Knitting is a great way to stay focused and set achievable goals. It can be incredibly rewarding, as the successful completion of a project can trigger the release of dopamine, which stimulates the reward center in the brain. This feeling is similar to the satisfaction of completing a jigsaw puzzle. Not only does it help improve motor function and mood, but it also has been linked to improved brain health.
Studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic have found that older adults who engage in crafts such as knitting are 30 to 50% less likely to suffer from mild cognitive impairment than those who do not. Knitting is not only beneficial for the brain, but it can also be beneficial for the body. As people age, they often experience difficulties with hand-eye coordination. By knitting regularly, you are forcing your brain and hands to work together, helping to maintain your fine motor skills.
It can also help improve and maintain dexterity and strength in the hands, which can be great for those looking to improve their grip. Experts believe that the mental health benefits of knitting come from its repetitive motions. Research on the effectiveness of therapeutic knitting has revealed that it can be incredibly beneficial for mental health, with links to fighting depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, eating disorders and chronic pain. The rhythmic and repetitive movements involved in knitting have similar benefits to those of meditation, with the added bonus of a finished product at the end.
At Magnolia Gardens, the knitting club is always busy and their work benefits everyone in the residence as well as community members. Since the 1990s, surveys conducted by the Craft Yarn Council have found that knitters and crocheters list stress relief and creative fulfillment as their main benefits from yarn crafts. Sarah Guenther-Moore, spokeswoman for the group, states that every year they conduct surveys to find out who knits and crochets, why they do it, and what benefits they feel they get from yarn craftsmanship.