When it comes to aging, longevity shouldn’t be the only goal. So should excellent quality of life. That’s why experts recommend older adults continue paying attention to their mental health, nutrition, and physical activity.
Fortunately, for seniors who don’t enjoy going to the gym or even jogging, they can consider a more laid-back, fun, but equally beneficial activity: fishing.
Here’s how fishing can keep older adults healthy:
1. Fishing Is an Excellent Exercise
Doctors suggest that seniors 65 years old and above should get not less than 2.5 hours of moderate cardiovascular exercise each week. That’s about 30 minutes a day. If they want to save time, they can perform a vigorous exercise for 75 minutes for the whole week.
How does fishing fit into this? Often, sites or grounds are miles away from urban areas and in nature parks, beaches, and rivers. This can encourage older adults to walk, which is a low-impact exercise.
It can engage the heart muscles, but it is gentle on the joints. Walking is a fantastic workout for those who already suffer from arthritis.
The activity can also exercise different muscle groups. When casting a reel, the person is already using the muscles and joints on the hands, forearms, and shoulders.
If they’re ocean fishing, where they’re likely to catch big fish, they can also engage the back, particularly the lower area. This helps seniors maintain their muscles and prevent atrophy.
Moreover, fishing can improve an older person’s gait, which is essential in reducing the risk of falling or developing fractures later on.
Fishing may be challenging for those with musculoskeletal issues that may be affecting their hands. Exercise can help improve their function and reduce further complications.
But they can also get support from newer-generation pieces of equipment like Daiwa coastal spinning reels. They are easier to grip and are more comfortable to use.
2. Fish Is Healthy
Fish is one of the excellent sources of protein, which is one of the major food groups seniors need in their diet. This helps prevent sarcopenia, which leads to a loss in muscles and their function and strength.
The recommended dietary allowance depends on the person’s body weight and age. In general, a person above 18 has to consume around 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (g/kg).
However, seniors may need to eat more. Some studies show that aging may make the body less responsive to amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.
Those already showing signs of muscle wasting may have to increase their protein intake to at least 1.2 g/kg but no more than 1.5 g/kg. Otherwise, protein may have to be between 30% and 35% of a senior’s daily calorie intake.
Fish is an excellent source of protein. An ounce of cod or halibut, for example, can already contain 18 grams of protein. Three ounces of salmon have 17 grams of pure protein. Although older adults can eat other protein sources like red meat, fish is low fat and oftentimes cheap.
Further, fish can also provide omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing anti-inflammatory reactions. It may also slow down the progression of osteoarthritis, according to the 2011 research of the University of Bristol.
Omega-3 fatty acids also promote brain health. They may decrease the risk of cognitive decline.
3. It May Reduce Feelings of Loneliness
The 2017 data from Statista showed that at least 20% of seniors in the United States experienced depression—a much higher percentage compared to that of other developed nations. These individuals are also more likely to incur higher healthcare costs than non-depressed older adults.
Depression is a serious mood disorder that may require professional help, but certain activities may help lessen the symptoms. For example, fishing may ease loneliness.
It can be a group activity. Seniors can invite their friends or use it as a bonding time with their children and grandchildren. Those traveling alone can sign up on group tours and give themselves a chance to meet new friends.
Some experts say that fishing is a meditative activity, so it helps calm the mind from overthinking and worry.
Moreover, it encourages older adults to commune with nature. Studies have already shown that being surrounded by trees and natural bodies of water can decrease stress levels and promote relaxation.
Aging is a major risk factor for a variety of chronic diseases, but it doesn’t mean these conditions are already guaranteed. Older adults can still do a lot of things to keep themselves fit and healthy throughout their sunset years.
Fishing is one of them. Even better, it’s fun!