fly-fishing is good for you

Neurobiologists Say Fly-Fishing is Good for You

Fly-Fishing is Good for You by Robert Deen

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that fly-fishing is good for you. Or it does it?

The Harvard Medical School’s Department of Neurobiology recently published an article that compared fly-fishing to yoga in its ability to relax the brain and combat the ill effects of every day stress.

“What is it about this so-called quiet sport, with its incantation of rod and fly, river, and nature, a sport of both stealth and strategy, that helps to lessen stress and calm the brain?” asked the article the Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute Letter.

Herbert Benson, Mind Body Medicine Professor at Harvard Medical School, says humankind has learned over millennia how to turn off stress by “breaking the train of everyday thinking.”

Fly-Fishing is Good for You

“What better example of this than fly-fishing,” says Benson, “with the repetitive back-and-forth motion of the rod and line and fly? You’re focusing on where that fly is going to land on the water and that breaks the train of everyday thought.”

The negative physical impacts of day-to-day stress in modern society are well documented.  More recently scientists have identified the so-called “relaxation response” — the purposeful initiation of a physical state of deep rest, one that changes a person’s physical and emotional responses to stress. When practiced, the relaxation response slows down breathing rate, relaxes muscles, and reduces blood pressure.

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