Both have a positive association on cognitive abilities such as executive function, short term memory, reasoning, global cognitive function, processing speed and recall. In older adults these skills can stimulate several cognitive abilities, brain plasticity and possibly reduce MCI (mild cognitive impairment).
Knitting can lower heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Knitting has also been associated with helping people cope with health crises and improving reading, comprehension, and math skills (think sweater patterns). A recent study done by the Mayo Clinic indicated that knitting may help stave off a decline in brain function associated with age. It also indicated that this activity can promote neural pathways in the brain to maintain cognitive health.
In a 2019 NIH study it was determined that daily use of touch screen devices and computers can significantly increase cognitive abilities in older adults (60+). Computers/software can be challenging but once mastery is achieved the positive effects are amazing as stated in the first paragraph. Increased Internet/email has been associated with better performance in both cognitive domains with the additional effect of reducing loneliness and social separation.
What is my point? Although significantly different, new age computer/digital devices and century old knitting have very similar effects on the human brain. Both offer social and emotional support – seeing or speaking to their family and loved one via computer or the feelings of self esteem and accomplishment on knitting an infant sweater set for the newest member of the family.
I was at Starbucks last week and watched women follow their knitting patterns from their IPads as they socialize with their friends. Folklore meets the New Age.