We hear numerous studies and reports about the benefits of knitting, but the same comforts we find in this craft can also be silent killers, if you’re not careful.
Despite being a craft that lends itself quickly to meditation and relaxation, contemplative thought and prayer, those very moments can also cause some serious health risks. The drawback behind working as a full time knitter, or using the fiber arts as a more than frequent hobby is the risk, the deep and sometimes not too obvious risk of inadvertently living a sedentary lifestyle. Even monks only sit in meditative chant for so long, before rising to spend equal amounts of their time in physical work. Ora et labora…
If you’re prone to sitting, knitting (or crocheting) and binging your favorite new show, then be aware that doing this over a long period time can cause definitive health problems that are not unlike that of anyone who sits for long periods of time in other fields: truck drivers, data entry specialists, researchers.
Obesity and thrombosis are perhaps the two most common health risks of being a full time fiber artist. Physical inactivity, a lack of frequent cardiovascular movement, and a quick bowl of nibbles at your side can lead to packing on pounds faster than you can knit and purl. Long periods of sitting can cause high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and heart disease. You may think you’re doing just fine cuddled up under your work, listening to the soul as the click-clacks of your needles sound out a pace, but the body is being ignored.
As far as thrombosis is concerned, sometimes all it takes is a long transatlantic flight for the legs to begin swelling and for coagulation of the blood in the legs to begin. Some of these clots can break off, causing an embolism, which can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or even death.
Now, I’m not trying to scare the skein out of someone’s hands, but rather to remind that taking care of the body is important if we crafters are going to sit and knit for hours on end.
If you binge watch while knitting, be sure to get up after every episode and move around for at least 20 minutes. Really get the blood flowing. Walk around, do jumping jacks, call a friend and pace, walk around the block, take the dog out, do the dishes, clean something, or (my personal favorite) DANCE! In other words move, move, move those legs.
If you’re inclined, as I am, to have something to nibble on while you work, make sure it is an obvious nutritional choice. No one needs to tell you what is good for your diet, and what isn’t. Fresh fruit and carrot sticks over potato chips and cookies….obviously.
Yes, knitting is a cornerstone for many for a contemplative and reflective mind, but never forget that those sparks of deep calm that come from the quiet movement of our hooks and needles mean nothing if the body slowly falls into disrepair. A healthy life comes not only from tending to the soul, but to the body, as well.
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