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Knit Your Way to Good Mental Health

Grab the knitting needles, because a new review has found knitting reduces anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. It also helps with feeling useful and included in society.
Published by UK initiative Knit for Peace, the findings come after an in-depth review of various studies linking the craft and physical and mental health.
“There is an enormous amount of research showing that knitting has physical and mental health benefits, that it slows the onset of dementia, combats depression and distracts from chronic pain. It is an activity that can be continued into extreme old age,” the report said.
“It is a sociable activity that helps overcome isolation and loneliness, too often a feature of old age. It is a skill that can continue when sight and strength are diminished.”

The proof is in the knitting

The review looked at several studies on the health benefits of knitting. For instance:
  • Knitting triggers a natural relaxation response that reduces the heart rate by around 11 beats per minute, dropping blood pressure. (Harvard Medical School, 2007)
  • Knitters are 30-50% less likely to have a mild cognitive impairment, compared to people who don’t craft.
  • Knitting reduces depression and anxiety, distracts from chronic pain, enhances wellbeing, lowers loneliness, and helps people feel included in society.
Knit for Peace also ran a survey on its members, and found that 64.8% of people said knitting made them feel useful.

Get started in knitting

The best thing about knitting? Anyone can do it, and it’s very easy to start. All you need is a basic kit of knitting needles and yarn, a crochet hook, a yarn needle, and a few basic items like a notebook, pen, and tape measure.
Knitting classes are held all throughout Australia, and you’ll find plenty of online tutorials and patterns. You could even start your own knitting club in your community, or with friends and family.

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