Knit for Peace also conducted a study of 1,000 of its own members, about how knitting helps them in their daily lives.
They say: “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 review looked at research from Harvard Medical School’s Mind and Body Institute, which found that the hobby induces the body’s natural relaxation response and lowers the heart rate by an average of 11 beats per minute, meaning your blood pressure drops when knitting. This help induce an “enhanced state of calm”.
Knitting can also help distract from chronic pain, by turning focus elsewhere. And the repetitive movements you need to do to create a pattern help your body release serotonin, which is a mood boosting hormone that can also dull pain.
The Mayo Clinic conducted a study in 2011, which looked at a group of 70 year olds, found that the ones who knitted had a “diminished chance of developing mild cognitive impairment and memory loss.”
Knit for Peace’s own survey found that 70% of their knitters believed that the hobby improved their health - the main reason being that it relaxed them. It also revealed that knitting helps their members deal with chronic pain, with 21.4 percent reporting that it helps relieve the pain of arthritis.
Push Doctor's Dr Simon Latham says: "Perhaps knitting underlines the (almost) forgotten truths that slowing down, spending time with people and focusing on the task in hand is actually good for you. Knitting is relaxing – and relaxing is good for you."