Research has revealed something most knitters already know: it’s damn good for you.
Published by Knit for Peace, the results showed knitting could help reduce depression and anxiety, slow the onset of dementia, and distract from chronic pain, The Independentreports.
"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,” the report says. "It is an activity that can be continued into extreme old age. 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 study analysed previous research which looked at the benefits of knitting and similar activities on mental health.
Included in this research was a 2007 study from Harvard Medical School’s Mind and Body Institute, which found knitting could lower a person's heart rate by an average of 11 beats per minute and induce an "enhanced state of calm."
Echoing this, an online survey of almost 4,000 knitters by Betsan Corkhill, a knitting therapist, found more than half felt "very happy" after knitting.
Additionally, A 2011 study, involving 1,321 participants aged 70 to 89, found those who engaged in crafts like knitting and crocheting had a diminished chance of developing mild cognitive impairment and memory loss.
The good news is, these benefits don't just apply to knitting: cooking, drawing and even doing crossword puzzles can all have the same positive side effects.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can speak confidentially to a trained counsellor 24 hours a day at headspace.org.au or Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800.
This article originally appeared on Better Homes and Gardens.