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6 Unexpected Benefits of Knitting

6 Unexpected Benefits of Knitting

Learning how to knit might not be at the top of your fall to-do list, but it should be. Not just for your grandmother anymore, knitting has a wide variety of benefits beyond having something comfy to wear/snuggle/give away at the end of the process.

Plus, you don’t have to use that scratchy wool yarn. There are plenty of really soft brands of yarn that you can use.

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1. It gives you a sense of pride

knitting1
    Tony & Wayne

    Not a lot of people know how to knit. Showing off something you’ve knitted to someone who has no idea how you managed it is like showing off some sort of new magic trick. They’re going to be in awe of your newly acquired witchcraft and you’ll receive a ton of compliments (plus requests for scarves, but you can handle that however you want).

    2. It has the same benefits of meditation

    knitting2
      Eliza

      Once you figure out what you’re doing, knitting can be very relaxing. Simple knitting projects are usually the same few stitches over and over, so you can zone out and use your muscle memory to get the job done. The rhythmic, repetitive motion and relaxation has the same benefits to your mind and body as a meditation session, except you get a blanket at the end.

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      3. It alleviates symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression

      knitting3
        RedLipstick

        The rhythmic motions and sense of focus can help distract from symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. Sitting still to knit reduces your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure after a few minutes, so reaching for those knitting needles when you start to feel anxiety build or depression seeping in can help keep those symptoms at bay.

        4. It helps improve motor functions

        knitting
          eef Ink

          Because knitting stimulates almost the whole brain at once—”the frontal lobe (which guides rewards processing, attention and planning), the parietal lobe (which handles sensory information and spatial navigation), the occipital lobe (which processes visual information), the temporal lobe (which is involved in storing memories and interpreting language and meaning) and the cerebellum (which coordinates precision and timing of movement)”—it can be used to help people with diseases like Parkinson’s improve their motor functions. It both helps improve their fine motor skills and distracts from other painful symptoms.

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          5. It slows cognitive decline

          knitting5
            poppy

            While it’s helping improve your motor function and mood, knitting is also stimulating your brain to keep it healthy. The more you use your brain, the healthier it becomes, and the longer it lasts. According to the Mayo Clinic, seniors who engage in crafts (including knitting) are about 30-50% less likely to have a “mild cognitive impairment” than those who don’t.

            6. It helps prevent arthritis and tendinitis

            knitting6
              Madelinetosh

              Just like you have to use your brain to keep it healthy, you have to use your joints to keep them healthy as well. According to Dr. Barron, gently using your fingers builds up their cartilage, making it stronger, instead of wearing it down. Knitting is better for this than typing, which doesn’t put quite enough strain on your fingers, but it isn’t so strenuous that you’ll have other problems down the road. Already have arthritis? Dr. Barron recommends soaking your hands in some warm water and using larger needles to create your masterpieces.

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              Now that you know all about the health benefits of knitting, head over to your local craft store to pick up some supplies. Some of them have free or cheap classes for beginners, so ask around! If you can’t find classes, the great resource that taught me how to knit was tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest. Trust me—once you get the hang of knitting, you won’t want to stop.

              Featured photo credit: apicturebookmind via flic.kr

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              Kathryn Harper

              Media Relations Manager

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              Last Updated on September 18, 2020

              7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

              7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

              Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

              Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

              1. Exercise Daily

              It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

              If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

              Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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              If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

              2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

              Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

              One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

              This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

              3. Acknowledge Your Limits

              Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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              Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

              Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

              4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

              Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

              The basic nutritional advice includes:

              • Eat unprocessed foods
              • Eat more veggies
              • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
              • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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              Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                5. Watch Out for Travel

                Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                6. Start Slow

                Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                Final Thoughts

                Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                More Tips on Getting in Shape

                Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                Reference

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