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Knitting for Better Health: The Benefits

Updated on March 21, 2015
Colorful yarns are fun and appealing.
Colorful yarns are fun and appealing.

How To Knit

Beautiful textures are soothing in the hands.
Beautiful textures are soothing in the hands.

Knitting is good for your heart, soul and health.

Wandering through a yarn shop, touching the different fibers and imagining what could be created with them is a relaxing experience for me. I find the raw materials for creating something new as inspiring as looking at a finished product. I love bamboo knitting needles, I am exhilarated by the vibrant colors of hand-dyed yarns. I am a knitter. I have been since my grandmother first taught me at age 7, and I always will be.

Beyond being a fulfilling life-long hobby, knitting can improve your health. Knitting has been shown to have the following health benefits:

  • Reduces high blood pressure
  • Relieves stress
  • Develops hand-eye coordination in children
  • Can help keep arthritic hand joints limber
  • Provides a workout for your brain and can possibly reduce the risk for Alzheimer's disease
  • Can increase self-esteem
  • Can aid in recovery from surgery or illness by keeping the patient relaxed and restful

My grandmother was a knitter all of her life. She taught all the children in her neighborhood how to knit. She knit hats and scarves for the needy and she loved to tell about how she got started.

During the Great Depression she had to knit her own stockings. During World War II she knit socks for soldiers. Knitting was her way of giving to other people. She made something for every one of her beloved family members, from crazy hats to sweaters with animal designs.

She was the most relaxed, patient person I have ever known. She would sit in the room with when I was a young child and chat with me while I played. She always had time when she was knitting to interact and listen. If she had her needles in her hand, she was smiling.

Knitting has been compared to yoga, for its ability to induce a relaxed meditative state. It is rhythmic and calming. Watching a beautiful yarn become something new is gratifying. Feeling a soft warm fiber in your hands is comforting. Your mind becomes calm and you can think clearly, creatively.

Knitting can also improve self-esteem. Creating something beautiful, no matter how simple makes you feel good about yourself. It is a creative outlet that can be learned rather quickly. Knowing just the basics will enable the knitter to make something useful and lovely.

There is always more to learn, even for the advanced knitter. There is always a new project that will prove to be more challenging than the last.

Our world is so full of busy, busy, busy things. Knitting can be your time out.

If you are an overworked mom, take a break and knit. Teach your kids to knit. Knit and chat together. Start a family tradition.

If you are young or old, join a knitting club or group. Share your love of knitting with others.

If you have never picked up knitting needles, go to your local yarn shop. Talk to the resident knitter there. It is likely that they will be happy to take the time to help you get started. Knitters are known for being friendly people and are happy to talk shop all day long.

Learn a skill that will help keep you happy and healthy.

Become a knitter.

My grandmother lived to be 89. She was working on a blanket for her newest great-grand-baby in her last days. And although her stitches became uneven from her unsteady hands, everything she created is enchanting to me, because they are infused with her love.

And that is good for my heart.


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      Maureen 6 years ago

      Thank you for the heart filled story of knitting and your Gram. I am so grateful for Mrs. Sweigart who taught me to knit when I was little. She was an older woman who lived in our walk-up who babysat us. I threaded needles for her as her eyes got old. She taught me the LOVE of fiber and needles. Thank you Mrs. Sweigart! Now I am old and teaching others the love of knitting!

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 9 years ago from Connecticut

      Thanks - so close to my heart! :)

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      Jennifer Vitullo 9 years ago

      How sweet about Nan and how true.....

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 9 years ago from Connecticut

      Hi Doghouse, thanks for commenting! Knitting (and crocheting too) is a great way to keep busy while watching TV. I know a woman who takes small projects to the movies with her!

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 9 years ago from California

      I love to crochet too. My mother has always got some sort of yarn project going, and taught me as a youth to knit and crochet. I am by no means accomplished, a scarf is about all I have ever produced, but it is a fun way to keep busy while you are watching TV. Cute way to tie it in to the topic of health, very creative.