Fishing is a reflective and meditative activity that encourages you to slow down and appreciate your surroundings. Some people fish for food, some for sport, and others just to get outside and spend time with friends. It's interesting to note that the sound of water is also used to reduce stress and anxiety. For instance, if you're in a busy shopping mall, the sound of a fountain can help you escape the hustle and bustle of foot traffic. The same can be said for fishing in a lake.
The sound of water lapping against the shore or a fish jumping out of the water is truly calming. It helps to relax tense muscles that have been held in place for too long. So why is fishing so relaxing? Here are some reasons why.
Provides a Way Out of StressFishing requires light but consistent physical activity, which releases dopamine. It also leads to a tangible reward, which boosts feelings of self-reliance and accomplishment.
Fishing requires a lot of focus and awareness, which takes your mind away from internal conflicts and stress, similar to meditation. As a result, it can help reduce anxiety, fight depression, and promote relaxation. Fishing provides an escape from everyday life and, according to marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols, it can even speed up the healing process and reduce pain. You don't have to go fishing in a wooded stream or pond to enjoy these benefits; you just need to go fishing in any natural environment. According to the Ontario Parks Department in Canada, spending an hour or two fishing is a great way to take your mind off any stress or problems you may be facing - much like meditation.
Lowers Cortisol LevelsFishing is also known for lowering cortisol levels - your body's natural alarm system and stress hormone.
This decrease in cortisol can last for weeks after you've gone fishing. For this reason, it has been used as a form of stress relief for people suffering from trauma or PTSD. By taking part in fishing activities, you're also providing financial and public support for wildlife workers who manage hatcheries, fish migration equipment, and conservation efforts.
Fly Fishing for Women with Breast CancerFly fishing - a type of fishing that uses artificial flies and heavy fishing lines - has been found to help women with breast cancer recover. According to a report released by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and the Outdoor Foundation, more than one-third of the 46 million Americans who fish today are women. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower blood pressure and blood clotting while decreasing the risk of stroke and heart failure. The Mayo Clinic suggests eating at least two servings of fish per week.
Refer to the Ontario Fish Eating Guide to identify types and quantities of fish that are safe to eat.
Cardiovascular BenefitsWhile fishing itself won't necessarily boost your heart rate, many of the best fishing spots require some paddling, biking, or hiking - all activities that have proven cardiovascular benefits. Fishing also requires you to stand upright for long periods of time - especially if you fly fish or go deep into the water - which helps strengthen your core muscles. To ensure young generations of fish have a fair chance at survival, it's often the rule that any fish below a certain size should be released if caught. Fishing can be quite rigorous depending on the type you do - so it's important to make sure you're prepared before heading out.
More Than Just a Deadly CatchFishing has many physical and mental health benefits. Whether it's bringing along a good fishing partner or your family members, you'll often have an enjoyable time fishing with those close to you. If you're fishing with someone who isn't an avid fisherman, there may be some adjustments needed - such as changing bait or finding new spots - but these are all simple problems that can be easily solved. Fishing may seem like a sedentary sport compared to other activities like ultrarunning but you're never really still when you're fishing.
So next time you're looking for something fun and relaxing to do outdoors, why not give fishing a try?.
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