Knitting is Fun and Relaxing, But Does it Also Lower Blood Pressure?


Practice knitting square

As I’ve recently picked up the knitting needles once again, I began to wonder if knitting could lower blood pressure.  It keeps me from snacking at night while I watch television, but I wondered if maybe it was actually good for my health.

It’s definitely a relaxing pastime, and some people admit that it helps them concentrate better when their hands are busy. And as opposed to playing games on a phone while waiting somewhere (car repairs, doctor’s office) knitting accomplishes something. You end up with a useful product of some kind.

knit baby socks

Little Baby Socks

My grandmother did a lot of knitting and I remember getting some cute winter hats and mittens from her when I was a child. I would say she was a very experienced knitter.  I sure wish she was around to help me out today.  My mother did a little knitting too, but mostly I think she liked to crochet. The two are very different, but fun in their own way.

When I moved to Florida in my early twenties, it was too hot a climate to consider knitting or crocheting anything, so for years I didn’t pick up the needles. I had a large collection of knitting needles and other knitting accessories that belonged to my grandmother, but they sat unused for a long time.

Then, I moved back to the northeastern US where the winters are long and cold, and I began knitting again. I took lessons with from an older woman in town who ran her own little shop out of the back of her old farmhouse. (Typical New England!) It honed my skills and reminded me how to knit and perl. We made hats together, which was fun. I never would have tried a hat without help.

Once fall arrived, and the air got chilly, I would begin a yarn arts project, and work on scarves or afghans all winter long. Shopping for the beautiful hand-dyed yarns available everywhere in New Hampshire is lots of fun too.  Many people spin their own yarn from roving…and some even raise their own sheep for the wool they provide.  I learned a lot about a self-sustaining lifestyle while I lived in New Hampshire.

skeins of yarn hank

What is more fun than a basket filled with  beautiful yarn?

Back to my blood pressure question.  The good news is that, YES, knitting is good for you!! I’d never thought to look up such information, but now that I have to try very hard to keep my blood pressure down, due to PKD, I will do anything to stay off medication. I enjoy knitting, and it’s just one more way to help create good health.

Simple knitting depends on what is simple to you.  If a complicated stitch, or project, is confusing and frustrating, it may stress you out. Stress is a BP riser! But simple stitches, and projects like scarves or dishcloths can be oh so wonderful for mind and spirit.  The experienced knitter may find all kinds of challenging projects to be therapeutic.

But I like to learn new things, and I have a lot to learn when it comes to yarn arts.  Learning new stitches and patterns keep the brain active and strong.  I’ve never knit anything really difficult, but I do plan to better myself and increase my skills.  Fortunately the online knitting community is keen to share help and information.

I recently read an article on Wizzley (a writing site) titled “Learn to Knit” and was surprised to find a video showing the “long tail cast on stitch” which I have never done.   Now I plan to try it.  Many online sites offer free knitting patterns to download.   Often when I want to try a project with a new stitch, I will create a little wash cloth first for practice (like the one in the first photo on this page).
white yarn knitting
Although I now live back in the south, where no one needs winter hats and scarves, I keep busy making dish cloths and towels from cotton yarn.

If I need a bigger project, I make something pretty for my daughter who still deals with New England winters.

(All photos, except the first one, which is mine, credit to Pixabay)

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