I talk a big game about taking regular breaks when you're on a knitting binge! I wanted to do a little listicle for y'all showing you what my favorite stretches and types of breaks are when you're trying to finish up a project, or maybe just when it's been a long knitting day.
Firstly, my number one reminder is to take breaks at least every half hour on days that you're knitting/crocheting for long periods of time. Take at least a 5-10 minute break. I like to stop for 15 minutes and incorporate some movement into my day. Here are my favorite ways to take breaks while I'm knitting...
1) Do a quick Sun Salutation!
This is truly one of the best ways to take a break when you've been sitting for 30 minutes straight. If I don't have time to take a walk around the block or go to the gym (lol jk I don't have a gym membership but, it's a figure of speech), I spend about 15 minutes to half an hour doing some basic yoga. Doing a few sun salutations to get my heart rate up is always a good go-to, especially if you're a beginner and don't know much about yoga. I also love a good sun salutation when I'm having any frustration in my knitting/pattern. If your wrists are hurting from your craft and doing downward dog sounds miserable to you, I would highly suggest watching this video on how to do basic yoga poses for the weak-wristed (can y'all tell I have weak wrists?!)
2) Wall stretches
I often am on such a roll with my knitting or pattern writing that standing up to just walk to the bathroom seems like a giant time-suck and waste of my time! When I'm super in the zone, I like to stand up and do my favorite wall stretches in the corner. This is such a simple stretch, and it does a great job of stretching out all the muscles in your upper arm, as well as strengthening your wrists and easing tension in the shoulder blades. All you have to do is place two hands on either side of a corner, one extended and one folded to your side, turn your head away from the extended arm, and then gently press into the wall and feel that stretch! I do this for about five minutes and then head back to work, feeling super refreshed. Please excuse my ridiculously bruised legs in the below photos. You'll also notice I am rocking a major double chin in that first photo! That is actually on purpose. I have a tendency to extend my neck out way further than it needs to go, creating major pain and tension throughout my upper cortex. This is a common trait in people who work with their hands, so make sure to watch out for that and remember that a double chin isn't always a bad thing :)
3) Take a hike!
I mean that quite literally. My favorite thing to do on a break if I've got the time? Leave my house, head to a nearby trail or park and go on a quick 30-minute hike. The faster the incline, the better! I talk to a lot of knitters who have gained weight in their legs and midsection due to a lack of leg workout/use. I like to keep my legs as active as possible to combat this. I sit for about 5 hours a day, so anything I can do to balance that out is great---even if it's just a walk around the neighborhood to get those steps in!
4) Swimming laps
I know this isn't necessarily realistic for everyone, but if you're able to go to a pool or have your own, swimming just 30 minutes a few times a week is one of the best things you can do for your body. I grew up in hot AF Texas, where going to the public pool is a year-round activity! I just started getting back into it, as jogging is way too hard on my joints. Swimming is the perfect form of exercise for people with joint pain, arthritis, and stiffness. Even if you aren't an expert swimmer, just getting on a kickboard is an amazing workout!
5) Dance one out!
This might sound a little ludicrous, but I often have a quick jam session if I'm in a pinch! I don't think this is something many knitters and crafters think about, but if I'm knitting away and a major jam comes on my Apple radio, I immediately put the needles down and dance my ass off. It's a great way to get off your feet and break up that repetitive motion. PLUS you get your heart rate up and burn calories!
That's all for now, knitters! See you next week for a post on the best books in the business for knitting ergonomically.