11 Reasons Why Fishing is the Best Low-Impact Outdoor Activity

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Most people feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. To make matters worse, your doctor is pestering you to get more exercise.

What can you do to get more activity when all you want to do is relax? You can go fishing! Fishing relieves stress and improves your health. Plus, you get to relax. Here are 11 reasons why fishing is one of the best outdoor activities around:

Fishing is good exercise

1. Anglers walk a lot.

You’ve seen the road signs. “No fishing off bridge.” You’re probably not going to find your next fishing spot at the side of the highway anyway. To find a great spot, you’ll have to do a bit of hiking. The best fishing spots are a few miles from the parking lot, so you’re exercising before you even start fishing!

Fishing is good for balance

2. Fishing gives you better balance.

Have you ever tried to stay upright on a boat while you’re fighting a fish? It’s hard to do! Whether you’re fishing on a boat or standing on the shore, you’ll need balance. Core strength is the strength in your tummy and lower back.  And fishing gives you more of it! The more core strength you have, the better you’ll be able to perform other physical activities.

Get Vitamin D fishing

3. You can soak in that Vitamin D.

You probably already know that the sun is the best source of Vitamin D. But do you know why it’s so important? Years ago, we thought that Vitamin D was great for helping our bodies absorb calcium. Now we know that it has other benefits, too.

The vitamin helps to fight diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and heart disease. It can help you beat the flu and depression. It can even decrease your risk of heart disease. Just ten minutes of exposure to sunlight can improve your health.

Grilled fish

4. You get to eat your catch.

Fish are some of the most protein and nutrient-packed foods on the planet. In addition to the Vitamin D you’ll get from standing in the sun, you’ll also get it from the fish you eat.

Fish are also an great source of Omega-3 acids. These acids help to prevent heart disease, and they also improve brain function. Aside from the nutritional value of fish, it’s also quite satisfying to eat the product of your hard work.

Fishing improves flexibility

5. Fishing improves flexibility.

After a week behind the desk, you could probably use a good stretch. Fishing can provide that, and can make you more flexible. Lots of the actions you use when you fish are the same as the actions doctors prescribe. These exercises limber up your joints and muscles, and make you more flexible over time.

Man fishing in kayak

6. Fishing is resistance exercise.

You might not think about some of the things you do as exercise. And you won’t see a lot of benefit from sitting on the shore with a rod. But fishing is a great workout!

Wading against currents in the water makes your legs stronger. Rowing a boat to a spot down the river is great for your arms. And, of course, reeling in a 20-pound salmon certainly requires a great deal of strength!

Fishing is good for the brain

7. Fishing challenges your brain.

People who don’t fish don’t understand. Fishing isn’t only a physical workout, it’s mental too. It’s a game of strategy. Finding a location, choosing your lures and outsmarting the fish all use brainpower.

Fortunately, this mental challenge can be very beneficial to your brain. You’ll think more quickly, your memory will get better and your reaction time will improve. You may even be less likely to get Alzheimer’s.

Fishing lets you relax

8. Fishing helps you relax.

Fishing isn’t all about wading through water or hiking up mountains.  Outdoor relaxation can be just as good for your health.

When you unwind, you allow your heart rate to slow and your mood to get better. Your blood pressure and your breathing rate will drop. Blood flow to your biggest muscle groups will increase, loosening your muscles.

Stress is one of the biggest risks to Americans’ health. It can result in seizures, strokes and heart attack. Relaxing for just a few hours each week can decrease these risks. What better way to take a break than to go fishing?

Fishing has social benefits

9. Fishing has social benefits.

Many people prefer to fish alone. We’ve talked about relaxation, and fishing solo is a great way to kick back. But you can also improve your overall health by fishing with friends.

Studies have shown that platonic (non-romantic) relationships can improve your health. Good friends can reduce your stress levels and make your heart healthier. They can help you form (and keep) good and lasting habits.

And there are benefits to friendly competition, too! Competing for the biggest catch can improve your productivity and encourage goal setting. Next time you go fishing, bring a friend! You might be healthier because of it.

Family fishing time

10. Fishing strengthens family ties.

If you’d rather not bring a friend, how about your family? Spending time with family can lead to some unexpected results.

Studies show that working on relationships with family members can lead to better eating habits. Family ties can help you quite bad habits like smoking or alcohol. Spending time with your husband or wife can improve your sex life. Or bring your kid. You’ll get better at conversation, and gain a better relationship.

River Bass Tournament
This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Walton LaVonda, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This applies worldwide.


11. Fishing enhances social involvement and well-doing.

If you’re looking to try something different, consider researching fishing tournaments. There are lots of charities which sponsor events. They’re local to your area, they benefit great organizations, and they’re easy to enter. You’ll not only be rewarded with the health perks of fishing, but you’ll also give back to your community.

Studies show that volunteer work can be good for your health. Volunteers experience a dopamine boost in their brains, causing a sense of happiness. And those who contribute to the community live longer.

Whether you’re an avid sportsman or a beginner, fishing offers many opportunities to improve your health. It provides plenty of outdoor physical activity, as well as a sure way to reduce stress. Alone or with friends, fishing is an excellent activity to increase exercise and relaxation.