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March Madness

Every year over 10 million Americans are captivated by the excitement of March Madness. The sheer number of teams, the pace of the games, the intriguing matchups, and the friendly wagering that always accompany the NCAA men’s basketball tournament make it one of the best sporting events ever created.

After a season of winter doldrums, we need March, a month of transition, to recapture our focus and lift our spirits amidst the challenges that surround our daily lives. It may not seem obvious but simply taking your mind off of a stressful situation can provide significant mental health benefits, and research supports this. A healthy distraction appears to be helpful in regulating emotions not only with anxiety-related disorders, such as with PTSD, but with depression and even acute and chronic pain.

Healthy distraction can make us better. This is a big part of why I enjoy fly fishing as much as I do. The focus required to fool a trout helps clear my mind of the problems in my world. The pursuit of fly fishing provides a positive distraction that produces positive feelings, holding my attention without stressing me out, thereby blocking worried thoughts and anxiety. For more information and to see the body of research supporting the health benefits of the outdoors, check out Colorado Outdoor RX.

Every year over 4.5 million Americans are captivated by the excitement of fly fishing. The sheer number of locations and opportunities, the pace of the pursuit, the intriguing and scenic landscapes, and the friendly banter that always accompanies a trip to a favorite fishing spot makes fly fishing one of the most engaging activities ever created.

So, take social distancing to heart. Jump in your car and get some distance away from the stresses that weigh down your day. Find a glittering stream that holds a captivating prize to focus your attention and distract you for a moment. It’s a literal and figurative breath of fresh air that will improve your health in more ways than one.

David Leinweber
Owner, Angler’s Covey, Pikes Peak Outfitter, Colorado Tackle Pro
Chairman, Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance
Board Member, Pikes Peak Trout Unlimited
Steering Committee, Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation OEDIT
Steering Committee, Coalition for Outdoor Access

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