1. Reduces heart rate and lowers blood pressure
Anyone who is a seasoned knitter knows how relaxing an hour or so of knitting can be. The wonderful thing is that relaxation of this kind is just superb for your health. The stress hormone, cortisol, causes havoc on your heart and your circulatory system. Simple relaxation will lower the level of cortisol in your body, helping your feel unstressed.
2. Improves your dexterity
Knitting requires a lot of skill. A beginner can hardly match the small, precise movements executed so swiftly by the seasoned knitter. So, although you might think that an activity of this kind would aggravate conditions such as arthritis, as long as you give your hands plenty of breaks, the exact reverse is true. That is, the exercise your fingers, hands and wrists get from knitting helps keep them flexible, toned and strong.
3. Boosts your mathematical skill set
If you’ve ever looked at a knit pattern, you’ll know that there’s a kind of mathematical science that the knitter must apply when working. The procedure requires frequent semi-subconscious counting, patterning, measuring and multiplying. So, although it won’t feel as testing as a school math quiz, your brain is doing the same workout as if it were such an ordeal.
4. Calms your anxieties
When knitters are working, they can appear as peaceful and serene as a Tibetan monk during meditation. That is because the activity really does lend itself to plaintive thoughts that can soothe one’s soul. If you really do feel uncomfortably anxious about something, an hour or so of knitting might well give you the careful and calming pause for thought you need.
5. Sharpens your memory
Let’s face it - we all lose our memory capacity to some extent as we age, so we need all the help we can get, right? Memory sharpens itself through practice, like any muscle. And, because knitting relies on your memory in order to accurately tell what you should be doing at which time, what colors you’re to use and how many rows you need to form, this is the perfect activity for sharpening your memory’s blunted edge.
6. Helps you control and manage pain
There are two types of pain that we all understand, namely physical and mental. Regardless of which we are afflicted with, pain is always felt most keenly when we focus on it. Therefore, anything else that also requires our focus will dull the pain we may be feeling overwhelmed by. Knitting is such an activity, since it does call for a good amount of our attention.
So, if you are suffering from any kind of chronic or spiritual pain, you might find that knitting gives you the breathing space you need to fortify yourself.
7. Kills destructive food cravings
As the saying goes, the devil finds work for idle hands. If you think about poisonous habits that we can’t quite shake off, many of them come from us having nothing better to do with our hands. Whether it be smoking, drinking or biting, it seems there is an endless list of things that could be prevented if we just had such a hobby we could hold in our hands, such as with knitting.
One of the more important things this hobby will do is crush that seeming-need you have to nibble and snack endlessly between meals. This pernicious habit is of course at the root of many of our health problems, so knitting could be the answer you’re looking for.
8. Keeps your brain healthy and active for many years
Several fascinating scientific studies have reported that elderly people (aged 70-89) who knit or crochet have both the healthiest minds and a lowered risk of memory loss or other form or cognitive impairment. Scientists also believe that the activity of knitting can help your brain both create and maintain neural pathways, which keep your memory strong and your mind clear.
9. Gives you an important sense of purpose
Having a goal in life, a task to complete and something to wake up for is what really fills your days with importance and your spirit with energy. Of course, having too much to do, for example at the office, can have a detrimental effect on our stress levels, but this simply doesn’t apply to the self-imposed goals we set for ourselves.
If you have decided it’s your mission to knit a scarf for your sister, or whatever it may be, then no-one else is going to be putting any negative pressure on you. And you will be thrilled by the inspired feeling of reaching this goal yourself.
10. Gives you more confidence and boosts your self-esteem
The process of creation gives people terrific self-worth. Seeing what was once just several incoherent, chaotic balls of wool, formed expertly into the design you intended, provides such a wondrous boost for your confidence about your ability to do good things.
It’s an amazing feeling to be able to have mastered some skill, especially one that is becoming rarer and rarer as the world modernizes. Soon – it’s to be lamented - not many folk will be able to produce their own knitwear like you!
11. You get to keep or give something unique that you’ve made yourself
What knitting produces is by no means an empty and vain bubble of self-satisfaction. Rather, knitting is a practical activity that produces something real and concrete that you can call your own creation. Instead, most of the world is full of mass-produced, samey items that have no personal touch or humanity about them.
What you have made, on the contrary, is so abundantly human and effecting that it will make such a beautiful gift to whomever you love!