Knitting Is Making a Comeback: Research Has Found the Hobby Reduces Depression, and Anxiety, Dementia, and Distract from Chronic Pain.

According to the findings of one new report, knitting could save the NHS vital funds as it leads to a healthier population. It could also reduce depression and anxiety, slowing the onset of dementia and distract from the chronic pain.

Published by Knit for Peace, the findings are the result of extensive research into some studies from previously, analyzing the benefits of knitting, as well as the initiative’s research. Knit for Peace, which has formed a network of 15,000 knitters in the UK, also surveyed 1,000 of its members about their experiences. It has been suggested that knitting is beneficial to a healthy mind, as well as body.

The group decided to study the matter after a lot of the members reported improved overall health after taking up the hobby. It turned out that the relaxing craft can be credited for a lot of health benefits.

The report revealed:

There is a lot of research which has shown that knitting has physical, as well as mental health benefits, that it also slows the onset of dementia, combats depression and distracts from chronic pain. It is an activity which helps to overcome isolation and loneliness, too usually a feature of old age. It is also a skill which can continue when sight and strength are diminished.

A study from 2007, conducted by the Mind and Body Institute of Harvard Medical School, found that knitting lowers our heart rate, by an average of 11 beats per minute, and it also induces an enhanced state of calm, which is similar to that when we do yoga.

What is more, one study from 2012 from the Mayo Clinic, examined the effects of activities which include knitting, quilting and playing games in 1,321 older people, nearly 200 of whom had a mild cognitive impairment and were in the intermediate state between normal aging and dementia. The researchers have found that those that engaged in crafting, computer activities, as well as knitting and reading books were 30–50% less likely to have mild cognitive impairment than those that did not.

Also, the hobby which is usually connected with elderly can also help in fighting loneliness, a plague which affects about 1.2 million older people in the UK, and it can increase a sense of usefulness and inclusion. The findings have been supported by the own survey of 1,000 members of Knit for Peace.

The review of studies also linked knitting to the help in the following conditions:

  • Reduce depression and anxiety;
  • Distract from chronic pain;
  • Increase a sense of wellbeing;
  • Reduce loneliness and isolation;
  • Increase a sense of usefulness and inclusions in society.

According to the survey, about 70% of the respondents stated that they believe that knitting can improve their health — the particular reason being that it makes them feel relaxed. The survey respondents also revealed that knitting is helpful in dealing with chronic pain, with 21.4% of them reporting that knitting helps relieve the pain of arthritis. Knit for Peace hopes that the findings are going to encourage more people to take up knitting as a hobby, as they believe it could diminish the need for visiting a doctor.

The report stated:

Every GP appointment costs around £45, but we think that knitting could help in preventing people of the need to visit the doctor so much, as well as help them to feel happier, less isolated, and healthier.

One case study that was named in the report as Sarah R described how knitting helped her to stop smoking, as well as to lose weight. She explains:

Knitting keeps my hands busy, so I am not snacking in the evenings when watching TV. I also dropped two dress sizes in my first year of knitting. It was a useful aid in helping to stop me smoking, and I think that it would also help more addictions in general.

Another case study, named Beryl H, a man over the age of 85, said the following:

I can now just manage to knit children’s jumpers. I like doing it because it is the only thing left which I can do and to which I am productive, as well as to which I am contributing as I live in a nursing home. It is something, which staff and other residents can talk with me about and it helps me in easing my pain.

Based on all of the findings, the researchers suggest that knitting could save the NHS funds as a more resilient aging population is happier, makes less demand on the NHS and is less dependent on care.

So the next time when your grandma offers you to teach you to knit, you should accept that offer.

Image Credit: Shutterstock (licensed by SDS)/By iravgustin

Originally published at on June 5, 2018.



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