Fishing is often thought of as a tranquil pastime for older men. And while this can certainly be true, fishing is also a vibrant and engaging sport with numerous physical and mental health benefits for anyone who cares to partake in it. Adam Slatniske is an experienced amateur fisherman and has experienced its advantages and pleasures first hand. He says that fishing is a full-body and mind workout that leaves him feeling refreshed - and he hopes to pass on that simple pleasure to others.
Contrary to popular culture’s vision of a fisherman sitting quietly in a boat, fishing can actually be excellent physical exercise, says Adam Slatniske. Reeling in even a small fish engages your shoulder, neck, back, arm, and core muscles. And the bigger the fish, the more effort you have to expend to reel it in and scoop it out of the water!
Boating can also be a great form of exercise, Adam Slatniske tells us. Often, in shallow waters, you have to row to get to the best fishing spot. Rowing also helps ensure that you don’t scare off the fish with loud motors! Rowing is an excellent cardiovascular workout that burns lots of calories. And even when you’re in a motorboat, standing and bending and stretching while you fish is so much better for you than sitting in your office all day!
Fishing is Relaxing
Unlike other, more physical sports, fishing cultivates patience and mindfulness. You have to wait for the waters to settle for fish to come to you. You have to pay attention to the water conditions and the weather. You have to concentrate to properly bait your hook or tie a fly. And talking too much is sure to scare off the fish, so you’re forced to allow yourself to be quiet.
Quiet is something that lacks in most people’s lives in our modern society, says Adam Slatniske. It’s an important opportunity to let your mind rest and be fully present in the moment. Mindfulness has been proven to lower blood pressure, relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduce chronic pain, improve your mood, and increase your longevity. Not many other sports can boast that!
Fishing also gets you out into nature which is excellent for your mental health. Even looking at a picture of a tree has been shown to lower a person’s blood pressure. Being outside for long periods of time calms our nervous systems, engages out serotonin production, encourages dopamine and endorphin release, and helps set our circadian rhythms which can improve our quality of sleep.
Adam Slatniske is a dentist in Maryland where he lives with his family. Between volunteering in his community and caring for his grandfather, he tries to fish as often as possible.
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