For years, knitting and crocheting have been hobbies associated with grandmothers. In fact, if ever there was a category on Jeopardy, “Things Your Grandmother Did”, most people would quickly ring in with an eager answer like, “What is Knitting?”
Although your grandmother may not have known it, with each stitch, she was effectively strengthening her heart.
With February being National Heart Month, we want to help you protect your heart by knitting (or whatever activity keeps your heart healthy; enter our Heart-Healthy Photo Contest for a chance to win a $100 gift card. And who knows? You may learn another cool heart-healthy activity).
No longer is knitting your “grandmother’s” past time, it’s a proven way to strengthen your heart each day.
Eliminate High Blood Pressure by Knitting
Living with high blood pressure is a dangerous condition. Unchecked, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. It claims more lives in the United States that all forms of cancer combined. Anyone who suffers from high blood pressure should work to reduce their levels by any means necessary.
Fortunately, research shows that knitting and crocheting can effectively lower blood pressure. Studies demonstrate that knitting can reduce blood pressure, primarily due to the meditative benefits of the hobby. In fact, knitting works in much the same ways a yoga, by triggering a relaxation response that reduces your blood pressure.
Lower Your Heart Rate
Your heart rate is a measure of how many times your heart beats per minute. A higher heart rate is great when you are working out, but when you are resting or simply doing activities of daily living, a high heart rate can damage your heart. Tachycardia is a heart condition in which the heart beats more than 100 beats per minute. The condition can be fatal; however, knitting may help you lower your chances of developing the condition.
Studies show the repetitive movement of knitting along with the clinking sounds made by the needles, trigger a physiological effect that helps lower your heart rate. By effectively lowering your heart rate, you can reduce the strain on your heart caused by a faster heart rate or chronic tachycardia.
Stitch Away Stress by Crocheting
We are all affected by stress. Some of us are affected more so than others. While you are under stress, your body releases adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and your high blood pressure. More adrenaline in your system is commonly referred to as your “fight or flight” response. Your body is preparing you for the worst case scenario: the fight.
People who suffer from chronic stress are always experiencing some level of “fight or flight,” producing higher levels of adrenaline than they would normally. Such an amped state can be detrimental to their heart, and it could lead to artery wall damage.
By crocheting and knitting, you have the ability to tap into a meditative state that can help you eliminate stress. People who knit describe it as an activity that helps their minds unwind. They can put aside their worries and relax by simply engaging in a low-cost hobby that will ultimately make them feel good.
The measures you take now to positively affect your heart and your health will pay off later. Knitting and crocheting are simple ways to improve your heart with little effort. Furthermore, knitting and crocheting are great ways for seniors to remain active.
We encourage you to examine other ways you can live long and heart-healthy lifestyles by downloading our free guide 5 Ways to Remain Active in Retirement.