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Benefits Of Knitting – 6 Science Backed Health Tips

“Benefits of Knitting” Champion diver Tom Daley brought yarn and crochet back into the spotlight after being photographed crocheting during the Olympics. Skilled knitter Dee Marques examines the health advantages of this well-liked activity, which range from lowering tension to enhancing cognitive performance.

Something struck my eye when I was looking through the website of a crafts store two years ago. When I finally realized it was yarn, all I could see was a stunningly vivid shade of teal. I was determined to incorporate that color into my life, and I was willing to learn how to knit if it meant doing so! After ordering the yarn and seeing some knitting instructions on YouTube, I haven’t stopped knitting.

As it happens, it seems that falling in love with yarn and knitting is a very frequent experience. It’s true that knitting is experiencing a renaissance as people of all ages take up the hobby and realize its mental health advantages. Let’s examine why this age-old talent is so in demand once more.

Benefits of Knitting: How it became hype

Most people associate knitting with an elderly woman knitting large, fluffy socks while seated in a rocking rocker. Of course, older women still knit, but the outdated misconception that knitting is exclusively for “housewives” is slowly giving way to a more modern reality.

Benefits Of Knitting- 6 Science Backed Health Tips

The health benefits of knitting include reducing stress and anxiety

Indeed, knitting is fast-shedding its fuddy-duddy image. Over the past few years it’s gone from being seen as something traditional to something radical. Now, knitting is no longer associated with domesticity, but rather with a creative activity for men and women of all ages.

For example, Facebook is full of knitting groups for guys, such as Men Who Knit. And the list of celebrities who are into knitting includes Russell Crowe, Christina Hendricks, and, more recently, Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley – you may have spotted him in the crowd recently darning away during a swimming competition

“Knitting is going through a revival, and people of all ages are turning to the craft and falling in love with it – and the benefits it brings to their health.”

Many knitting groups can be found with a fast internet search, and there is an infinite Instagram feed with people which can tell you the benefits of knitting from all over the world showcasing their talents and latest creations. A few designers have begun to showcase extraordinarily imaginative knitted clothing, demonstrating how knitting can complement unique personalities.

In addition, knitting has seen a sharp increase in popularity since the pandemic began. Knitting became a terrific way to pass the time and learn a new skill while doing something creative and productive as millions of us were stranded at home during lockdowns with nothing to do. In fact, knitting stores have seen a sharp rise in sales and social media following over the last 18 months!

Benefits of knitting

So, before getting into the health benefits of knitting, here are some other reasons why it’s such a cool hobby to indulge in:

  • It’s affordable. You can get started with just a few knitting needles, yarn, and a couple of stoppers. If you don’t want to buy them new, charity shops have tons of knitting goodies at low prices. In fact, I was able to get started by spending just £5! I found a few used needles at a second-hand store, and a neighbour gave me her kit, which she didn’t use anymore due to arthritis.
  • You can knit at home – and everywhere else you want. I made myself a pouch for my knitting tools and I make sure to always have it in my bag. That way, I can make progress on whatever I’m working on when I’m waiting at the GP surgery or at any other place where I know I have a long wait ahead of me.
  • You don’t need much space. When you start knitting, you’ll need to follow patterns. Unlike sewing patterns, which can be huge and take up a lot of space, knitting patterns can be easily downloaded from websites and they barely cover more than an A4-sized piece of paper. There are plenty of free patterns, too.
  • Knitting is useful. Fancy a pair of fingerless gloves in your favourite colour? You can make them in one day. Want to make someone a handmade gift? Then knit a scarf, a beanie, or a wash cloth. When it comes to the practical side of knitting, nothing beats knowing that you can make your own clothes and accessories.
  • The knitting community is friendly and supportive. Everyone knows what it’s like to be a beginner and the community if full of people offering help and support to newbies. 

Six key health benefits of knitting

1. Reduced stress and anxiety

First and foremost, this is one of knitting’s biggest health advantages. Knitting absorbs all of your attention and draws you in so much that, once you’re “in the flow” (you’ll know when this happens! ), other concerns fade from your thoughts. I find that knitting brings me calm and eases my tension and worry.

2. Improved cognitive function

First and foremost, this is one of knitting’s biggest health advantages. Knitting absorbs all of your attention and draws you in so much that, once you’re “in the flow” (you’ll know when this happens! ), other concerns fade from your thoughts. I find that knitting brings me calm and eases my tension and worry.

Linked to this, some research suggests that the cognitive demands of knitting can also reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia, as it keeps the brain cells fired up.

3. Improved self-confidence

Knitting entails creation, and switching from being a consumer to a creator is empowering. Seeing their work advance provides knitters a sense of accomplishment and confidence boost. Being able to wear or use something you made does, in fact, bring a sense of fulfillment; working with your hands can be therapeutic!

Furthermore, research has indicated that knitting can help people overcome depressed symptoms by clearing their minds of unpleasant ideas and releasing serotonin, which is known to help fight clinical depression.

4. A lesson in mindfulness

Knitting demands attention to detail and present-moment focus, one stitch at a time. Knitting has been dubbed “the new yoga” because it provides an excellent opportunity to focus, slow down, and detach from the outer world throughout each session. Does this sound like you? Yes, there is a connection between knitting’s health advantages and mindfulness.

“Studies have shown that knitting can take negative thoughts off the mind and release serotonin, which helps fight depressive states.”

Some have even gone so far as to liken knitting to meditation, coming up with the phrase “medknitation” to describe it. Some knitters are able to reach a similar meditative state by concentrating on the rhythmic flow of their stitches rather than on their breathing or repeating a mantra.

Tine Steiss, the instructor of’s MBSR course, is a passionate knitter who enthusiastically supports the pastime because of its numerous advantages: “Knitting keeps my hands occupied, which is useful in two situations: it allows me to pay closer attention during meetings, conversations, or when listening to an audio book or podcast. I don’t grab for my phone, a snack, or anything else to divert my attention at that point.

“But knitting also helps me relax, or in other words, it’s an excuse to relax. When my hands are busy, the brain no longer searches for things that need to be done. Unlike mindfulness meditation, where I’m actively exercising the brain in a form of focused stillness, when I’m knitting, the brain is casually chilling on the couch.”

5. It boosts dopamine and a feel-good effect

When you’re first starting out, knitting might be frustrating. Before I learned how to fix errors, I was irritated whenever I made a stitching error. This took some time. However, it also yields tremendous rewards.

Dopamine is released when you are feeling calm, confident, and able to see how your task is coming along. This chemical, sometimes referred to as the “feel-good hormone,” is helpful for both the body and the psyche. Knitting has numerous physiological benefits, including the ability to regulate mood, sleep, digestion, blood flow, and many other vital activities through the release of dopamine.

6. A sense of control

I think most of us have felt over the past year or so that things have gotten out of control. Choosing to spend time doing something you do have control over, rather than obsessing over the bad things that are happening, can make you feel better.

To experience the lovely feeling of being in charge of what can be controlled, start with a little endeavor. In conclusion, knitting is an additional coping strategy you can do. Knitting has several health benefits, one of which is emotional well-being that everyone should enjoy.

The takeaway: why knitting benefits your health

The therapeutic effects of knitting range from reduced stress to better cognitive functioning, self-confidence, and the ability to focus on the present moment. You can experience the health benefits of knitting whether your knit alone or as part of a group. It doesn’t take much to get started, and once you get hooked, you’ll never look back! ●
Main image: shutterstock/Samo Trebizan

Are you a keen knitter? What health benefits does it give you? Share your thoughts and designs with the community in the comments below…

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