Pictured is Clear Lake. This photo was taken a couple days before the lake was closed. That day was perfect. Truly a “Sunshine and Buttercups” day! Photo contributed Whether it’s the sights, smells or sounds, or simply the chance to escape from the daily grind, nature can have a positive effect on your mental health. Fishing and spending time outdoors is renewing, relaxing, and has a therapeutic effect. Fishing offers plenty of opportunities to get out in nature and realize the emotional boost that comes from spending time outdoors. Here are some key ways your mind and body will benefit from a day on the water:
1. Time spent in nature can help reduce your blood pressure.
Although the exact reasons that it happens are not yet clear, time spent hanging out in nature helps to reduce your blood pressure. Research has shown that the benefits provided by spending time in natural surroundings last for some time after you come back to civilization. The more time spent outdoors is better, it only takes about 30 minutes per week to improve blood pressure and overall health.
2. Some types of fishing can help you burn calories in a low-impact manner.
Most of us could stand to lose a few pounds and get more exercise. Even a relatively relaxing day of bank fishing will require you to walk up and down a shoreline, while casting and retrieving for hours at a time – all of which burn calories. And if you are fortunate to hook up a true giant, you’ll expend a ton of energy battling it to the shore, boat or kayak.
3. Fishing gives us a chance to enjoy some peace and quiet.
In the modern world, we are increasingly assaulted from all directions by noise and commotion, and it is causing many people to suffer from anxiety. Fishing gives you a chance to unplug from all of that, and let your brain enjoy some peace and quiet. Mind you, fishing is rarely a silent activity, but the sounds you’ll most commonly enjoy are of the relaxing variety. After all, who could be stressed by listening to the sounds of the waves rhythmically rapping against the hull of the boat or the birds and frogs calling off in the distance.
4. Fishing can be a great way to spend time with your family and friends.
Perhaps nothing is more meaningful than spending time with loved ones, and fishing provides a great opportunity to do so. Whether that means bringing along a good fishing buddy, your spouse or your kids, you’ll often have a great time fishing with those close to you. Of course, you’ll have to make adjustments when fishing with others – particularly when fishing with those who are not avid anglers. You may want to target more easily caught species and fish in less demanding environments, for starters. Also, be sure to consider the types of creature comforts that will make your companions have a better time, and do your best to make sure they catch fish too. You may not have the type of fishing success to which you are accustomed, but the smiles, love and companionship will help make up for it.
5. Fishing gives you a reason to stand up.
Many of us spend too much time sitting down according to healthcare researchers. In fact, it is thought that more than one-half of an average American’s day is spent sitting down, and this isn’t good for your health. Excessive sitting (defined as more than about 8 hours per day) is linked with an 18 percent increase in the likelihood of dying from cardiovascular problems and a 17 percent increase in the likelihood of dying from cancer. But fishing often forces you to stand – particularly if you are fly fishing or wading out into the water to access deeper pools. And if you are fishing from the bank, you may end up walking for a mile or two in search of productive waters. So, get up from your chair, head to the water and start fishing (while standing).
6. The intellectual side of fishing can help keep your brain sharp as you age.
Unfortunately, memory problems and a generalized cognitive decline often occur as we age. However, one of the best ways to keep your brain healthy and operating at light-speed is by challenging it with mentally stimulating activities. And as we know, fishing often presents myriad mental challenges that require innovative and creative solutions. Harvard Health Publications provides an overview of some of the best ways to fight off cognitive decline, which is worth reviewing. Spoiler alert: Their recommendations align nearly perfectly with fishing. For example, the first three tips recommend that you keep learning, use all your senses and have confidence in yourself – all three of which you’ll have to do to have success while fishing.
7. Sunshine helps boost your mood.
Unless you are fortunate enough to work outdoors for a living, you probably spend most of your time indoors. And that’s unfortunate, as sunlight provides a number of important health benefits. For example, exposure to sunlight triggers your brain to release serotonin – an important hormone that is thought to help improve your mood and encourage happy thoughts. Fail to get enough sunshine in your life, and you may become depressed. But don’t forget to practice good sun-safety. Be sure to cover up with lightweight fabrics during the hottest part of the day and coat yourself in sunscreen before opening your tackle box and getting to work. And don’t forget to protect your eyes too, by investing in a pair of high-quality, polarized, UV-blocking shades.
8. Sun exposure helps boost your immune system.
Sun light doesn’t just provide mood-enhancing benefits, it also helps to bolster your immune system. Most of the immune-system boosting effects sunlight provides precipitate from the production of Vitamin D, which our bodies synthesize when exposed to sunlight. Among other things, vitamin D plays an important role in bone formation and allows the body to use the calcium present in the blood […]