Recreation and Leisure Time

Recreation is basically an activity of leisure, meaning discretionary non-commercial time that does not necessarily require investment. People generally think of recreational activities in terms of sports, hobbies, exercise, etc., but recreation can also be a vital part of everyday life. The “joy of doing something” is a fundamental component of human psychology and nature. Many activities are done simply for fun, entertainment, or relaxation and are therefore considered “pleasurable”. These activities include watching television, reading, eating, socializing, cooking, gardening, and other forms of interactive physical activity.

In addition to the many types of recreational activities that people may choose to engage in on a daily basis, recreation also includes such things as travel, hobbies, and physical education. Almost everyone enjoys some form of recreational activity, and most people participate in at least some type of recreational activity at least several times a week. Some recreation centers provide services that include movie rentals, fitness instruction, daycare, and other special activities. Day care centers are another source of recreational activity, as well as many types of fitness centers and sports clubs.

Some research indicates that recreation and leisure time are now used by more Americans than sleep and other “task-related” activities combined. This trend is especially true in economically and demographically disadvantaged communities where many people spend much or all of their free time. In these communities, members of the lower economic class are even more likely to report that they do not have much leisure time, and that they are less happy with their lives than their better-off peers. The availability of free time is particularly pronounced among low-income families in the United States and around the world, and this trend shows no sign of abating despite globalization, technological unemployment, and rapid changes in the type of jobs that are available and the types of families that adopt them.

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