The art form of crocheting is often passed down from grandmother to grandchild, and that may be how you learned. If it’s been years since you crocheted, you’ll be amazed at the way this craft has sprouted wings and taken flight. It’s time to take a second look and stretch your creative muscles while you enjoy its possible therapeutic benefits. So, pull out your hooks, and let’s get started as we explore the physical and mental health benefits you can receive.
Five Possible Health Benefits of Crochet
- Stave off boredom and Alzheimer’s: Creative hobbies keep the mind active; they’re a time-honored antidote to boredom. Medical News Today reports that “exercising the brain” can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
A good place to get your creative juices flowing and brush up on your skills is Pinterest. You’ll find everything from free patterns to tutorials as well as a wealth of ideas. Many of the patterns use yarn and large, comfortable hooks. The most vibrant patterns often use skeins of multicolored yarn rather than multiple skeins of single-colored yarn. From slippers to book covers to a beautiful bouquet of flowers, there’s something for every taste on the site.
- Arthritis prevention and therapy: Not only does keeping your joints nimble help to prevent arthritis, but needlework can also have a therapeutic effect if you have arthritis. Theresa Leto, occupational therapist and instructor at the University of Findlay, suggests treating it like an athletic event. Run a little warm water over your hands to warm up before starting. Then, treat your crocheting session as a sprint, working for short periods. Add a foam grip to the hook for comfort. Experiment with different yarn weights. Resting your hand and arm on a pillow to give them support can ease discomfort. Crochet is a repetitive task, so especially if you have carpel tunnel syndrome, take frequent breaks instead of using painkillers to mask the pain while you work.
- Hand-eye coordination: The University of Kentucky says that one of the benefits of needlework is an increase in hand-eye coordination. Maintaining hand-eye coordination is especially important for those who love to cook: It’s a necessary skill for pouring, slicing, and dicing.
- Make it social: “Those who can’t, teach.” If you’re passionate about crochet but find it too painful, consider teaching a class or coaching others at a nearby community center. It will get you out of the house and give you a chance to make new friends while sharing your expertise and passion. You’ll spend minimal time hooking and maximum time mingling.
- Connect with family: Strengthen ties with your grandchildren by passing the tradition to them. Crochet provides a balance to their 24/7/365 digital life. Start by visiting the Pinterest site with them before segueing into the needlework — if it’s on Pinterest, it must be “kewl”! (Just deciphering their “language” will keep your mind active.)
The sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from creating a one-of-a-kind crochet project is an obvious benefit. It’s a treasure for someone who might receive it as a gift. But a side benefit can be its contribution to seniors’ health and happiness.