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Date Added: January 23, 2008 11:30:39 PM

The term recreation has originated from the Latin word “recreation”, which refers to refreshment, restoration, or recovery. Since it carries a contextual relevance and is complex in nature, so it carries different implications in terms of culture, time and place. That is the reason why many definitions have been credited to it. Principally, the term recreation revolves around the reinstatement in terms of body, mind, or spirit.



In the contemporary context, there are few elements which are considered to be intrinsic to recreation. A concept impelled by an internal feeling to indulge in certain activities which are chosen voluntarily and depends on one's interests, outlook and tastes to bring variety and refreshment in one’s life. Recreation keeps imbibing new meaning and immensity as it ranges between including activities and leisure. While leisure is directed more towards relaxation and rest, recreation is more activity based and is meant to revitalize and entertain. In today’s sedentary life, recreation has attained a special relevance and importance.


Recreation Activities


Many activities may be considered recreational like Conversing, Eating and drinking, Hobbies, Hunting and fishing, Playing games, Reading a book, Sexual behavior, Shopping, Kite flying, Sports and exercise, Travel and tourism, Martial arts, Yoga, Using the Internet, Visiting an amusement park , Recreational drug usage, by itself and in combination with the many of the above. In recent years, more 'exciting' forms of recreation have received more attention in the public eye. Some of these activities include skiing, snowboarding, bungee jumping; sky diving, hang gliding, paint balling, rock climbing, backpacking, caving, BASE jumping, and adventure tourism.


Apart from these outdoor activities, indoor activities are also a part of the recreation. These activities can be undertaken at one’s home comfort and include swimming, volleyball, table tennis, squash, badminton and football. For such indoor recreation there are well established clubs that have well equipped facilities and professionally qualified trained staff.


However some recreational activities are considered to be illegal because of the immoral impact attached with them. These include activities like gambling, substance abuse, some forms of sex, viewing or producing pornography, and some forms of dancing. However this can be better understood in cultural context as often one form of an activity is viewed as immoral by a culture while other forms are viewed as acceptable. For example, certain forms of sexual activities have been outlawed in certain regions while other forms of sex are acceptable. Another example is recreational drug use. In most of the world, conscientious alcohol consumption is legal and acceptable by the moral standards. In much of the Western world, decriminalization of so-called soft drugs is increasingly accepted.


Timings for Recreation


The choice of hours for recreation is restricted for the students by the school hours. For the employees it is controlled by the requirements of, and agreements with, the employer and for people with their own business are also restricted by the requirements of the work, such as the opening hours of the business. The weekend and holidays are common time for recreation, though recreation may take place at virtually any time. Recreation commonly occurs during an individual's discretionary or free time.


Impacts of Recreation:


Some individuals view recreation as largely non-productive and unimportant. Excessive recreation is not considered healthy, and may be labeled as diversion. However, research has shown that recreation contributes to life satisfaction, quality of life, health and wellness, and has even the therapeutic impact like in case of certain cases of chronic pain and other health impairments. Recreation and active living helps people live longer, adding up to two years to life expectancy. According to research cited in Time magazine, stress is a major factor in many of the leading causes of death in the United States.


Individual Advantages of Recreation


We can site the benefits of recreation from other points of view. At personal level, it is meant for relaxation or adding to thrill to life and also enhances self-sufficiency, mental health, and life-satisfaction. Society also benefits as ‘Recreation’ is often the catalyst that builds ‘strong, self-sufficient communities’ and leads to improvement in public health, gives support to social pride, and unity among the people. It may strengthen family structures, decrease crime, and enhance rehabilitation of individuals. Outdoor recreation props up environment protection, tourism and also plays an important educational role.


Social Advantages of Recreation


Recreation and tourism are often accompanied by extensive damage to the environment. Edward Abbey, an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies among others, has condemned industrial tourism to destroy wild areas and animal habitats. Aquatic ecosystems have also been affected badly by the increased tourist trade and the consequential building of hotel accommodations, sewage disposal works, roads, car parks and landing jetties on banks and coastlines, increased angling, swimming, water skiing, shooting or use of motor-boats in the water body. These all produce direct deadly effects including shore damage, chemical changes in the water, and sediments and biological changes in the flora and fauna.


Recreation is a growing business which facilitates creating jobs and strengthening the economic vitality. In 2001 American consumers spent $100 billion on recreation and leisure activities. In 2001, more than 80 million Americans age 16 or older enjoyed some sort of recreation related to wildlife like fishing, hunting, bird watching, or wildlife photography.


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