Text size:

Sheltering Arms Blog

The health benefits of leisure time

Posted on: February 2, 2018 by Marna Bunger

By Alison Clarke, Director of Community Recreation

Leisure is unobligated time or “free time.” It is an attitude or emotional state of mind that creates a positive experience and contributes to overall wellness.

When physical or emotional challenges occur, activities once enjoyed are often not considered critical. As a result of decreased activity, depression and isolation can diminish overall quality of life. This is where a Recreational Therapist steps in to provide education, resources, opportunities for leisure participation, adaptive equipment, modification and exploration of functional activities.

The benefits of leisure activities include:
– Restores sense of normalcy and purpose
– Reduces depression
– Decreases loneliness
– Improves overall life satisfaction by increasing socialization, relaxation, laughter, and socialization

Re-engaging in an activity, learning a new leisure skill, or modifying an activity when a physical limitation is involved can seem challenging. Here are some easy steps for getting started and maintaining an active leisure lifestyle:

1. Make a contract with yourself to commit to this change

a. List four activities you least enjoy.
b. List four activities you enjoy doing
c. List four reasons why you aren’t doing what you like to do.
d. Find three things you can do to manage your leisure time better, circle one, and start doing it tomorrow.

2. Set leisure time as a priority.

3. Keep a weekly time account of “unobligated time” and schedule leisure activities.

4. Understand what motivates you to participate in activities. Who do you want to do it?

5. Modify or change the activity, if necessary, with support from a recreation therapist.

6. Find a “leisure buddy” to motivate you.

Sheltering Arms provides a comprehensive portfolio of recreation and health and wellness services. From adaptive golf clinics, accessible travel programs, personal training services, and fitness memberships, we have something to ensure you stay engaged in life. For more information about therapeutic recreation, or to schedule a one-on-one consultation, call 804-764-1000.