Many studies support the fact that participation in leisure activities – particularly active and outdoor recreation – results in lower systolic blood pressure, fewer doctor visits and other improvements in physical well-being. With participation in active recreation you are also likely to experience increased lung capacity and muscle tone, development of motor skills, improved flexibility and increased levels of confidence.
Emotional and mental wellness is an important part of overall health and can also impact physical well-being. Participation in leisure activities provides a chance to find balance in one’s life. It also puts you in control of how you are spending your time, which can be especially important for people feeling overwhelmed by obligations. Leisure activity promotes a sense of reduced tension and increased feelings of relaxation.
Reduced Feelings of Depression and Isolation
Regular participation in leisure activities reduces depression. Even thinking about past recreation experiences can improve one’s mood. Leisure activities also present opportunities for social interaction, support, and making new friends, as well as chances for self-expression and creativity.
Improved Quality of Life
Physical exertion, learning a new skill, or experiencing success represent some of the reasons that participation in leisure activity is associated with an improved sense of self-esteem. In addition, participation in activities of one’s own choosing that are connected with interests often leaves participants feeling more satisfied with life than those who do not regularly participate in leisure activities. If leisure time activities include volunteering such as with an adaptive recreation or senior program, or working as a youth sports coach, you are likely to experience a variety of benefits yourself as well as helping others experience them – doubling the benefits for everyone involved!
More information available at these websites:
The National Recreation and Park Association
The Minnesota Recreation and Park Association
Children and Nature Network
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention