A Sea of Healthy Benefits

g0-fishWhile I have never personally gone fishing, there are several reasons you might consider trying the sport yourself. First and foremost, fishing is extremely accessible to anyone of any age and fitness level. If you don’t think so, ask one of the 46 million Americans who fish today—I can almost guarantee, based on their own experiences, they will encourage you to get on the water.

So, in recognition of Go Fishing Day, let’s cast a line and while we wait, chat and chew about the health benefits of fishing.

Fishing keeps you active. From throwing the rod, pulling the reel, and lifting the fish from the water to actually getting to your chosen spot, the sport of fishing includes a great deal of physical activity. Even before you cast a line, you are likely to bike or hike a trail to get to your favorite fishing spot. From there, you might paddle out to the open water and continue to soak up the benefits once something eventually bites!

Fishing helps relieve stress. We’ve talked a great deal about different ways to help reduce stress (see this post and another here), and now you can add fishing to your list! Spending hours unplugged from the world does wonders for your mental state—there’s nothing more rewarding than connecting with nature on a deeper level and being alone with your thoughts. Not having to answer to anyone or anything can give you the peace-of-mind you’ve been craving but couldn’t find a way to achieve it.

Fishing provides self-fulfillment AND social bonding. Fishing can improve your self-esteem by gaining respect for the environment, mastering outdoor skills and achieving personal goals, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. It can also aid in a person’s social and personal development as well. A fishing experience can help strengthen relationships with family and friends—but it can also provide an opportunity to mentor someone on the importance of natural resources and our responsibilities to protect them(1).     

Fish make healthy meal choices. If you decide to keep your fish or buy one from your local grocer, you won’t be disappointed with your catch. Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which offer several cardiovascular benefits, which include helping decrease blood pressure and lowering the risk of stroke and heart failure. The Mayo Clinic also reports their ability to reduce irregular heartbeats and improve brain function in children as well.

For more health benefits, check out the infographic below provided by Bass Pro Shops.

Health Benefits of Fishing Infographic

Image © 2015 Bass Pro Shops / www.basspro.com


Go Fish for Healthy Recipes

If you’re looking for a nutritional way to enjoy your fish, try one of the recipes below:

If you’ve ever gone fishing you have probably made a habit out it. For anyone who wants to get started, all you really need is a fishing starter kit, which includes a rod, reel, line and bait. Don’t feel the need to spend money on expensive equipment—it doesn’t necessarily raise your chances of catching more fish. If you have some advice to share, feel free to do so in the comments below—give others the encouragement to take up the sport you love yourself!   

For the love of pets.

love-your-pet-day


Despite the look on my mother’s face when I brought a 4-month old puppy home from college, I knew I made the right decision. As someone who grew up with dogs, cats, fish, and a bird, I know first-hand the difference owning a pet can have on someone’s life. Research also shows that the benefits reach far beyond the general feeling of joy we experience when our furry friend greets us at the door. Between physical and mental health benefits, it’s clear that non-pet owners are missing out on more than just a loving companion. 

Today marks the “unofficial” national holiday, Love Your Pet Day, so let’s chat and chew about how owning a pet can improve your life.

They get you moving. Raising a puppy was no easy task—I became very familiar with the I-have-ten-seconds-before-I-pee-on-the-floor-look. It did, however, force me to take mental breaks throughout the day. Owning a pet gets you outside, gives you an energy boost, and allows you to blow off steam. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or had a bad day, it’s proven that once you see your pet’s face you automatically cheer up! Plus, mainly for fellow dog owners, you can always count on your pet to take a long walk with you or play at the park. But hey, if you just want to curl up on the couch, your pet will be right by your side too.

They help you be more social. Pets are a great conversation starter. Let’s face it—we love showing off the hundreds of photos we have saved on our phones. Not only is walking your pet great for relationships, they can help foster interpersonal skills as well, says Alan Entin, a psychologist and past president of the American Psychological Association’s Division of Family Psychology. “Being outside with a dog helps you meet people,” Entin says. Ultimately, “…that helps improve your social life.”

They make you laugh. Pets have quirky things they randomly do that no one can understand—we can’t help but burst into laughter. Froma Walsh, co-director of the Chicago Center for Family Health and a Professor Emerita at the University of Chicago, says, “They bring laughter and humor into our stressful lives and encourage us in playful ways.” Pets are a good reminder that we need to enjoy our lives and not take things so seriously all the time.

They reduce allergies and asthma, and build immunity. Surprisingly, research shows that children who grew up in homes with 2 or more dogs or cats were less than half as likely to develop common allergies to things such as, dust, grass, ragweed, and pet allergies. 

They help you love yourself. Owning a pet helps instill a sense of purpose and can boost your self-esteem. They also help people who suffer from depression or tend to feel lonely. In general, pets offer unconditional love, never judge, and are always willing to listen. There’s something so special about the way pets can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel—and rarely does it take much effort.

They help reduce stress. While pet-ownership in and of itself can reduce emotional stress, when you pet or play with your animal, touch and movement provides sensory stress relief as well. 

While the list goes on, these reasons alone can be enough to sway anyone into getting a pet; however, pet-ownership is not for everyone. Getting a pet in college came with its challenges—puppies are VERY time consuming, not to mention, expensive. If you have the means to raise your pet right, then go for it! If not, don’t set yourself and the animal up for failure. The benefits of owning a pet are not going to disappear anytime soon.

Consider volunteering at a local shelter until you’re ready to bring your best friend home – you might just stumble upon your perfect companion who’s up for adoption!

The Importance of Hobbies

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Growing up I filled my days with sports, piano lessons, Barbie’s, Beanie Babies, and so much more! And I often long for those days of playing in my basement…

Not all hope is lost though! January is National Hobby Month—fitting for the first month of a new year. No matter what you have on your plate, it’s very important to make your needs a priority as well. Since the balance between business and pleasure is often blurred, it’s essential to set aside time each week for activities you truly enjoy.

So, let’s chat and chew about why you need a hobby for your every day, and long-term, health!

A Necessary Break

Personally, I love planning. I use my time much more efficiently when I know what my schedule is for the day (or week). It’s difficult to disrupt a workflow and walk away from the computer, but allowing yourself to be responsibility-free for a period of time will prevent overwhelming feelings caused by work. A new hobby will create space for you to do something you enjoy.

Social Opportunities

It’s not uncommon to network less as you age; we naturally reach a point of happiness and comfort with our circle of friends. Trying a new hobby like joining a book club or an intramural sports team allows you the opportunity to meet new people. Group hobbies have the added benefit of social support, which provides stress relief and a sense of purpose. With all hobbies, you can ease into the conversation and take the experience at your own pace.

Eliminates Stress

We all need a little distraction sometimes! Betsan Corkhill, a knitting therapist, says, “The more capacity you’re using up being totally absorbed in a task, the less capacity there is left to focus any attention on any problems.” Hobbies are a great way to relax and forget about everything else going on around you. Life will always continue forward, so make sure you’re enjoying the ride! 

Mental & Physical Benefits

Aging Home Health Care reports, “Physical activity can help prevent or maintain control in some chronic illnesses such as: heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and even some types of cancer.” Whether it’s activities like golfing, biking, swimming, or tennis, exercising can significantly improve your overall quality of life as your age. You can also improve your flexibility through hobbies like yoga, painting, and dancing, or improve memory by playing card games or doing Crossword Puzzles. The possibilities are endless—it’s up to you to make the first move!

Confidence Boost

If you decide on a hobby that’s unfamiliar or challenging, there’s an opportunity to boost morale and self-worth. By solving a problem you were stumped on, or accomplishing a project you had difficulty with, you become aware of skills you didn’t know you were capable of performing! Overcoming both small and big tasks gives you a heightened sense of pride, so keep pushing yourself a little bit with each new hobby!

Everyone remembers his or her favorite hobbies growing up—it simply can’t be forgotten! Fuel that same excitement you remember feeling as a kid and apply it towards finding a new hobby in 2015, or revisit an old one you can’t live without! Already have a favorite hobby of your own? Comment below and inspire others to try what keeps you happy and healthy!


Sources:

  1. Business Insider
  2. Aging Home Health Care