Fishing and lockdown: Is fishing exercise?

Fishing is thought of as a good form of exercise for those who are under lockdown. Britons are only permitted to leave their homes on four conditions until at least May 7 due to the coronavirus outbreak, with exercise being one. But is fishing good exercise?

In March, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled new rules in the bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The following three new measures came into force on Monday evening:

  • People must remain at home except for four “very limited” reasons
  • All non-essential shops and community spaces must be closed
  • All gatherings of more than two people in public stopped



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All citizens are required to adhere to these new restrictions with relevant authorities being empowered to punish those who flout these rules.

In terms of remaining at home, the Prime Minister has said people can only leave their house in the following four circumstances:

  • To shop for basic supplies, such as food and medicine
  • To exercise, just once a day
  • For medical need or to provide care to someone else
  • To travel to and from work

Is fishing good exercise?

Fishing is said to be a rewarding sport which can be exciting and relaxing at the same time.

For the adept angler to the weekend hobbyist, it is seen as an effective means by which to improve your mental and physical wellbeing.

Fishing keeps you fit by exercising your main muscle groups, heart and lungs.

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To increase your exercise you should choose a fishing spot roughly a 10 to 15 minute walk from your car to boost your aerobic exercise.

Setting up your fishing gear, casting off and then winding in hundreds of small fish calls requires strength.

If you find a larger fish such as a pike or carp, this will require even more strength, engaging your shoulders, back, arms, core and legs.

On average, you burn roughly 200 calories per hour when fishing.

In particular, your arms get a workout during activities such as casting, rowing and climbing which work the small and large muscles in your hands, wrists, forearms, upper arms and shoulders.

You should ensure to use the correct posture when wading because it will help to strengthen your lower back muscles, while fighting fish and casting will improve your upper back and shoulder muscles.

Fishing works your core by making you work to stay upright against the force of water which tightens against your abdominal muscles as you fight for balance.

Additionally, walking across rocks can help build on your core.

Your legs will improve as you walk to your fishing spot as well as when you negotiate strong currents and balance on slippery stones.

Fishing is also deemed good exercise for your mental health and wellbeing.

Speaking to The Metro, psychologists Mark Wheeler and Nick Cooper promoted angling as an effective way of reducing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

They found one fishing excursion can reduce symptoms of PTSD among veterans by 30 percent.

Several anglers praise the sport for boosting their happiness and relieving their stress.

Can you still go fishing during lockdown?

There is no specific government guidance as to whether you are or are not permitted to go fishing.

Some believe it may count as exercise, however the Countryside Alliance has advised against fishing during lockdown.

The Countryside Alliance’s website reads: “The efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 have intensified, with the country now in lockdown.

“The Government have published a list of very specific guidelines about who and when it is acceptable to leave your home. However, there are currently no specific guidelines regarding fishing at the moment.

“While it is tempting to imagine sitting out Covid-19 by isolating on a river bank or pond, we are advising against this.

“Fighting a global pandemic requires a concerted effort by the entire nation. Going fishing means travelling to a destination, which is non-essential travel and forbidden.

“There is also a higher risk of coming into contact with others, either when travelling or while fishing, than there would be if you remained at home.”

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