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Recreation and Leisure

Why This Is Important

Leisure can provide people with numerous meaningful life experiences. People may pursue their leisure interests to extend their social contacts, broaden their leisure participation, increase their community involvement, or enhance knowledge and skills. For many individuals, satisfaction with ones leisure means satisfaction with life. Leisure encompasses many kinds of activities. Leisure may include hobbies, creative arts, sports, games, social activities, or outdoor recreation and adventure. Religious observances and volunteer work are also considered leisure time activities. Recreational activities may be individual or group, informal or structured, physically active or passive, spontaneous or planned, and take place at home or in the community. No matter which activities are preferred, they are always personally relevant and freely chosen by the individual. People may derive many benefits from leisure participation in all domains related to physical, social, cognitive, and emotional well-being. Recreation participation can lead to physical benefits through increased health, fitness, strength, endurance, and coordination. Through recreation, people have opportunities to meet other people, develop socialization and interpersonal skills, and make friends. Participation in recreation can help people feel more connected to their communities as they interact with others and regularly participate in community events. Through recreation, one may relax and refresh oneself. People can also experience a greater sense of autonomy, independence, and self-esteem as they participate successfully and gain skills in activities of their own choosing. In sum, recreation participation contributes to ones overall quality of life and personal sense of well-being. Meaningful participation in leisure activities is a lifetime pursuit and recreation skills and attitudes, like other life skills, need to be taught. The products in the Leisure and Recreation Store provide model programs, books, and other resources that encourage healthy lifestyles through recreation participation.

This web site is maintained by the Research and Training Center on Community Living with support from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, the Human Services Research Institute and the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. E-mail weste050@umn.edu.
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