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Knitting is Fitting for Quitting Stress

During the Winter Olympics this year, Finland’s snowboard coach could be seen knitting on the slopes. It was a surprising sight and made many curious as to why it was necessary. It turns out that knitting can decrease stress and anxiety; with April being stress awareness month we thought it would be fitting to talk about knitting. Knitting is sometimes underestimated and can be seen as a boring “elderly” hobby. However, knitting has many mental and physical benefits. When someone starts knitting the relaxation response is induced and decreases the heart rate by an average of 11 beats per minute. The relaxation response lowers heart rate, blood pressure as well as muscle tension in the body.

Performance and the Brain, It’s All in Your Head

When it comes to athletic performance, how we prepare (training, nutrition, hydration, and rest) and the environment determines what the outcome will be. However, how we frame our mind can also affect our ultimate performance on any given day. We know from running that if we increase our running economy, we can reduce our finishing time. Studies have shown that if we can increase our running economy by 1%, our race times will decrease by 1%. This amount could be achieved by reducing the weight of your shoes by a mere 100g by running in racing flats (1). A better way would be to learn to run with more efficient form. A more novel approach would be to smile while we run versus frowning which g