The Surprising Health Benefits of Quilting
By Kate Gardner
My mom loves to quilt. She belongs to a group of like-minded women who quilt, she volunteers for a school program that helps kids learn to quilt, and she always seems to have a new quilting project laid out in her sewing room. I've watched these projects energize her and I believe they played a big part in her recovery from a broken arm last fall. All this made me curious: Are there health benefits to quilting?
Quilting is part of the larger world of crafting; numerous studies have found crafting of all sorts to have health benefits. According to BerkeleyWellness.com, crafting is good for our mental health because it can reduce stress and improve mood. Studies have also shown that crafting can ward off cognitive decline to a similar degree as reading. As well, crafting has been shown to help people cope with chronic pain.
While quilting is often a solitary activity, it is surprisingly good at helping people build relationships. Like my mom, many quilters belong to groups (whether in real life or online) with whom they share information and quilting tips. A study published in the Journal of Women & Aging found that older quilters were likely to spend time with children and grandchildren, teaching them how to quilt.
These relationships are good for us, especially as we age! The British Psychological Society tells us that, as we get older, our social networks often grow smaller but are still very important to our health and well being. Building quality relationships has an "independent influence on mortality, heart attack survival, cognitive decline, depression and anxiety."
There's no doubt that quilting requires a sharp mind. From planning the design to cutting the pieces to sewing it all together in the correct order, quilts are often complicated masterpieces. This mental engagement is part of what draws people to quilting. Researchers in the Journal of Public Health talked to quilters, many of whom reported that quilting gave them the opportunity to learn new skills and challenge themselves. This mental engagement helped them feel good about their abilities.
If you've been tempted to start quilting, grab some scissors and fire up that sewing machine! Quilting is a great pastime that can provide enjoyment, engagement, and lasting benefits as you age!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Fayetteville, N.C.