- Regular fishermen are 17% less likely to suffer from depression or anxiety, study finds
It’s an ancient pastime made even more popular by the hit television series starring Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse.
Now, new British research shows that the relaxing pastime enjoyed by the couple in Gone Fishing is the perfect boost for men’s mental health.
Scientists from three UK universities questioned more than 1,700 men about their hobbies and lifestyle and found that regular fishermen were 17 percent less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
Experts believe the benefits are due to the physical effort involved in fishing, as well as regular exposure to so-called “blue space” such as rivers and lakes, which has been shown to improve psychological well-being.
An estimated 1.25 million people in the UK enjoy spending hours on the banks of rivers and lakes pursuing their hobby of fishing.
Regular fishermen have been found to be 17 per cent less likely to suffer from depression or anxiety, according to new research. Pictured: A fisherman fly fishing in Scotland.
Experts believe the benefits are due to the physical effort involved in fishing, as well as regular exposure to so-called “blue space” such as rivers and lakes, which has been shown to improve psychological well-being. Pictured: A man fishing for trout in North Wales.
The Environment Agency says there has been an increase in fishing since the pandemic as people look to spend more time in nature, with freshwater rod license sales up 16 per cent.
Psychologists from the University of Ulster, Queen’s University Belfast and Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge questioned more than 1,700 men about their lifestyles, hobbies and mental health history.
The results, published in the journal Epidemiologia, showed that those who frequently enjoyed an angling spot were significantly less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety or self-harm. The more time they spent on it, the lower the risk.
Previous studies have found that angling can relieve stress and make people more sociable.
In a report on the findings, the researchers said: “Exposure to blue spaces can improve mental health and well-being.” “A significant way to do this is through recreational fishing.”
BBC figures show almost 2 million viewers tune in to watch each episode of Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, which returned to screens for a sixth series on BBC2 earlier this month.
The series shows the two comedians fishing side by side, enjoying each other’s company while immersed in nature. The experience is said to have helped both men after treatment for heart problems.