The leisure dilemma

BY: Kofi Akpabli
Recreational activitie can improve your physical wellness
Recreational activitie can improve your physical wellness

Your private health is a foundation for our common wealth.— Prof. Lade Wosomu

We have all said or heard that Ghanaians do not travel for leisure.

One basic reason is that as a people, we seem to see the concept of leisure as almost a sin.

To be free and not be doing anything ‘’productive’’? Lucky you! Actually, that reaction is putting it nicely.

In some instances it would be: ‘’How dare you?’’

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Due to this societal suspicion about leisure related activities such as wellness, camping, excursions and leisure tours are placed at the bottom of priorities or are avoided like the plague.

But to develop individually and as a nation, exploring our interests and hobbies and leisure options are necessary.

A young working Ghanaian who is saving towards, and planning to tour an unfamiliar part of Ghana should be commended by all.

A book I just finished reading, “Welcome to Wellness’’ by the revered surgeon/author Prof. Lade Wosornu, tasks corporate bosses and leaders to reward members of their team who undertake planned leisure and wellness activities.

As a teacher I am always around young people and when I engage them about their studies and career plans I always bring in the subject of hobbies.

Sometimes young people feel guilty about their leisure interests.

But truth is these interests when well-harnessed, could surpass the earning capacities that their career areas offer.

For tourism, the reality is that a person who is predisposed to leisure and recreation is more likely to engage in leisure travel or domestic tourism.


Physical benefits of recreation

Taking part in recreational activities, particularly outdoors, can improve your physical wellness.

In fact, people who frequently take advantage of park activities have fewer doctor visits, lower body mass indexes and lower systolic blood pressures than those who don't.

Health and wellness reports also highlight that outdoor recreation provides an excellent opportunity to increase exercise.

Needless to add that the availability of recreational facilities in a location impacts the amount of physical activity in which residents participate.

Leisure Lowers Stress and Depression

Mental wellness is an important part of our overall health and can impact your physical well-being.

Leisure provides us the chance to find balance in life; it also puts us in control of how we're spending our time, which is an important consideration because we may feel overwhelmed by obligations.

Taking part in leisure activities as a family is also beneficial for our children because we're modelling healthy ways to handle stress and emotion.

In fact, studies show that just thinking about past outdoor recreation experiences can improve mood.

Improve our quality of life

Finding balance is also a reason why leisure and recreation can enhance our quality of life. Physical recreation, in particular, is associated with improved self-esteem.

In addition, we're more likely to feel satisfied about our life when we regularly take part in recreation activities.

This has significant implications for our mental health and, in turn, our physical health.

Recreational therapy

All of these health benefits explain why recreational therapy can be such an essential part of a rehabilitation program.

This type of therapy involves using various recreation or leisure activities to enhance or promote wellness.

Some of these benefits include faster healing from medical conditions, addictions, stress management, improved body function and better cognitive function.

Outdoor recreation is enjoyable for men, women and children of all ages.

Performing physical exercise while outdoors provides a way to get outside and enjoy our natural surroundings.

Apart from breathing fresh air and discovering nature's many wonders, the outdoors provides various activities to keep us wanting to go back outside for more.

The benefits of outdoor recreation are endless and will help keep us and our family physically and mentally healthy.

For instance, participating in leisure sports and recreation provides kids to seniors with an opportunity to meet and build relationships with others.

Feel good factor

Leisure travel and physical activity helps reduce stress and prevents some cases of depression.

Exercise reduces anxiety, and consistent activity provides more relief for anxiety and depression.

Better self-esteem often results from consistent recreation, partially due to a decrease in stress and to the overall feeling of well-being that occurs from regular aerobic exercise.

Breathing fresh air in a natural, serene environment also helps many people to relax and reduce stress and anxiety.

So stretch your muscles out. Hit the road. Feel the sun on your face.