Fishing is one of the great British pastimes and a perennially popular activity for all ages. You will often hear people extol the benefits of spending time fishing and how they feel so much better after a day on the lake or river. Why is it that there is such a body of anecdotal evidence? Is there any factual basis for it? Do all anglers report positive effects from their recreational activity?
To answer these, we first approached Rob Edwards from British Baits as a subject matter expert who interacts with fishermen and women on a regular basis day in and day out. Robs’ view was pretty cut and dried in support of it. “Pretty much everyone that I talk to about fishing reports feeling better mentally and physically after a day out.” He should certainly know as his business, www.britishbaits.co.uk is focused on nothing but fishing.
In this article let us explore some of the potential benefits a little further. First of all is the physical aspect of the fishing. All movement is beneficial to the body. When fishing there can be a surprising amount of physical activity involved. There is the walk to your chosen spot. Something as fundamental to fishing as the act of a cast moves your joints in ways they don’t get to move in your working day which helps flexibility. Anyone who has had a strike from a large, fighting fish will know that the physical exertion of trying to land the catch is not insignificant so there is benefit there as well. Fishing clearly involves physical exercise and is good for you in terms of improving your fitness and overall health.
There are some other reasons why fishing is good for your body that may not be so obvious at first glance. Anyone who has to work regularly with computer screens or other VDU devices will be familiar with the advice to give your eyes a rest from close focus every 20 minutes or so and look into the distance to avoid eye strain. When you are out fishing you will often be gazing into the distance contemplatively and your eyes switch from near to far focus at a natural and benign rate.
When you are outdoors you are away from the city centres and their concentration of pollutants so a fishing trip for that elusive giant carp, for example, is good for the lungs as well. Not only that but while out in the fresh air the natural sunlight is helping your skin produce the vitamin D so essential to healthy bones.
As for the mental benefits they are multiple. Whether solo or with friends fishing is an activity that reduces stress and takes you away from the mundane daily problems. The endorphin rush of a strike and successful landing after the anticipation is a boost to the mind as well. Being away from the daily bombardment of social media, emails and other electronic chatter helps clear your mind and let you recalibrate and reset for your next challenges. If you are with others, it can be a great social bonding which again helps stress and overall mental happiness.
A final point, if you are not doing a catch and release, then you also have the makings of an extremely healthy meal.