We all know that exercise is good for us. But it’s not just about what you do at the gym. It’s equally important to find activities that give your mind a workout too. One of our favorites is a hobby shared by people of all ages: knitting!
The Perfect Activity: Knitting for Seniors
In many ways, knitting is the ideal hobby for seniors. It truly does benefit the mind, the body, and the soul. Let’s take a closer look at knitting and find out why it’s so good for us.
It keeps your brain sharp
Many seniors are concerned about cognitive impairment, which can range from occasional forgetfulness to more serious health issues such as dementia. The best way to keep your brain sharp is to regularly challenge it – knitting is the perfect activity for this. A neuropsychiatry study found that engaging in activities such as knitting could reduce the chance of developing mild cognitive impairment by 30 to 50 percent for seniors. Knitting is especially good for this, since it requires you to use many parts of the brain at the same time.
It improves your hand-eye coordination
Knitting is good for the brain, but it can be good for your body too. Many seniors experience difficulty with hand-eye coordination as they age. When you knit regularly, you force your brain and your hands to work together, maintaining your fine motor skills. It can also improve and maintain dexterity and strength in your hands, which can be great for those who would like to improve their grip.
Keep calm and knit on
Knitting can be quite similar to meditation for many people. In fact, many people report increased feelings of calm when they knit. This sense of calm likely comes from the focus on repetitive movements. As you knit, you get into a groove and are able to just focus on the task at hand. This is quite similar to the methods used in many types of meditation. Knitting also makes people happy–there’s a real feeling of accomplishment when you start to see a project take shape or when you finally finish that scarf.
It keeps you busy
When people get bored, that’s when bad habits start to creep in. If you want to spend less time watching television, or find yourself snacking a little too often simply because you’re bored, knitting can break you of your regular patterns. It’s also a great way to keep yourself busy when you feel like spending some time on your own. Not everyone is super social, so it’s nice to have an activity you can enjoy when you want a little quiet time.
It’s a great social activity
For many seniors, knitting is a very social activity. While it’s great for doing on your own, many like to sit and knit with others. At Bria Communities, many of our residents love to knit together. Some residents have formed their own knitting clubs and meet regularly to work on projects together.
At Magnolia Gardens, the knitting club knits up a storm all year long, and their work benefits everyone in the residence, as well as members of the community. This spring they used the money they raised selling blankets, baby clothes, hats and gloves to buy a new ultra-quiet bingo machine. At Christmas time they sell their creations to raise money for the Langley Food Bank.
Over at Sunridge Gardens, one of the residents, Hannah, has the whole Perls and Chains Knitting Club working on hand knit dolls that they send with a non-profit agency to Africa.