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Knitting is Good for Your Soul – Part Three

In the first part of this article I discussed the meditative aspects of knitting as it pertained to mental health. In this section of the article I’ll look at how knitting as a meditative tool can be beneficial to your physical health. The rhythmic and repetitive nature of knitting keeps the mind in the here and now. Which moves the focus of the mind away from thoughts that make us feel stressed, depressed or anxious. By alleviating stress, depression or anxiety knitting helps lower heart rate, blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol.

One obvious physical benefit of knitting is it maintains and improves hand dexterity. My mom suffers from arthritis but continues to knit. She might not be able to knit for as long as a duration as she once did, but the movement helps prevents her hands from losing their dexterity. There is a warning though as too much knitting can cause repetitive disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome. To prevent problems keep knit times to a reasonable length and stop at the first signs of discomfort.

Studies have shown there is a correlation between preventing dementia and knitting. People who knit earlier in life and continue to knit have a reduced chance of in developing dementia. How this works is that since knitting is a cognitive activity it releases an natural anti-depressant called dopamine. We know there is a link between depression and dementia, so by lowing depression dopamine helps delay diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The hand-eye coordination and math skills required to knit are key to reducing dementia as well. These skills help strengthen and build neural networks, protecting neural connections. By protecting and improving neural connections the deterioration of the brain is slowed. Knitting also utilizes attention span and memory which are specifically affected by dementia. When knitting these areas are used like a muscle strengthening the brain and reducing their deterioration.

This is the end of part three of Knitting is Good for Your Soul. Part one can be found here and part two can be found here. I will post part four next Friday. There will be four parts.

Credits will be included at the end of last the article.

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