I had a slightly non-traditional upbringing. I grew up in a
place where a trip to the grocery store was a full day-long event
and the closest mall was an hour and thirty-two minutes away
without traffic. We had only two seasons, summer and cold fronts,
which attributed to a frigid 70-degree January. There was
only one road with a single lane going north and a single lane
going south, which coincidentally was the only thing that connected
us to the continental United States. Yep, you got it, I grew up in
the Florida Keys. And I know what you're thinking--yes, people do
actually live there.
Growing up in the middle of nowhere meant you had to learn
pretty quickly how to take advantage of your surroundings, and this
includes using your surroundings for health purposes. Fishing was
how we spent every nice day from an early age. When kids got to a
certain age, they started going out with their friends instead of
their parents, similar to how teenagers from other areas of the
country went to the movies. Aside from being just a fun way to
spend the day, a fishing trip is sort of like a metaphor for a
First off, fresh fish is supremely healthy, and you can't get
any fresher variety than what you can pull out of the water
yourself. According to Dariush Mozaffarian, a researcher for
Harvard University and the Brigham and Women's Hospital,
fish or fish oil intake reduces total mortality by 17 percent.
The benefit is mainly attributed to omega-3 fatty acids.
prevent the risk of coronary heart disease by 36 percent.
protect against brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease,
depression, ADHD, dementia, and all other types of mental
- Aid in the neurological development of children. Contrary to
popular belief, this latter correlation is so strong that some
pregnant women need to be eating more fish, not avoiding it.
I'll go ahead and note that high-mercury-content fish like tuna
should still be avoided
- Help prevent cancer, particularly skin, breast,
prostate cancer. You'll find fish as a staple of any
Fish also have a high concentration of other vital nutrients.
But, in case those tidbits weren't enough to convince you to go
find Nemo, did you know fishing is a great workout? I absolutely
despise the gym. I find it boring and smelly. However, fishing can
be a great way to get in some true exercise. It allows you to spend
an entire day (or night) outside in the fresh air. In addition, it
allows for quick bursts of rapid exercise whenever you hear the
words "fish on!" This exercise targets your arms, legs, abs, back,
and everything else. It is a true full-body workout. With the ample
time for resting, it allows your body to recuperate between
exertions and therefore push yourself harder when needed. The goal
of knowing you will have a tangible reward for this effort further
enhances this ability and produces greater results. Crossfit? Yeah,
that's never going to happen for me. But I will reel in a fish that
weighs more than I do (even if I can't actually pick it up once I
get it to the boat… see photo documentation).
Over the years, I became somewhat of a fisherwoman. Check out
page 57 of the November issue of Florida Sportsman
magazine for verification (that is shameless
However, this past summer I moved to Maryland, approximately
1,714 miles away from my hometown and hours away from the nearest
beach. The last time I ate fish, it came off the back of a truck
that parked outside of my office building during lunch. I may not
be able to get out onto the water as much as I'd like to, but if
you have the time, patience, and access to a boat, it's one of the
best things you can do for your health.