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How Knitting Can Improve Your Health!
Many people would be surprised to learn that manual tasks like knitting can actually improve one’s health. But new evidence has shown that knitting may be the perfect remedy for certain physical and emotional maladies.
1. Anxiety and Stress Relief
It’s fairly common knowledge that chronic stress and anxiety will take a toll on your health. If left untreated, it can cause high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack, and a weakened immune system among other things. But even before any of those problems develop, stress can have a debilitating effect on one’s quality of life.
Luckily, knitting may be just the solution. Studies done on people suffering from various forms of anxiety have demonstrated that knitting can alleviate the symptoms by making the practitioner engage in a physical task that demands attention and focus.
Doing anything you enjoy can have a calming effect and anchor you in the present moment, knitting may be a better choice than other activities for some people.
Brain scans have shown that using the hands for manual tasks, like knitting, triggers activity in about 60 percent of the brain. When your mind is engaged on performing a job, you’re not thinking about things that bother you and stressing yourself out. A survey done by the British Journal of Occupational Medicine on 3,500 people found that over 80 percent of those surveyed felt much happier after a session of knitting.
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2. Prevents Arthritis
Many people seem to think that the human body is simply a bio-mechanical machine, but this is an incorrect way to think of yourself. Your muscles and joints react differently than machinery does to physical exertion. When the activity is performed properly, the body does not wear down, but gets stronger with use. This applies just as much to knitting as it does to Olympic weightlifting.
Knitting can be a good, low-intensity workout for the small joints and muscles of the hands and wrists, as well as the forearms. The act of knitting causes fluid to flow more freely around the cartilage in the knuckles and wrists, which helps prevent the onset of arthritis. Knitting has also demonstrated effectiveness in preventing tendonitis.
While some may think that typing on the computer can provide the necessary stimulation to prevent such maladies, but the fact is that knitting requires far more dexterity and offers much more health benefits. Typing does not stimulate the muscles and joints enough to prevent the onset of degenerative conditions.
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3. Anchors you in the present moment
Knitting can, in many ways, be considered a form of active mediation. Most forms of meditation are an exercise in quieting the mind and cultivating perfect awareness of the present moment. Meditation is also good for reducing stress and preventing anxiety-related conditions. The interesting thing is those very same things can be achieved through knitting.
We’ve already established that knitting can be very relaxing. But knitting also demands concentration and focus like mediation. When you are focused on a craft, you’re not thinking about bills, traffic, or problems at work. Knitting also has one advantage over meditation: It produces a real, physical object as a reward for your efforts. You can take pride in and enjoy increased self-esteem when looking at an afghan, hat, or mittens you made from scratch.
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4. Prevents Dementia and Cognitive Decline
Studies by the Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences produced evidence that knitting assists in the formation of new neural pathways and decreases the risk of cognitive decline and memory loss by 30 to 50 percent. When it comes to brain function, it seems we must all make the choice to use it or lose it.
Alongside the resurgence of interest in this traditional pastime, there has been an increase in the number of knitting groups. This actually has some health benefits as well. Current research demonstrates that those with stronger social bonds are healthier and typically live longer than those who don’t.
If you’re going to take up knitting, try doing it with a local group! You’ll be joining in on a growing trend, making new friends, and helping yourself live longer in the process.