Crafting can refer to a wide range of activities, from knitting to woodworking, that utilize your skills to create something. Whether that something is a new chair, a sweater, or a new coffee mug — that’s entirely up to you. What doesn’t change, though, is the multitude of health benefits you can achieve by taking up a craft. One popular craft that is simple for seniors to pick up, but still incredibly healthy, is knitting. Knitting, one of the oldest forms of weaving fabrics to make clothes, boasts emotional, physical, and mental health benefits that will amaze you!
Knitting for a Happier Life
One of the most pervasive and noted benefits of knitting is the impact that it has on our overall happiness. Not only can knitting be fun, it influences many different aspects of our happiness. Knitting has been found to improve self-esteem and provide a sense of satisfaction from creating something. In one 2013 study, knitters also reported higher levels of perceived happiness, relaxation, and creativity.
Knitting has been found to improve self-esteem and provide a sense of satisfaction from creating something.
Knitting not only provides people with reasons to be happy, but also protects their minds. Several different crafts have been shown to establish flow, a mental state where you’re fully immersed in something. Flow has been found to lower anxiety and promote mindfulness. Also considering the positive benefits noted earlier, knitting is an effective way to bust stress and anxiety. Knitting has even been shown to help those struggling with eating disorders cope with anxiety and recovery. Another study from the British Pain Society, also found that knitters reported coping with chronic pain better than people who don’t knit.
An Active Aging Mind
Knitting is also specifically a good pastime for seniors, because it helps protect the brain from aging and cognitive decline. It achieves this by keeping your mind sharp and active. This has been backed up by numerous studies, one of which found that creative hobbies like knitting can reduce your risk of mild cognitive impairment by up to 50 percent. This is part of a growing consensus that supports the claim that these hobbies can help stave off cognitive decline.
Sustained activity in creative endeavors like knitting has been linked with improved memory in seniors.
Another study looked at how knitting and other leisure activities are also associated with lowered risks of dementia. Sustained activity in creative endeavors like knitting has been linked with improved memory in seniors, specifically those who take part in the activities for an average of 16.51 hours a week.
Share a Passion with Friends
We’ve previously written about how bad social isolation can be for seniors. It can increase risks of depression and addiction, as well as dementia and mental decline. Knitting can help combat isolation by promoting social interaction between knitters and loved ones. Any passion is a great thing to share, but studies have backed up knitting’s ability to tie people together. The 2013 study we referenced earlier, also found that knitting seniors reported feeling much more connected with others.
Not only does knitting give you a passion to discuss, it gives you a conversation piece once the knitted item is complete. Beyond that, a popular way to enjoy knitting is by joining in a knitting group, in which you can either create your own craft or work on a joint project. These are important reasons to take part in necessary and healthy social interaction.
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Knitting is a great hobby for seniors because it’s low impact and unlikely to hurt you but is still a workout for your brain. As we learn more about how creative outputs benefit our minds into old age, the more important they clearly become. This is why a hobby you can do anywhere, at any time, like knitting is so valuable; even if you’re just knitting yourself a lovely, itchy sweater!