Aside from being an enjoyable activity, fishing is incredibly good for your health.
I’ve been doing it my entire life and I am a strong believer it’s kept me young, active, and even gotten me through some tough times.
…and let’s not forget, fishing is so much darn fun!
Read on to learn more about the specific ways that fishing can benefit your health, body, and mind.
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Is Fishing Healthy?
Fishing is a very healthy hobby that is good for you both mentally and physically, but also spiritually!
I personally fish because it calms my mind, gives me focus, and teaches me skills that require me to use my hands, legs, arms, and back.
Fishing sharpens my balance, encourages critical thinking (which lures to use?), and has a strong educational component with fish identification and biology.
You cant fish indoors, which means you have to be outside to participate. When I’m fishing I’m surrounded by nature, getting sun (or rain!) and fresh air.
And what about the deeply studied health benefits of eating fresh fish?!
I could go on and on…but let’s take a deeper dive into the health benefits of fishing!
Fishing Increases Exposure to Fresh Air and Sunlight
Fishing is an outdoor activity. Many anglers love the sport because it allows them to get outside and enjoy nature.
But nature-lovers aren’t the only people who reap the benefits of fishing.
Getting outside and spending time in nature can be an excellent solution for anyone looking to improve their mental and physical health.
The Importance of Vitamin D
It’s no secret that Vitamin D is essential for human life. Vitamin D is not naturally found in most foods, so one of the most important ways to get your daily dose is from the sun.
When ultraviolet rays from the sun strike our skin, a chemical reaction is initiated, allowing our cells to undergo Vitamin D synthesis.
Vitamin D regulates a plethora of cellular functions in your body. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective.
Vitamin D is vital for everyday life. It enhances the immune system, contributes to hormone regulation, helps maintain blood sugar levels, increases serotonin, and is especially important for bone health.
Without sufficient amounts of Vitamin D, bones may become weak, which can lead to osteoporosis.
People with Vitamin D deficiencies are more likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, and poor mental health.
How Fresh Air Impacts Overall Health
Not only does fishing provide exposure to sunlight, which helps your body synthesize Vitamin D, but it also allows you to breathe in fresh air.
If you’ve ever taken a deep breath on a cold crisp morning while fishing on a lake…you know exactly what I am talking about.
Nowadays, many people live and work in big cities with low air quality. This polluted air can be tough on their lungs and irritate the eyes, nose, and throat.
People living with asthma, in particular, are sensitive to the adverse effects of poor air quality. Fishing can be a great remedy for this.
Recent studies show that regular exposure to clean air has a host of benefits.
It can reduce inflammation, improve your heart, lung, and brain health, facilitate feelings of happiness and reduce anxiety and stress, and it can keep you free from illness and infection!
Luckily, going on a fishing trip is a great way to experience the mental and physical benefits of fresh air.
Fishing Builds Physical Fitness and Endurance
Believe it or not, fishing physically and athletically challenges the body.
Although it’s gentle exercise, it still has massive benefits. It is estimated that you can burn anywhere from 150-550 calories per hour fishing!
Different types of fishing can challenge the body in different ways, depending on the tools and the circumstance used for that style of fishing.
Some of the most notably physically challenging types of fishing include fly fishing, spinning, and trolling.
Not to mention loading and unloading the boat off the trailer, carrying gear, wading in the water, casting and recasting, and (fingers crossed) fighting or landing a big fish, can get those hearts and lungs pumpin’.
Fishing is an active hobby that is great for all ages.
Eating Fish You Catch Provides Nutritional Benefits
Fresh fish is one of the healthiest foods on the planet and there are many evident health benefits for those who like to keep their catches.
Eating fish can provide your body with essential nutrients like Vitamin D and B2.
Vitamin B2 is crucial in helping your body meet its energy needs. In short, your body uses vitamin B2 as part of the process that converts the food you eat into glucose.
Your body is then able to convert that glucose into energy. Your body uses this energy throughout the day to accomplish tasks.
Fish is also a great source of certain minerals, including iron, zinc, and potassium.
These minerals benefit your body by boosting immune health, reducing inflammation, and regulating heart function.
These are just a few ways that eating fish can be good for your health.
Plus, what is more, rewarding than catching your own meal and cooking it for friends and family? It always tastes better!
You can’t go wrong with these simple and easy recipes.
Fishing Allows For Social Interaction and Bonding
Fishing provides opportunities for you to spend time with family and friends.
Believe it or not, social interaction and interpersonal relationships are vital to maintaining good mental health.
Big shocker, eh?
Studies show that building relationships can reduce the adverse effects of stress and give people a sense of control over their lives.
Be it with family members or friends, spending the day in nature can be an excellent opportunity to experience the benefits of social interaction.
One of the things I personally like most about fishing is that it can be as casual or serious as I want it to be.
Sometimes I just want to be on the water, drifting in the wind, and don’t care at all if I get a bite.
Other times, I want to hit the lake with my father and jig for crappie to cook for my friends and family!
Fishing Creates Time Away From Screens
One of the most noticeable benefits of fishing is it encourages you to take time away from technology.
Spending time outdoors is a fantastic way to counteract the adverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle or hours spent staring at a screen.
Taking time to unplug is especially important for anyone that spends a lot of time working on technology as part of their school or work routine.
A few of the benefits of unplugging from technology include increased productivity, reduced stress, and closer interpersonal relationships.
Since fishing is an activity typically done in nature on the water, anglers are often away from cell service.
This makes it extremely easy to unplug from technology, set your digital responsibilities aside, and enjoy nature.
However, if your favorite fishing spot is within cell service, try making a point to keep your phone put away.
Personally, I work on a computer screen every day. It only takes a few consecutive days of staring at a monitor for my ‘fishing switch’ to be activated…aka my body is telling me to get off the computer, go outside, get my hands dirty, and catch some fish!
Catching a big bass, walleye or trout sure does help all problems!
Fishing Improves Patience and Focus
The adult attention span is nearly non-existent these days and surprisingly fishing can help.
If you have any experience with fishing, you’re aware of the patience that is required. Sometimes, you don’t need to wait very long to get a bite.
However, other times it can be hours before a single fish interacts with your line, testing your patience.
Fishing forces you to relax and be present, enjoy nature, and solely focus on the task at hand.
Fishing requires you to observe your surroundings and make decisions to be successful…this takes time, patience, and focus.
How Patience Is Good for Your Health
Recent studies in health-related fields reveal that patience is noticeably beneficial for your mental health.
Research shows that patient people often experience a higher quality of life than those who lack patience.
In addition, those who are good at exercising patience are less likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety.
So, waiting for that bite can actually decrease your risk for mental health.
How Focus Can Be Good for Your Health
As you wait for a fish to bite, you’re also exercising your ability to focus.
This is especially true with types of angling like fly fishing, where focusing skills are essential to finding success in the sport.
If you don’t properly pay attention to your strike indicators and other factors, you may miss a bite or lose a fish.
Improved focus provides benefits in many areas, especially when it comes to your work or school life.
Most jobs require some amount of focus. By exercising your focus and patience, you will better prepare yourself for success in your career, or life around the house.
Scientists have proven that ability to focus is tied to proficiency in all areas of thinking.
Improving your ability to focus will likely decrease your overall stress levels and increase your satisfaction in life.
Fishing Provides Stress Relief
It’s no surprise that fishing is an excellent way to relieve stress. Many anglers see fishing as a purely therapeutic activity that helps calm their nerves and minds (I know I do).
Getting outside in the fresh air and sunlight is extremely effective in relieving overall stress.
Finding ways to alleviate stress benefits both your physical and mental health in the long term.
Fishing Can Help Alleviate Chronic Stress
Chronic stress is an unrelenting feeling of being overwhelmed. People suffering from chronic stress constantly feel overwhelmed, unable to accomplish certain tasks, or cope with many aspects of their lives.
Different people may experience stress for various reasons. Oftentimes, life circumstances can increase stress levels.
Stress often occurs due to a specific trauma or event, financial instability, relationship troubles, or an unsatisfying job.
When a person suffers from chronic stress, their body is perpetually stuck in “fight or flight” mode.
This constant stress can contribute to ailments such as chronic fatigue, mood disorders, or addiction.
It’s crucial for people suffering from chronic stress to find ways to relieve the pressure they experience daily.
As I mentioned earlier, fishing requires patience and focus. This can distract your mind from the stressors of life.
Personally, when I am out fishing I try to focus only on the task at hand- catching a fish! This gives my mind and body a much-needed break from the rigors of life.
Besides, feeling that distinctive bite from a fish is one of the best feelings in the world…even better when you land that fish and get an awesome photo.
What are the Benefits of Fishing?
The benefits of fishing are extensive and extend from mental health to nutritional health and overall muscular health. Some of these benefits include reduced stress, enhanced nutrition, and an overall increase in physical health.
Physical and Mental Benefits of Fishing
The physical and mental benefits of fishing are extensive; the act of fishing can have positive effects in a variety of contexts.
These advantages can be seen as a result of the stress-relieving effects of fishing.
Effects of Fishing as Stress Relief
Fishing is a stress-relieving activity and it’s important to understand the drastic effects such activities can have on your mental and physical health.
Although the effects of stress may only appear to impact mental health, recent studies show that regular stress relief also has a significant effect on long-term physical health.
How Stress Impacts Physical Health
Stress has an enormous impact on how humans function throughout their daily lives.
People undergoing stress are more likely to experience negative physical symptoms such as muscle aches, chest pain, headaches, and low energy.
By using fishing as a stress-relieving activity, you can avoid experiencing some of these harmful symptoms.
Finally, chronic stress can affect your immune health. Someone who struggles with immune health is more prone to developing infections.
Studies done by immunologists at Stanford University show that chronic stress can suppress your immune function and lead to difficulties with your entire immune system.
Relaxing activities like fishing can directly decrease your stress levels, helping you to avoid such health problems.
Have I mentioned how much I love fishing? It does wonders for the body, mind, and soul!
How Stress Impacts Mental Health
In addition to affecting physical health, stress can have a massive impact on mental health.
People that are stressed are much more prone to anxiety, depression, burnout, and forgetfulness.
You can proactively fight chronic stress by getting outside and participating in relaxing activities like fishing. Your health will be better for it in the long run.
If you can’t get out and go fishing, that’s okay too. Here are some other activities you can do that are fishing-related.
- Organize your tackle box, rods, and reels
- Read a book about fishing tactics and tips
- Update your fishing log-book
- Learn a new skill (such as tying flies for fly-fishing)
- Organize your fishing photos
- Plan a trip to a major fishing destination
How Fishing Impacts Muscular Health
Fishing is an excellent way to increase your physical strength and stamina.
Each style of angling—be it fly fishing, bass fishing, wading, or trolling offshore—provides significant benefits in different areas of muscular health.
Fly fishing is an excellent activity for those looking to challenge themselves physically. For this reason, this type of fishing is beloved by many anglers.
Although it’s not uncommon to fly fish from a kayak or other small watercraft, fly fishers often find themselves standing in rivers and streams for prolonged periods—this act of standing while fishing will work your legs and core and increase your endurance.
On top of standing, many desirable fly fishing destinations require some hiking to reach. Hikes like this further exercise your legs and core, on top of being an excellent cardiovascular activity.
Finally, fly fishing can be physically demanding when it comes to technique. The repeated act of casting a rod can prove to be an excellent exercise for your shoulder and upper arm.
Many anglers also find that reeling in a fishing line challenges their forearms and hand muscles (especially in flowing rivers or streams).
Conventional Fishing (With Spinning Reels)
Like fly fishing, spinning reels can be an excellent form of exercise for your forearm and hand muscles. Spinning reels require that you repeatedly cast a lure and reel it back in.
This repeated casting motion is a fantastic exercise, and it doesn’t just strengthen your shoulder…
The movement challenges various muscles in your upper body, including muscles throughout your back and arms.
If you spin fish while standing, your legs and core also benefit. It increases your focus, dexterity, and accuracy.
On a typical 8-hour fishing day, a person can cast up to 1500 times! That’s a lot of reps!
Trolling is a method of fishing in which you drag a lure or piece of bait behind a moving boat.
Some types of trolling require that you hold a heavy-duty pole as the boat moves, which can significantly work your hand, arm, and back muscles.
Depending on the weight of the pole and the gear attached to the line, in addition to the time you spend holding the pole, you might also get an excellent core workout.
Why Is Fishing Good for Mental Health?
Fishing is good for mental health because it’s a stress-relieving activity. It provides your body with fresh air and sunlight, which is needed to function optimally. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with loved ones, which can help relieve mental strain.
Fully embracing fishing can have an incredibly positive effect on your overall mental health and satisfaction in life.
I never realized all of those countless hours I spent fishing, I was actually giving my body and brain what they needed to recharge, relax and find clarity.
Is Fishing Good for Your Heart?
Fishing is good for your heart because it can decrease your risk of developing heart disease later in life. By helping to alleviate chronic stress, (which can increase blood pressure and reduces sleep quality), fishing can help lower your risk for future health problems.
Recent studies conducted by the John Hopkins Institution of Medicine show that decreasing stress, in addition to proper nutrition, is especially crucial for heart health,
On that note, eating the fish you catch can be extremely beneficial for your heart, too.
Fish are an incredible source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are excellent nutrients for maintaining a healthy heart.
These fatty acids can lower blood pressure. This unique quality makes them essential for heart health.
On top of keeping your heart healthy, omega-3 fatty acids are also necessary nutrients for a healthy brain.
Not only does it improve overall brain function, research shows that eating fish can help to decrease the effects of mental concerns like depression, ADHD, and dementia.
People are drawn to the sport of fishing for many different reasons. Some want to catch their own dinner, others grew up doing it with friends and family…
No matter the reason, fishing is a low-risk hobby that has physical, mental, and spiritual benefits to one’s health.
It really is an amazing hobby supported by an abundant industry and community all over the world.
And remember: You’re never too old, or too young to start fishing…thanks for reading!
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