Importance of Leisure
Leisure can be looked at in different angles, but the best way that we can look at it is that leisure is a period which one can spend away from the demand of work. Every human being has some duty that they do carry out, and they need sometime off to release themselves from the stress of the work. In the religious context, it has been argued that if God rested on the seventh day, why can’t human being also have sometime off duty? After hustling with work for quite sometime, it is logical that a person should get some time to re-energise, and relax their bodies (Al Gini, 2006). This will play a significant role to help them perform their duties well again. However, at some instances, those going for leisure time might feel guilty when they look at what other important things they would have done rather than engaging in leisure time. At such instances, leisure is viewed as unproductive time that has been wasted rather than doing productive work. This kind of ideology is what puts people at an awkward situation that they constantly work through out without thinking of taking time off, and without being ashamed of what they are doing. However, when looked at a different perspective, leisure time provides very important benefits to both the individual and the society in general.
There are several ways in which people can use their free time-attending outdoor meetings, having entertainments, or even just having time to relax the body and mind without doing anything. During leisure, people can as well get a chance to enter in to social activities either with their friends or family members. It is common to find many people nowadays unable to secure sometime to relax and relieve themselves from the stress they undergo especially at work. Leisure time varies between different people, depending on issues like age, sex, marital and social statuses (Blackshaw, 2003).
Those people who are considered to be hard workers are viewed to have a very important asset, but it has to be well balanced with leisure. It is however worth to note that a planned leisure can bring out the best results. Every mature person is expected to be very productive at their place of work, organise their homes well, and be in a position to manage their time well. Those who are able to do all these are considered to be responsible persons. However, there are instances when a person is faced with fatigue and stress that they become less productive, or are not able to manage their time well. In such a situation, a person cannot be considered to be irresponsible, but it is when a person highly deserves to have leisure time to bring everything to normal.
Recreation time is very important to both the physically challenged and the normal people. It is also a very important aspect to both the children as it is to the adults. In different societies, leisure time has been considered to be a very integral aspect in the development of the young people both psychological, cognitive, and physically (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/wpayleisure.htm.). Leisure activities have been successfully applied in different societies in controlling the youths in engaging in activities such as drug abuse and other social misfit behaviours. Therefore, leisure activities can be well used to develop the youths both physically, emotionally, and improve their intellectual capacity. However, it is has to be carefully planned and executed so that it does not lead to the cases which will see the youths being segregated in undertaking other activities in the society.
Many youths all over the world and especially in the developing and low developed countries are faced by many challenges which mostly surround education and employment. These challenges contribute so much on how the youths will end up using their free time (Koshar, 2002). Some youths in such situations have been known to engage their free time in sporting activities. Sports play a significant role in the lives of the youths. Apart from contributing in the physical health of a person, sports are very vital in creating self awareness among the youth. Furthermore, as they participate in the sports, they are able to develop skills that are very important in the society, such as team work, and being able to tolerate others within the team. Sports have been known to bring together many people all over the world, putting aside their differences, be it political, social or religious differences. This can be nurtured from an early stage of the youth, who will grow viewing the other as a sporting partner and not one from another country, race, religion or political affiliation.
Health wise, sporting activities makes a person to be very strong and less prone to injuries. Sporting activities have been highly recommended as a way of reducing the many escalating costs of medication, as the society is feeling constrained in the medical provision of its citizens. Therefore, a good health can be maintained by undertaking sporting activities. It is thus true to argue that apart from physical exercises, leisure is also very important medical wise (Glover, & Hemingway, 2005). Regular exercises have been found to be very important in helping the physiology of an individual. This is more so because with continuous practices, the serum cholesterol in the body of a person are generally reduced, and in the end, such problems as hypertension are reduced. Regular exercises have also been recommended for the reduction of the problems that are associated with the spinal (http://www.academyofleisuresciences.org/alswp7.html.) This kind of exercises also helps to strengthen the bones of the children. In general, practice and exercises comes with a lot of health benefits that can nurture wellness. Even though most of these benefits can not be attributed directly to the leisure activities, it is during leisure activities that most people do get to practice. Furthermore, it is a prerequisite of many recreation activities that exercises have to be undertaken.
Many people have used leisure time to get psychological relaxation (Bell, Greene, Fisher, & Baum, 2005). This is especially among people who feel a lot of anxiety and tension. When a person is very anxious, it is not possible to be productive at whatever they are doing and it thus calls for leisure time to release such tension, and in the end, life will be improved. It is not possible for a person to constantly be in a stressed situation, as this can lead to medical complications, hence there is need to take some time off to get leisure time so that the stress can be relieved. Hence rather than struggling too hard in a stressed environment, one needs to take some time off, relax and remove the pressure put on by the work, and this will later translate into being very productive. Hence, it is important to note that it is not only a matter of relaxing to release stress so that we are more productive, but this can highly prevent the stress disorder which is not good to the human health at all. We can say that these benefits can as well be found from the fact that during leisure time, there is increased stress management. In the end, apart from being beneficial in contributing to increased productive performance at work place, it also increases the means of social interactions among the people (Philipp, 1999).
In general, it is more beneficial to the individual when they are healthy, but again looking at it critically, the health of a person is very important to the society, although it is also not easy to ascertain its importance. Healthy people are generally more productive, and will not need to take their stresses on others. It is thus very imprudent to any person to argue against the importance of the social benefit of a healthy person.
Most of these leisure benefits transforms on an individual. However, the importance of leisure can be very beneficial to the society at large. One way in which the society can benefit is economical gain. Most of leisure activities are accompanied by spending money. This means that the society will benefit economically, in which it will be a benefit to both parties. Tourism is a perfect example of leisure that is constantly benefiting both the tourists and the society (Tribe, 2005). Tourism has created many employment opportunities in different parts of the world. Many people and governments have gained foreign exchange that is coming either directly or indirectly from the tourism industry. It has also been found out that leisure increases productivity among employees in many organizations, while decreasing absenteeism (http://www.calvin.edu/academic/engl/holberg/leisure/cd/sben.htm.).
In many areas, the youths have taken up sporting as a means of their income generating activities. This is a very important venture, since apart from enabling the athletes to get a source of income from their talents; it has played a significant role in reducing the cases of drug and substance use in the society. In many sporting activities, there are stringent anti-doping measures that have been put forth. This ensures that the youths who want to be world class athletes will avoid the use of drugs at all costs, since it might end up destroying their careers completely.
In many instances, leisure has been taken as a benefit to the individual person undertaking the leisure activity alone. However, in essence, as a person receives some gain from the leisure activities, they do come in contact with others, and in that manner, those who are in contact with them gains in one way or another, hence ending up being of benefit to the whole society in general. In fact when looked at it critically, the benefit that comes from leisure activities are more beneficial to the society than to an individual, but it is something that is not widely appreciated (Bright, 2000).
Through leisure activities, especially those that involve socialisation, many communities have been able to maintain their cultural values that are considered to be very important, and needs to be passed on the next generation (Shaull, & Gramann, 1998). Furthermore, through leisure activities, it is easy to maintain ethnic identity of different societies. In doing this, it will be possible and easy for the society to identify and meet the needs of some special people in the society, such as the physically challenged, elderly and the poor. Through socialisation, families can be able to strengthen their family bondage and cohesion (Maynard, & Kleiber, 2005). This is very important especially in this current society where many parents do not even have time to spent with their children due to being involved in a lot of office work hence letting their children to interact mostly with the use of the technology which again has many negative impacts, such as interacting with pornographic materials which many people cannot avoid their children to access. Another important aspect of social benefit that comes with leisure is continued education that is passed from one person or group to another during the socialisation events.
Many benefits of leisure time, be it to the individual or to the society, they have been taken in form of economic, physiological and psychological well being. However, it is important to note that the other important benefit of leisure can be environmental. By setting aside the recreation areas and facilities, it can play a significant role in preserving the natural environment and cultural areas. It is a norm that in most cases, the money colleted from those visiting the recreation sites has been used in the preservation and conservation of these areas. Most of these social benefits that come with the recreation areas have been somehow recognised and appreciated.
Despite the importance of leisure activities especially among the youth, there are many different factors that can contribute to how the youths will use their free time. There is increasing rate of unemployment among the youth all over the world (Havitz, Samdahl & Morden, 2004). This has forced many of the youths to use their free time to look on the ways in which they can be able to improve their skills that will put them on better chances of getting employment. In such cases, the youths might view leisure time as a waste of time which they would have used to improve their skills, or even would have looked for a way to get some extra money to take them to higher education that would guarantee them improved chances of getting employment. There have been many cases of reduced members in recreation areas such as the sporting associations because many youths are engaged with school-to-work activities. The many youths who do not participate in leisure activities are entangled in very competitive jobs that do not give them time to participate in such activities, but they do prefer to look for more networks that can guarantee them better job opportunities (Hibbler & Shinew, 2002).
With the introduction of the technology and especially the use of the internet, many leisure activities were affected, not only to the youths but to the entire population. Where people used to go for social events, this has been much replaced with online communication and meetings. The use of the internet and cell phones has made the youths change so much on the leisure activities, especially in the socialisation areas. In essence, the use of internet and cell phones has to a greater extended replaced the sporting activities.
In conclusion, we have to agree that no matter which way leisure is taken, it is a very important venture that has to be observed in the society, and more so due to healthy wise. This is because even those who are involved in these activities for the sake of making money, they end up improving their health which makes them even more productive.
Al Gini (2006): The Importance of Being Lazy; In Praise of Play, Leisure, and Vacations; ISBN 0415978696, Taylor & Francis.
Bell P.A, Greene T, Fisher J.D, & Baum A.S (2005): Environmental Psychology; ISBN 0805860886, Routledge,
Benefits of Leisure, retrieved on 5th September 2008 from http://www.calvin.edu/academic/engl/holberg/leisure/cd/sben.htm
Blackshaw T (2003): Leisure Life; ISBN 0415270723, Routledge, 2003
Bright A.D (2000): The Role of Social Marketing in Leisure and Recreation Management
Journal of Leisure Research, Vol. 32,
Glover, T.D & Hemingway, J.L (2005): Locating Leisure in the Social Capital Literature
Journal of Leisure Research, Vol. 37,
Havitz M. E, Samdahl D.M & Morden P.A (2004): The Diverse Worlds of Unemployed Adults: Consequences for Leisure, Lifestyle, and Well-being; ISBN 0889204640, Wilfrid Laurier University Press,
Hibbler D.K, & Shinew K.J (2002): Interracial Couples’ Experience of Leisure: A Social Network Approach, Journal of Leisure Research, Vol. 34,
Koshar R. (2002): Histories of Leisure; New York, Berg,
Leisure-time activities, retrieved on 5th September 2008 from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/wpayleisure.htm
Maynard, S.S. & Kleiber D. A (2005): Using Leisure Services to Build Social Capital in Later Life: Classical Traditions, Contemporary Realities, and Emerging Possibilities, Journal of Leisure Research, Vol. 37,
Philipp S.F (1999): Are We Welcome? African American Racial Acceptance in Leisure Activities and the Importance Given to Children’s Leisure, Journal of Leisure Research, Vol. 31,
Shaull S.L, & Gramann J.H (1998): The Effect of Cultural Assimilation on the Importance of Family-Related and Nature-Related Recreation among Hispanic Americans, Journal of Leisure Research, Vol. 30,
The Benefits of Leisure retrieved on 5th September 2008 from http://www.academyofleisuresciences.org/alswp7.html.
Tribe J (2005): The Economics of Recreation, Leisure and Tourism; ISBN 0750661801, Butterworth-Heinemann,