It’s no secret that being healthy is so much more than staying physically fit. While exercise is certainly part of the equation, we also need to consider aspects of our health such as the mental and even the spiritual. What’s the point of having 6-pack abs or being able to run a 6-minute mile if you consistently feel unhappy?
Most of us already know this. We hear it all the time and understand it intellectually – the benefits of meditation, the importance of finding a workout that energizes you, etc. – but have trouble putting these tips into our daily practice. Balancing a full-time job with a consistent workout routine is challenging enough . Add healthy eating, a fulfilling social life, and a meditation practice to the mix – while we know is good for us – can seem like a daunting or even impossible task.
Hunting isn’t typically the first thing that comes to mind when we think about taking a holistic approach to our health. But it may be something for you to consider.
#1 – Hunting gets us outside which has a multitude of health benefits
Our ancient ancestors literally spent their entire lives outside. We’re wired to be outside, which intuitively makes sense. Increasingly, scientific research is backing what we intuitively know about the benefits of spending time outside.
Hunting is an activity that takes place in nature. It gives us a reason to get outside. In doing so, the health benefits become self-evident. For example, we start to notice stress levels decrease, divergent thinking increase, and may even notice decreased inflammation.
#2 – When you hunt for your meat, you know the source of it
In the United States, the state of the food industry is one of big business. Businesses want to turn a profit so it makes sense they take a large-scale, mechanized approach in order to achieve economies of scale. While commoditized food production – especially meat production – can mean cheaper prices at the grocery store for us as consumers, our health can pay a larger price by consuming things like additives and growth hormones.
If you hunt your own meat, you know it’s source – nature. And you have the confidence that the animal was killed in a humane way. While this may seem like a lot of work as compared to going to a grocery store, remember that hunting is about a holistic approach to health and not just the end result. Also, when you hunt for your own meat you have the opportunity to try new types of animals, such as duck meat, that aren’t commonly available in grocery stores.
#3 – We’re social animals and hunting builds community
Having a strong network of friends with shared interests is immensely important to overall health. So many of us default to doing the easy thing socially – getting drinks and eating out with people we may get along with but not truly enjoy their presence, be energized by it.
The communities around hunting are strong. Because it’s such a unique hobby, those who do it love it for a myriad of reasons. It’s a reason to get outside and bond with others over the shared beauty of the natural world. That’s one reason that for so many hunters an annual hunting trip is the highlight of their year – a vacation in the great outdoors to spend time with dear friends doing something everyone loves.