All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy,” it makes him an unhealthy one, U.S. researchers suggest.
Leisure expert Dr. E. Christine Moll of Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., says play is as important to one’s health as keeping cholesterol levels in check and getting regular exercise.
“When was the last time you did something just for fun or just for the health of it?” Moll asked in a statement. “If your answer is ‘I read a book a year ago,’ then you need to do more.”
Moll defines leisure as anything that brings personal enjoyment and allows for recharging one’s batteries, but that does not include watching a child play sports.
“That is an aspect of parenting, not leisure,” Canisius researcher Summer M. Reiner says in a statement. “Parents need to develop their own leisure interests.”
Reiner examined the role leisure plays through life and the findings show that people who nurture leisure activities throughout their lives have a much healthier outlook physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and in their sense of selves.
In addition, the findings published in Counseling Today, show children who actively participate in leisure activities tend to grow into confident, active and satisfied adults.
Leisure can include anything from a crossword puzzle to a pickup game of basketball, but the activity must be freely chosen; provide satisfaction and adventure; arouse interest; require a commitment; serve as a sense of separation or escape and, most important, be pleasurable, Moll says.
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