Each year, an estimated 60 million people go fishing. Whether for sport, food, or fun, these people will head out to their spot and try to land the big one. If you’ve never been fishing, it may be time to give it a try, since fishing can be extremely healthy for seniors.

Relaxation

Of all the health benefits of fishing, the relaxation and stress relief it provides is by far the greatest. Anyone who has ever gone fishing can attest to just how relaxing the activity can be. Think about it. Fishing puts you squarely in the moment. You have to be relatively quiet. There are no phones or interruptions. It gives you time to take stock of things and unwind away from everything else.

In this sense, fishing closely mimics a form of meditation. Just like meditation, there are many health benefits to simply relaxing. It fights stress, which can have debilitating effects on our bodies. It can reduce your chances of anxiety. As a result, fishing can lead to lower blood pressure and a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. So, if anyone ever asks why you’ve been going fishing so much lately, just say it’s good for your heart!

Low-Impact Exercise

Between walking, swimming, yoga, and other arthritis-friendly exercises, we’ve discussed how valuable low-impact exercises are for seniors. We can add fishing to the list of great low-intensity exercises. The benefit of a low-impact exercise is that they provide a workout without causing too much strain on your joints. These are especially effective for anyone with joint issues, are out of shape, or struggle with arthritis.

So, how does fishing qualify as a low-impact exercise? For one, the casting, reeling, or rowing works many muscles without the same level of tension on the joints. Fishing will often include some level of hiking or walking to get to the body of water. Some fishermen prefer to stand in the water while fishing, which adds another level of exercise.

Gets You Healthy Fish

If you’re lucky enough to catch something (not always the case, trust me!) then you stumbled on another big health benefit of fishing — easy access to healthy fish. When it comes to eating healthy, it’s tough to beat fish. They are high in protein, low in calories, and many contain healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids. In general, they’re rich in many important nutrients. Besides the health bonuses, there are so many ways to cook fish that can fit any dietary preferences or style. You can steam them, fry them, grill them. You can blacken fish. You can batter fish. You can even pickle fish. Fish might just be the most flexible protein on the market.

Of course, if you’re going to eat any fish you catch, there are a few things you’ll need to do. First, in order to keep a fish, it should be the right size. Each state has its own catch and release laws outlining what’s allowed to be kept and what needs to be released. You can find out your local laws online or when you get your fishing license.

If you can keep the fish, you’ll have to clean and fillet it. You can either do this yourself or find a professional through a local bait shop.

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For many, fishing is something their dad did, heading down to the fishin’ hole with a pole. If you want fish, it’s easier to head down to the grocery store and pick up some frozen fillets, but there’s more to fishing than catching dinner. If you’re struggling with stress or just want to be healthier, fishing may be just what the doctor ordered.