Keeping your brain active – can knitting and crochet help?

I was driving to work yesterday morning, when i heard an article on the news about there being a link between keeping an active brain and reduced risk of dementia.  I thought about it on the way to work and decided to do a bit more reading on the subject.  I’m in the unfortunate situation that I have family history of Alzheimers.  As a result, I’m keen  to make sure that I do everything I can to avoid this horrible illness.

The BBC article that I read speaks about people who had an active brain, for example, doing more reading and other activities which included mental stimulation had a slower rate of “cognitive decline”(BBC Article – Active Brain).  An interesting thought.  A more recent article, also on the BBC, talks about an international study in the Lancet, which the BBC explains, describes the benefits of building a “cognitive reserve” to strengthen the pathways in the brain and help it to function better in later life.

I did a bit of further googling on the subject and found that Alzheimer’s Society recommends that people who are diagnosed with dementia keep themselves “active and involved”.  Their their website says that this involves the following (I’ll quote):

  • raising your self-esteem, helping you from feeling anxious or depressed
  • maintaining your skills for longer
  • using an activity to help you express your feelings
  • sharing your experiences with people who can provide support or have the same interests

It struck me that knitting or crochet can help with all of these things.  Learning and developing a new skill can help with self esteem, it feels good to get better at something!  There are LOADS and LOADS of groups on the internet and in “real-life” who support each other and provide a safe and happy platform for us all to share our projects.  Personally I’m a member of a number of online groups who provide this support.  There are also a number of “knit and natter” type sessions locally if the internet isn’t your think!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t knit and crochet because of some potential future benefit to my mental health.  I knit and crochet because I LOVE creating things, learning new skills and lets face it, it keeps me out of trouble.  Well one kind of trouble, even if it does lead to other trouble (stash-building is not a hobby, I keep having to tell myself!!!!).

Before I go, I must say that I am in no way medically qualified to comment on this, so these are entirely my thoughts and opinions!!

Sorry to get a bit “deep” for a moment….I’d be interested to hear your thoughts if you have any.  Feel free to post them in the comments below!


11 Responses

  1. I think you’re absolutely right, the complexities of getting your head round a new knitting or crochet pattern or technique are a great workout for the brain. also recommends running 15 miles a week, so it looks like running and yarn messing are a great combination in helping to avoid dementia – although I’ve yet to try doing both at the same time! 🙂

    1. interesting! thanks for adding that. I’ve just got back from my saturday run best get “yarn messing” (love that! 😂) I’m not sure I’m good enough for doing both at once either!

  2. Great post, and I very much agree. Knitting and crafting are a great way to get mental exercise, and luckily, they’re among the most enjoyable and rewarding activities I’ve found. 🙂 Have you come across Betsan Corkhill’s “Knitting for Health and Wellness”? I’ve been meaning to read it, and was reminded of it when reading your post. So very glad to have found your wonderful craft blog!

  3. I believe this wholeheartedly! And like you, I like to create and stash build – as the added bonus, it keeps my hands and mind busy!
    Great share! Thank you!

      1. oh yes do it! I love crochet and knitting and both are easy once you know how. I’m thinking of posting a few tutorials on basic stitches. have just done one in fact! 😊

  4. I definitely agree. Exercise can also be beneficial. I try to walk about 3 times a week ( 2-4 miles each time). And,… let’s not forget writing! Or should I say, BLOGGING! ! !

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