Excerpt taken from MDLinx.com

Over the past decade, medical students and residents have exhibited a marked decline in the manual dexterity skills necessary for completing basic clinical procedures—and it may stem from their lack of hands-on hobbies, according to a recent article in The New York Times.

Experts have suggested that this ineptitude in fine motor skills among the current generation of emerging clinicians may be due to less exposure to classes that require practical craft skills in primary and secondary schools, while others have argued that they are simply spending too much time swiping and thumb-typing on their phones than doing activities to hone their fine motor control.

Regardless of the reason, more and more experienced members of the medical community are advocating for a simple solution to this growing problem: picking up a hands-on hobby.

But this advice doesn’t apply to just surgeons or medical students. Providers across all specialties and age groups can benefit from the kinesthetic intelligence and neurocognitive health benefits that manual hobbies can provide.

In addition to improved cognitive functioning, knitting has also been shown to aid in stress relief, enhance creativity, improve social contact and communication, and positively impact mood and perceptions of happiness.

Knitting may also have the added benefit of preventing arthritis and tendinitis. Moving the joints of the fingers keeps the joints lubricated and reduces the risk of arthritis, according to orthopedic hand specialist Alton Barron, MD. “If you let a joint sit, not only will it get stiff, but the actual cartilage will lose its structural integrity and break down,” he told The Sacramento Bee. “Most of us grow up thinking the more you use something the more it wears out, but that’s not the case with cartilage.”

To learn more about hobbies that can make a better doctor, click here.