Many people associate fishing with sitting in a boat or on a riverbank waiting patiently for hours on end just for a bite or two, but fishing can be much more than that.
The truth is that whether it is the smells, sounds or sights, the chance to escape to nature from the daily grind of life can have a positive effect on your physical and mental health. Whether you are new to fishing or it has been a while since you’ve pulled your fishing gear out for a day on the lake, here are some reasons why you should consider taking a day off to sit on a bank or troll in a boat with a fishing rod in your hand.
Increases Body Strength and Keeps you Fit
Fishing is a great way to get some exercise. Whether you choose to walk down a path to sit or a bank or wade in a stream, you will be working your main muscle groups, as well as your heart and lungs. Simply setting up, casting the line off and winding in fish or to recast takes strength. If you are catching large fish like carp, it can really work your arms, shoulders, back, legs and core, giving you a good workout — without going to the gym. In fact, you may not even notice you’re getting a workout.
Increases Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D is produced by your body when you are exposed to sunlight. Even on cloudy days, being outside can help your body make vitamin D, which helps to regulate the amount of phosphate and calcium in your body. Vitamin D is essential for your health in a variety of ways, including:
- Keeping your teeth and bones healthy
- Helping fight depression
- Fighting hypertension
- Boosting your immune system
- Helping to prevent glucose intolerance
Provides Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Along with getting some much needed vitamin D while fishing, some people eat the fish they catch. Fish is also a good source of other minerals and vitamins, including omega-3 fatty acids. There are several health benefits that come with eating the fish you catch, including:
- Helps to reduce fats from your body
- Gives you a mental boost
- Improves sleep
- Decreases inflammation
- Boosts mood
- Preserves brain function
- Promotes heart health
- Supports healthy bones and joints
Improve Your Concentration
Being outdoors and paying attention to nature helps to improve your ability to concentrate. Whether you are hiking in nature to get to your favorite fishing spot or sitting under the trees while you are fishing, it calms your brain and improves your focus. While you are throwing out your line and waiting for a fish to bite, you have to stay focused and patient, which indirectly trains your mind to concentrate on your surroundings. Fishing can be considered a form of meditation, which allows you to calm your mind and body.
Reduce High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure may put you at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke and it may lead to a number of other serious health problems. There are medications that can be prescribed to help lower your blood pressure, but unfortunately, some of the medications have harmful side effects. If you have high blood pressure, it is extremely important to exercise regularly. Exercising will not only help you maintain a healthy weight, which may affect your blood pressure, but it also reduces stress, which has a significant effect on your blood pressure. Fishing is an excellent way to not only enjoy your favorite hobby, but to get the exercise you need to stay healthy. Fishing is also relaxing, so it’s also beneficial for relieving your stress, which further helps you have a healthy heart and reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
Fishing requires a variety of maneuvers that you wouldn’t typically use during daily life. It can improve your flexibility and core strength, which can ultimately help to improve balance and posture, which relieves your back pain. It requires moving your body in strategic ways to avoid falling in the water as well as reeling in your catch, this ultimately trains your body to balance itself against potential interferences, such as rocks or a big catch. Along with improving your physical balance, fishing can improve your mental balance, because you are basically becoming one with your surroundings.
Calms Your Mind
Stepping away from hectic work days, your phone and other electronics and spending time in nature will allow your brain to focus on only one task and relax. There is nothing more relaxing than fishing, especially when your mind is overwhelmed from your normal day-to-day tasks. (It’s easier than stopping alcohol, too, if that’s become too much of a go-to for relieving stress or escaping everyday problems.) Spending time in nature, focusing on only throwing your line out and pulling your catch in is an ideal way to decrease depression and anxiety. It’s an opportunity to unplug from traffic jams, ringing phones, the news and overflowing inboxes and spend time listening to the sounds of nature and breathing in the fresh air.
Everyday life is stressful, and stress can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, irritability and anger. Stress can also be the root cause of a wide range of other physical and emotional problems, such as overeating or undereating, substance use, headaches, fatigue, social withdrawal and sadness or depression. Nature is like being in a relaxing therapy session that is just for you. So, spending time fishing can significantly reduce the symptoms of stress, which ultimately helps to improve your physical and emotional health.
Boosts Your Immune System
Your immune system is the core part of your health. It provides the essentials your body needs to fight viruses and bacteria. Vitamin D plays an essential role helping to keep your immune system strong and functional, and there’s no better way to get your daily dose of vitamin D than fishing on a sunny day. Fishing also helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which can also wreak havoc on your immune system.
One of the best benefits of fishing is that it allows you to focus on only the act of fishing. It allows you to let go of all your worries, which in turn provides you with an opportunity to decompress and appreciate the beauty around you. If you are searching for ways to improve your physical and emotional health, while stepping outside of the noises surrounding your daily life, fishing is the perfect solution.
Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.
healthline.com – How to Safely Get Vitamin D from Sunlight
healthline.com – 17 Science-Based Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
heart.org – Health Threats from High Blood Pressure
health.harvard.edu – Why Good Posture Matters
mayoclinic.org – Stress Symptoms: Effects on Your Body and Behavior
hopkinsmedicine.org – The Immune System