No matter how much you are engrossed in your daily schedule of going to your school/work and coming back home carrying the burden of the pressures from the outside world, there comes a point in each and everyone’s life when the body and mind needs a break from the daily responsibilities and pressures of life! I needn’t explain the amount of stress and related health issues that the demanding lifestyle of today imposes on each and everyone of us. With so many deadlines to complete and bills to pay, who can even think of taking out time to spend on some leisure activities? Right? I mean one would rather focus on doing some pending job or sleep at home, rather than arranging to go out and waste one’s time doing ‘non-productive’ activities.
If that is what you think, then you need to understand how you are depriving yourself from living a healthy and happy life.
Health Benefits of Leisure and Recreation
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! This saying is definitely based on the fact that almost each and every person is suffering from, or is under the risk of developing health and mental conditions due to stress and pressure. According to the National Health Interview Survey, 75% of the population suffers from stress in every two weeks. This means that getting involved in leisure activities once in a year is not sufficient to refresh your mind and reduce stress. You need to get involved in leisure activities at least once in a week… this is why we have weekends, remember! Even God wants you to take a break and relax quite often! Have a look at the health benefits of leisure activities in children and adults mentioned below and give yourself a chance to breathe and relax.
Physical Health Benefits of Leisure
We all would agree to the fact that getting involved in leisure and recreational activities acts as a stress buster, right? With the absence of leisure activities in one’s life, the prolonged existence of stress also triggers various physical health complications like heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and so on. Mentioned below are some key points on how leisure can prove to be beneficial to physical health.
✦ Reduces Obesity
Desk jobs that adults do, or absence of physical activities for children can lead to obesity, which itself is linked to various health issues. So, instead of joining a gym, spend some ‘fun’ time in activities like hiking, camping, skiing, and swimming to shed those extra kilos.
✦ Reduces Risk Factors of Chronic Diseases
As mentioned earlier, a combination of stress and obesity can lead you under the risk zone of various chronic diseases like diabetes, heart problems, blood pressure, Osteoporosis and even cancer! Because engaging in recreational activities reduces the risk factors like stress and obesity, it also reduces the chances of developing these diseases.
✦ Strengthens Your Immune System
Research reveals that people who are more physically active tend to have reduced stress levels in their body and mind. They are less likely to fall ill and have reduced medical expenses and hospital stays as compared to a person who is physically inactive.
✦ Increases Life Expectancy
Who doesn’t want to live a long, healthy, and happy life? And it is possible only when one tends to bring about a balance in work and play and focuses on spending some quality time in doing both. A balanced lifestyle is the only key to a healthy and prosperous living.
Mental Health Benefits of Leisure
Both mental and physical health, is interrelated to each other! If you are at a mental equilibrium, you will also be able to achieve a physical equilibrium. We have already discussed the physical health benefits of leisure activities, now let us have a look at the mental aspect of it.
✦ Reduces Stress Levels
Too much of pressure and load leads to stress. So, what should one do to relieve stress? Take off the pressure from your mind which is possible by relaxing yourself through some leisure activities. Enjoy the summers by swimming, taking a sunbath, or go camping with friends and family over the weekend. All this will definitely help you reduce your stress levels and rejuvenate your mind.
✦ Minimizing the Chances of Depression
Most of the people suffering from depression have led themselves under this condition due to too much pressure from either work or family conditions. With you allowing your mind to relax, calm down, and rejuvenate often, there are less chances that you would suffer from mental conditions like anxiety and depression.
✦ Increases Self-esteem
Most of the people following a monotonous schedule in their daily life, and dealing with pressures, unrealistic expectations and load of work and responsibilities at the same time, tend to develop a low self-esteem, which is the first step towards getting into depression. With leisure and recreational activities giving you a chance to end the monotony of life and explore the ‘fun’ and ‘relaxing’ aspects of it, you will find an increase in your self-esteem.
✦ Increases the Enthusiasm of Living Life
With all the aforementioned benefits of leisure activities, you will eventually see yourself living your life with a lot of enthusiasm. Of course, there will be work pressures, family responsibilities and the never ending expectations and demands, but taking a ‘break’ will definitely give you an enthusiasm of living life to the fullest!