The Benefits of Knitting: How It Can Improve Memory and Well-Being

Knitting is an activity that has been around for centuries, and it has been used for both practical and creative purposes. But did you know that knitting can also be beneficial for your memory and overall well-being? A recent study published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinic Neurosciences looked at mild cognitive impairment (MCI) associated with aging, and found that the repetitive and rhythmic movements of knitting can help to relax the mind. Dr. Barry Jacobs of Princetown University discovered that animals that perform repetitive movements trigger a release of serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with calm and well-being.

In a survey of 3,545 weavers around the world, respondents who knitted to relax, relieve stress and create creativity reported better cognitive functioning, better social contact and communication with others. But since the mind and body are closely connected, the health benefits of knitting could also extend to physical well-being. Knitting has been shown to stimulate the brain to produce the hormone dopamine, which is a feel-good neurotransmitter. Mental exercises, such as playing board games, reading and knitting, can reduce the risk of dementia, according to a study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine and the Mayo Clinic.

Group Knit for Peace reviewed previous research and surveyed 1,000 people in its own network of 15,000 weavers. According to their findings, playing board games, reading and knitting are examples of mental exercises that can lower the risk of dementia. A study of people aged 50 to 65 in Minnesota showed that those who knitted at a young age and continued to weave later in life had a lower risk of dementia. Knitting can also help to reduce depression and anxiety, as well as chronic pain, and possibly delay the onset of dementia.

It can also help children learn to focus and improve fine motor skills, which they need to read and write. When you knit, you are subconsciously doing math and using your memory remembering the steps you need to do, such as how many rows you need to knit, when to knit and when to do the reverse, and what color or pattern comes next.The benefits of knitting are clear: it can help improve memory, reduce stress levels, increase creativity, reduce depression and anxiety levels, improve physical well-being, reduce chronic pain levels, possibly delay dementia onset, help children learn focus and improve fine motor skills.

Jane MacDonald
Jane MacDonald

I am of the author and owner of I Love Knitting. I first learned to knit when I was around five years old, and stop doing it when I hit my teens! I than picked it back up when I had my first child, and have since taught all three of my children to knit.

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