The concept of leisure varies across cultures and history. It raises various questions depending on individuals' point of view which results in several ideas and unique historical perspectives. A historian will view leisure very differently from people in the modern industrialized society. Medieval peasants and artisans viewed leisure as the freedom from the burden of having to toil to earn daily meals. In the current 21st century, the philosophical concept of leisure is understood as the quality of personal experience or precisely the perception of having the freedom to choose activities to undertake during free time. Free time is used sparingly to mean the time spent away from routine jobs which may include activities such as domestic chores, school work, business and both formal and informal employment. Leisure is, therefore, a significant part of the human life since it accords the sense of control, freedom, creativity and the feeling of daily achievement.
The importance of leisure to individuals is principally dependent on the activities one participates in during the leisure time. Some of the events that most people prefer during leisure include but are not limited to hiking, skiing, park activities, outdoor and socializing, adventure and outings, gardening and handwork, art and craft, sports and games, music and other related forms of entertainment. The typical benefits of leisure activities encompass improvement of the quality of life, lowering cases of stress and depression and also physical benefits associated with therapeutic recreation (Paggi, Jopp & Hertzog, 2016). Apart from therapeutic leisure benefits, the rest of the benefits are derived from enjoying free time and are not the primary purpose for participating in the leisure activities.
Free time activities have been strongly associated with the tendency of stress reduction and lower cases of depression. Mental relaxation is a significant section of the overall human health, and it plays an indisputable role in the physical strength of any individual (Mata-Codesal, Peperkamp, & Tiesler, 2015). Involvement in recreational activities by creating time for leisure in daily schedule assists in the proper management of stress and also in lowering depression. Leisure provides the opportunity for individuals to have a balanced life and to have a given level of control of time spent. Control of time is very crucial since it saves you from overwhelming obligations. Involving a whole family in leisure activities is also essential since it helps in modelling cheap, beneficial and healthy ways of controlling stress and emotions especially to the children. It is possible to improve mood by just flashing back to past moment involving outdoor recreations.
Leisure is also part of having a quality life. The element of attaining a balance in life is a reason enough to categorize leisure and associated recreational activities as part of enhancing the quality of life. Mainly, participating in physical recreation is related to improving an individual's self-esteem. Regular participation in recreational activities such as sports or even hiking gives one a feeling of satisfaction in life which is associated with relaxation. The overall benefit is its impact on the general mental and physical health. In a recreational coalition study conducted in America in 2000 indicated that an approximate 90 percent of candidates were contented with their fitness and health.
Other principal benefits associated with leisure are those derived from recreational therapy. Recreational therapy has been applied broadly in most rehabilitation programs. The method of treatment is aligned towards involving a variety of recreational activities to improve on wellness. Some of the most common benefits achieved by residents and patients in healthcare facilities include improved cognitive skills, physical skills, emotional well-being and a decrease in behavioural problems. Cognitive skills will involve the ability to follow simple instructions and enhance communication skills and decision-making opportunities. Physical capabilities include high endurance and improved mobility, strength, and flexibility. With the several benefits from leisure, it is appropriate for every individual to create some time from routine activities and enjoy a little bit of recreation.
The guiding principle for professionals in leisure and recreational services and programs is that education is the backbone for the development and improvement of the quality of life of any individual (Page & Townsend, 2017). It, therefore, means that any scholar who gets involved in the study of leisure and recreational programs should be entitled to the best and relevant educational program. It is also a general belief in the profession that all education programs and facilities associated with the leisure profession should be designed so that students graduating are endowed with the best qualities to serve the community. Individuals in the profession can impact the community and the profession by addressing questions related to the quality of life, leisure habits and the overall health and fitness in the society.
Recreation and leisure programs should be oriented towards achieving the principal objective of providing the most appropriate teaching and learning conditions. Achieving the goal will result in graduates who competent and fully backed to impact the broad industry of leisure and recreational services positively. Every professional in the industry is tasked with the obligation of taking the front line in creating awareness and advocating for the benefits and importance of leisure activities in the society (Page & Townsend, 2017). The campaign for leisure in the community must incorporate the typical roles such as enhancement of life quality through leading an active life, associated improved mental and physical health and the overall wellbeing.
Leisure is closely related to the natural environment. As a professional in the leisure field, one has to advocate for the preservation of the environment. Most leisure activities such as water sports, hiking, park walking, and nature walks are enjoyable in a beautiful environment (Paggi, Jopp & Hertzog, 2016). It, therefore, means that sustainable exploitation of the environment that conserves the aesthetic value and its natural state is significant. Educating the society on the importance of conserving the environment by minimizing both water and air pollution is a very strategic step to take. It will also assist in ensuring that the future generations have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of nature if sustainability is put into consideration. The concept of leisure should therefore not be limited to the benefits to humans, but it also should consider the source of leisure.
The broad concept of leisure and related recreational activities is therefore based on the philosophy of enjoying free time from routine work. Leisure provides individuals with several benefits that should not be ignored. Health is vital in leaving quality life, and that is what leisure presents us. Physical fitness and of proper mental relaxation is essential for an individual in carrying out day to day activities in life, and that is a plus to leisure. The guiding principles for professionals in the leisure industry should be upheld to ensure that the community and the profession are improved. The conservation of the beautiful environment should never be neglected for people to continue enjoying leisure time.
Mata-Codesal, D., Peperkamp, E., & Tiesler, N. C. (2015). Migration, migrants and leisure: meaningful leisure?.
Page, J., & Townsend, J. (2017). The Role of Recreation and Recreational Therapists in Developing a Recovery-Oriented Identity for People with Substance Use Disorders. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 1-17.
Paggi, M. E., Jopp, D., & Hertzog, C. (2016). The importance of leisure activities in the relationship between physical health and well-being in a life span sample. Gerontology, 62(4), 450-458.
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