Is Fishing Exercise? Stay Healthy Outdoors

July 31, 2020

Is Fishing Exercise? Stay Healthy Outdoors

Most fishermen love spending time outdoors flinging a lure with the hopes of hooking something big. There’s something about being out on the water and being at one with nature that is addictive. If not addictive, then definitely relaxing. 

But is fishing exercise?

Fishing can definitely be categorized as exercise depending on the type of fishing you’re doing and the level of exercise you desire. If you’re actively fighting fish (especially large ones) you can get a great workout in.

You can also exercise while fishing if the technique you’re using requires a lot of movement, such as casting or jigging.

Is Fishing Excercise During COVID-19?

Since traditional methods of exercise are limited due to COVID-19, many people are wondering if they can get a workout in while fishing. As we mentioned above, you can definitely exercise while fishing during COVID-19. Try and focus on techniques that either produce a lot of fish you’ll need to fight or active techniques like casting and jigging.

Another way you can get exercise while fishing during COVID-19 is by fishing in a remote place that requires a decent amount of hiking or walking to get to. If you start your fishing trip out with an hour or hiking or walking, you’ll end up getting decent exercise in before you even start fishing.

An additional health benefit to fishing during COVID-19 is that it is a great way to get vitamin D back into your routine. Getting exposed to sunlight helps improve your vitamin D levels, which in turn promotes hair and skin growth. During the pandemic many people are stuck indoors and aren’t getting sufficient levels of vitamin D. Fishing outdoors can fix this!

Does Fishing Burn Calories?

Fishing most definitely burns calories, but it depends on the type of fishing you’re doing. If you’re casting a lure or jigging, you can easily burn several hundred calories in an hour. If you’re actively fighting large fish such as king salmon or tarpon, these numbers can get even higher. Just ask our founder Finn about his trip to the Florida Keys for tarpon! There have been trips where we’re exhausted after only a couple hours of being out on the water. 

Is Fishing a Stress Reliever?

Besides being exercise, fishing can also be a great stress reliever. As we mentioned earlier, being out on the water and at one with nature can be a very relaxing experience. Smelling the salty air or pine fragrance of nearby trees will invoke a sense of tranquility and calmness. 

If you choose to pick a more active type of fishing, then you can also relieve stress through exercise. Exercise is proven to reduce stress and improve your overall mood. Exercise can also improve your sleep pattern and improve your self-esteem over time.


How to Exercise While Fishing

Now that you know you can exercise while fishing, let’s go over how to exercise effectively while fishing. First, it’s worth noting that you should prepare for your fishing trip by bringing the following items. This will ensure you get a good workout in safely and comfortably.

Bring lots of water. 

Water is the most commonly forgotten thing when getting ready to go fishing. If you’re planning on spending many hours out on the water, you’ll need lots of water to stay hydrated. This is compounded if you’re fishing somewhere hot like Florida or Mexico. The sun will reflect off the water and cause you to get dehydrated very fast. Bring lots of water!

Wear comfortable shoes. 

Another common mistake we see when people are fishing for exercise is that they don’t wear comfortable shoes. Be sure to wear shoes that will be comfortable for you to spend hours standing in. You should also bring shoes that you don’t mind if they get dirty or get soaked. If you do end up catching a fish that you want to keep, it will get bloody in the boat and make short work of any nice shoes you may have brought.

Bring food.

Again, if you’re planning on spending hours out on the water exercising, you’ll need to bring food to recharge and keep your energy levels high. We recommend packing a lunch (no bananas!), several energy bars, and lots of liquids. We like bringing Gatorade on board to quench our thirst faster than water.

Prepare for soreness.

If you haven’t been exercising regularly, a day out on the water exercising might be painful at first. We always recommend bringing a bottle of ibuprofen just in case you start getting sore before the day is over. Nothing will ruin a trip faster than being in pain, and if you do injure yourself it’s best to medicate immediately to keep swelling down.

Use good form.

Lastly, we wanted to mention that you should focus on using good form while fishing for exercise. Don’t bend over at deep angles or jerk your line unnecessarily hard. If you’re doing something that hurts, stop doing it. Use your best judgment and go from there.

Go kayaking.

If you want to get a really good workout in, we recommend going inshore kayak fishing. Get an affordable kayak and get out on the water. You’ll be able to fish for many different species and get a great workout in while you do it. Just be sure to bring to proper equipment and be safe.

How to Train for Fishing Exercise

If you have some time before your fishing exercise adventure, we recommend getting some training in ahead of time to ensure you don’t injure yourself. While general cardio exercise ahead of time is always a good idea, there are several muscle groups that we recommend exercising to prepare for fishing.

General Cardio for Fishing Exercise

Cardio is probably the most important exercise you can do ahead of time before going fishing. When you actively casting a heavy lure or fighting a big fish (like a marlin), it’s the slow burn that gets you over time. This means that you need to prepare by getting some good cardio in ahead of time. We recommend going on short runs regularly, or walking up and down stairs if that is easier. Another easy way to get some cardio in is to do 50 jumping jacks in the morning right when you get up. We like exercising early in the morning to start our day off positively and to get it out of the way early. You should try to be active for at least 30 minutes every day to ensure your cardio system is ready for fishing exercise. 

Squats for Fishing Exercise

After general cardio, the second most important workout we can recommend for fishing is squats. When most people think of squats, they think of the intense squat racks at their local gym. If you’re comfortable using a squat rack, then great. If not, free squats (without weights) or simply picking a box up off the ground in sets of 10 will work great. You don’t need to be an Olympic lifter; the key here is to activate your quads and lower back muscle to ensure you don’t pull anything once you’re out on the water.

Kettle Bells for Fishing Exercise

Another great exercise to prepare for fishing is lifting kettlebells. Kettlebells will help prepare the muscles needed for pulling up a fish from the water as well as casting your lures. Start with a lightweight kettlebell and work your way up to larger kettlebells.

Ab Fishing Exercises

In the same vein as general cardio, doing a healthy amount of ab exercises will prepare you for an intense fishing battle out on the water. We recommend starting with crunches and working your way up to planks. Having a strong core will pay dividends when battling a big fish as well as preventing fatigue early in the day. A lot of your casting power comes from rotating your torso, so improving core strength will improve the rang of your cast.

Seated Row for Fishing

Another more focused exercise you can do to prepare for fishing is seated or standing rows. This exercise will improve your back muscle strength as well as arm strength. Both of these muscle groups will help you battle strong fish and improve your endurance when casting long-distance over and over again. We recommend starting with a set of 25 lb dumbbells. Lean over a table and complete a rowing motion by lifting them off the ground with one arm at a time. This exercise is also great for inshore kayak fishing.

Psychological Benefits of Fishing

Now that we’ve discussed the physical benefits of fishing, let’s talk about the psychological benefits. Fishing has many psychological benefits that may not be obvious at first glance.

Exercise improves mood.

We mentioned this above, but since fishing is exercise, it improves your mood after you’re done. Exercising helps keep your sleep regular and releases stress over time.

Fishing promotes comradery.

Fishing with your friends is a really fun activity and promotes bonding. We learn a ton about our friends when fishing with them, as there aren’t very many distractions and you can focus on getting to know each other. Taking a new friend fishing is one of our favorite bonding activities.

Sense of achievement.

Catching a fish instills a sense of achievement that is hard to describe. If you’re an avid fisherman, you’ll understand what we’re getting at. Being able to remember the trophy fish you caught is a form of pride and makes for great memories you can reminisce on. While fishing luck may have played a part, you also caught it because of your skill. It’s great for your mental health. 

Being at one with nature.

We mentioned this one earlier, but fishing also instills a sense of being at one with nature. You’re feeding off the land while being outdoors and clearing your mind. It’s a wonderful feeling that keeps us coming back to fishing when we’re feeling stressed or overworked.

Parting Thoughts

Fishing can definitely be exercise if you choose the right technique and work at it. We love getting outdoors and getting a good workout in while actively pursuing our favorite sports fish. Hopefully, after reading this article, you are now more motivated to go fishing and get some exercise in. Stay healthy, and stay active.

Happy Hunting!

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