My boyfriend bought me a fishing rod for my birthday! I was a little surprised as it was always his hobby. He said he wanted to share an activity with me that he loved and had so much going for it – you know, fresh air, out in nature, eating nature.
It stayed in the cupboard for three months before I finally decided to give fishing a whirl. Here’s what I discovered:
- Fishing makes you fitter.
Research shows that fishing is an all round workout for your body. You might not get your heart rate up (unless you need to hike to your fishing spot) but you’ll work your main muscle groups setting up, casting off and landing your catch. Bagging a big fish will work your shoulders, legs, back, arms and core – without ever setting foot in a gym! And if you opt for fly fishing has been shown to help women recover faster from breast cancer, because it gently supports soft tissue growth and stretching.
- Fishing makes you live longer.
You probably already know eating fish gives you a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids. But did you realise that – when consumed regularly – omega-3 can decrease your blood pressure, reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease, and boost brain function (especially in children)? Highly nutritious, fish is also thought to protect your eyesight, reduce asthma symptoms, and cut rheumatoid arthritis symptoms by huge 50 per cent. According to the WHO, Japanese people for whom fish is a main part of their diet (alongside vegetables) have the highest life expectancy in the world.
- Fishing makes you happier.
Getting out in nature has its own benefits. Relaxing by gently lapping water in a cool, shady green space patiently waiting for that tug on the line can lower your blood pressure, ban stress and boost your mood. Focusing on the task is key – research shows that being present in the moment and observing what’s happening around you is a fast track to Chillville. It’s akin to meditation but easier, because your brain has something to concentrate on. If you fish with others, it’s a great way of bonding, which promotes a feeling of wellbeing and security overall. Plus, all that time outdoors means absorbing heaps of vitamin D, which regulates calcium and phosphate, boosts your immune system, helps fight depression, and makes ageing easier.
- Fishing is great for everybody.
It doesn’t matter what age you are, how fit you are or how much money you have, fishing is one of the few outdoor activities that is genuinely accessible for all. Remember the adage – teach someone to fish and you feed them for a lifetime? You could also say, teach someone to fish and you set them up for lifelong health and happiness. It’s an activity you can enjoy at any age, anywhere (well, near a body of water anyway) and with anyone. When it comes down to it, what more excuse do you need to get out and cast a line?