Fishing is one of the most accessible outdoor sports. Almost anyone, regardless of age, fitness level, or income level, can participate. Moreover, it is no longer a sport that mostly men participate in anymore. According to a report by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, over one third of the 46 million Americans who fish today are women. Not only is fishing enjoyable, whether you go by yourself, with friends or with family, but studies have found that fishing leads to a happier and healthier life. Below are a few reasons why you should go fishing.

It’s healthy for you
While fishing itself isn’t necessarily going to get your heart racing, many of the best fishing spots require work, such as paddling, biking, or hiking, to get to. The effort put into getting to these amazing spots is great exercise.

Simply being outside is great for you. Whether it’s sunny or not being outside allows your body to get much needed Vitamin D, which helps keep your teeth and bones healthy. Moreover, studies have shown that Vitamin D has been linked to helping battle depression.

Escaping the chaos of everyday life, especially if you live in the city, helps lower your stress. When asked, nearly ninety-percent of people who fish recreationally said that escaping crowds was their ultimate goal. Today there are even charities whose main goal is to use the power of fishing to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

If what you catch is big enough, and you decide to keep and eat it, this has multiple positive effects. Fish are an extremely healthy food and an excellent source of nutrition. They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease blood pressure and lower the risk of stroke and heart failure. According to research, eating fish can also help your eyesight, decrease your risk of asthma, protect your skin from UV-rays (this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still wear sunscreen!), and cut your chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis in half. Moreover, according to the Mayo Clinic, eating fish can also reduce irregular heartbeats and improve brain function in children.

Fishing expeditions usually last multiple hours. This is a great time to form friendships, whether it be with your friends or family. Getting excited over a big catch, spending time talking, or just being in the presence of other people is a great catalyst for great friendships.

Contribute to conservation
Most people who fish are passionate about the environment. By purchasing fishing licenses, fishermen are helping to fund many of the wildlife and conservation programs that exist in the United States. Many fishermen are also advocates who speak to others about the importance of helping our environment.

There’s a reason that people still go fishing today, when they don’t need to for survival any more- it’s fun! People of all ages, genders, races, etc. can enjoy the sport, create lifelong friendships and gain invaluable skills. The thrill of catching a fish is unmatchable!