The Secret Garter (Stitch!) - PE and Health at JBWU

Okay, so maybe we won't be lifting Jimmy Beans Wool University kettlebells, or crocheting an entire functioning treadmill any time soon...but we still have plenty to talk about when it comes to physical education and the health benefits of crafting! When it comes to crocheting and knitting, we all know that we can find peace in our projects. Sometimes just carving out 20-30 minutes for your latest WIP provides an almost meditative experience. It's time to yourself, away from a screen, and at the end of it you have a real, tangible thing! What more could you ask for??

As good as that sounds, there are some health concerns we all need to look out for as crafters. Repetitive stress injuries in particular are a danger for us! Michigan State University has a few handy tips for reducing your risk of developing tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome from your yarn:
  • Stretch your hands.
  • Rest your eyes.
  • Switch the hand you use to hold your yarn.
  • Use different yarn - bigger yarn can strain your hands, while tiny yarn can strain your eyes.
  • Use different hooks or needles. Lightweight and fat, or circular options can all help with the ergonomics of crocheting or knitting!
Our friends at Interweave put together a guide for keeping your hands and wrists limber and pain-free. Try out these stretches if you're starting to feel it while you're making:

a series of four hand stretches: flex fingers; bend fingertips; closed fist; fist with flat fingertipstwo wrist stretches: fingers pointing down, use backs of hands against table to stretch. fingers pointing up, place fingertips against table edge to stretch.

Any sort of wrist, finger, or forearm stretch will help you relieve pain and gain strength to counteract repetitive stress injuries in your hands! 

Those tips from MSU all sound fairly reasonable so far...but a couple of their tips we find controversial:
  • Take breaks every 30-35 minutes.
  • Limit the amount of time you knit or crochet. Do other things.
Sure, we can get behind taking breaks! But -- why would you ever limit yourself on such a fantastic hobby?! Don't hurt yourself, especially if you feel an ache starting, but also don't give up! Part of what's so fantastic about making stuff is the perseverance it requires. Even if it takes you years and years, finishing a project is extremely rewarding.

You can also check out some of our ergonomically designed hooks and needles, too: we totally love these aluminum crochet hooks from Knitter's Pride!

Do you think about the health impacts of your crafting? What other ways does your yarn work impact your health? Leave us a comment below!

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