community of makers, we’re big believers that knitting not only brings you joy, it has physical and mental health benefits too.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced depression and anxiety
  • Slowed onset of dementia
  • Distraction from chronic pain
  • Increased sense of wellbeing
  • Reduced loneliness and isolation

Stress relieving:

In a stressful life, we all must accustom ourselves to one or many stress relieving activities. It can help us feel relieved and enable us to carry on our day-to-day activities with much more energy. Knitting has been proven to have therapeutic elements that can effectively reduce stress and help beat the negative elements of stress.

Makes us feel productive

If you are knitting, it is highly likely that you will end up with some piece of clothing or article that can serve a utilitarian purpose. The activity will leave you with an award that you can proudly claim for the rest of your life. You can hang it on a wall showcasing your talent, use it for its purpose or gift it to your loved ones. Whatever you do, you will be left in amazement upon yourself which will make you feel productive.

Improves memory and concentration

The act of knitting stimulates your mind in such a way that you are forced to retain memory and carefully exercise your next knit. For example, you need to vitally keep check of what color comes next and the number of rows your pattern requires during the time of knitting. The craft of knitting forces your mind to rely on its memory centers for processing.

Reduces anxiety

Knitting as a craft contains several rhythmic and repetitive motions which sort of help you achieve a meditation like state while you are knitting. It sends you into a tranquil state where you are simply existing and not thinking about the past or fretting about the future. It is a great activity for someone suffering from anxiety or other mental illnesses like depression.

key health benefits of knitting

The health benefits of knitting are mostly linked to mental health. But since mind and body are closely connected, the health benefits of knitting could also extend to physical well-being. Here are six potential advantages.

1. Reduce stress and anxiety
This is one of the greatest health benefits of knitting and the first to be noticed. Once you get “in the zone” (and you will know when this happens!), knitting grabs all your attention and you become so absorbed in working row after row, that it takes your mind away from other worries. For me, knitting is synonymous with serenity, reducing both my anxiety and stress.

2. Improved cognitive function
At first sight, it may seem that knitting is a simple and repetitive activity. But alternating your knit and purl stitches stimulates brain function. Studies carried out in older adults have shown that this type of productive mental engagement can benefit cognitive skills, including memory and reasoning.

3. Boost self-confidence and help with depression
Knitting means creating something, and it’s empowering to go from being a consumer to being a producer. This gives knitters a boost of confidence and a feeling of accomplishment when seeing their work progress. Indeed, there’s a feeling of fulfilment involved in being able to wear or use what you made – doing something with your hands has healing power!

And while we all know clinical depression requires professional support, studies have shown that knitting has can take negative thoughts off the mind and release serotonin, which helps fight depressive states.

4. A different type of mindfulness practice
Knitting requires focus and concentration in the present, one stitch at the time. This craft has been called “the new yoga”, since every knitting session is a great opportunity to disconnect from the outside world, slow down, and focus. Does this sound familiar? Yes, it’s very similar to mindfulness, and so the health benefits of knitting are also similar.

5. The feel-good effect
Knitting can be frustrating when you’re a beginner. It took me a while to figure out how to undo mistakes, and until that happened, I was annoyed every time I got a stitch wrong. But it’s also incredibly rewarding.

Seeing the progress of your work, gaining self-confidence, and being relaxed are all states that trigger dopamine. This substance is known as the feel-good hormone, and it has a beneficial effect on body and mind. The release of dopamine can help regulate mood, sleep, digestion, blood flow, and many other important functions that contribute to the fabulous health benefits of knitting.

6. Sense of control
Most of us have felt things getting out of control over the past year or so. Instead of dwelling on the negative state of things, choosing to spend time doing something over which you do have control can help improve your well-being.