Ask any fly fisher why they love fly fishing so much, and you’re likely to hear a lot of answers. However, the most common people hear is its calming effect. This fact may surprise those who have never tried it, but fishing can produce relaxation that can help a person overcome many symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Studies Show This Sport Relaxes the Mind
Fly fishers know that fly fishing is a relaxing experience. However, medical science has confirmed this factor many, many times. For example, a study published by Harvard in 2009 found that fishing activated the relaxation response. This mechanism is one that occurs in the body as a way of balancing stress. Many activities naturally enable this reaction.
When it occurs, the body imitates a period of deep rest and slows the breathing rates, reduces the blood pressure, and decreases muscle tension. In various studies, this response has been noted in fly fishers. Some even compare it to the act of meditation. That mental process occurs when a person calms the mind and purposefully relaxes their nerves to manage stress and anxiety.
Fishing Also Helps Promote Healthiness
Beyond its benefits on the mind, fly fishing promotes physical fitness. While it may not be as demanding asactive sports like jogging, fishing requires physical strength. For example, a person needs to be capable of walking to their fishing spot, moving through tough outdoor conditions, and climb hills and go down valleys while wading through water.
And once they’re in the river, they need to throw their fly pole back and forth to attract bites. Once they catch a fish, they need to fight them to bring them out of the water. All of these activities will get the blood flowing and enhance a person’s physical fitness. And stronger physical fitness also helps to calm the mind by releasing pleasure-creating endorphin chemicals.
Fishing to Minimize Anxiety
Those using fly fishing to decrease their anxiety should take steps to ensure that they are fully prepared. For example, they’ll need good waders to protect their feet and their pants in water. These rubber boots can go up to the waist for full protection. It is also essential to have a large number of flies for different types of fish. Nothing ruins a fishing trip quite like losing a fly to the wrong fish type.
Next, they need to practice their technique to keep it smooth and even. Those with little experience may find that throwing their fly is stressful at first. However, by properly managing this fishing method, a person can relax in the beauty of nature and feel at home in its beauty.