How a Little Recreation Can Benefit You in Life

Bill Abbate

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Don't you just love the word recreation? When I hear it, I think about vacations, relaxing, being at peace, and so many other good thoughts. Face it, many of us could use some serious downtime, couldn't we? Then there is the current pandemic. I know of more than one person who is experiencing cabin fever from being so restricted because of the virus.

My wife and I have had to cancel two cruises so far due to the pandemic and can't wait until things return to normal, where at least we are allowed to travel more easily without fear of catching something. We could definitely use some good R&R about now.

Are you familiar with the term R&R? I first heard it when we lived in Hawaii. This was back around the middle of the 20-year Vietnam War. At the time, Soldiers would come to Honolulu for a few days of "R&R," as the military put it.

"People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness." John Wanamaker

Originally a military term, R&R is short for rest and recuperation or rest and relaxation. It can also represent rest and rehabilitation, or my favorite, rest and recreation. Why is the last my favorite, you ask? Because of the word recreation.

Re - creation

The word recreation contains the word creation, a word I hold dear. I love the thought of how God made us in His image. Since He is the ultimate creator, and we are made in His image, we too are creators. Being a creator is part of what makes us human. Everywhere you look is something someone has created. What you are reading this article on, whether paper or a screen, was created. In fact, everything we touch in our lives is a creation of either God or man.

To be re-created means something in us is created again. In the case of recreation, we are renewed and restored in our mind and body. What is not to like about that!

Did you know the human body largely re-creates every cell every seven to fifteen years!

This means my body has undergone being mostly re-created quite a few times now, although not in an exact replication, obviously!

"If bread is the first necessity of life, recreation is a close second." Edward Bellamy

Rest and recreation

Before discussing what recreation can do for you, let's get clear on the definition of the two terms represented in R&R– rest and recreation.

Everyone is familiar with the term rest – to cease work or activity, to essentially be inactive. A couch potato comes to mind. So does lying in bed, sleeping, sunning on the beach, and anything else that does not require exertion.

Recreation is very different and involves activity. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as:

Recreation 1. activity done for enjoyment when one is not working. 2. the action or process of creating something again.

Since so much recreation takes place outside, it is commonly referred to as outdoor recreation, and that is why so many states refer to their parks as parks and recreation departments. Yes, the political satire mockumentary sitcom Parks and Recreation comes to mind as well!

How good is recreation for you? Pretty good! Let's look at it from a pure recreational viewpoint, including both indoor and outdoor recreational activities. A few of the benefits provided by regular recreation include:

  • Improved physical and mental health leading to longer life
  • Lower body fat, cholesterol, blood pressure, with a lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Better managing stress and improving quality of life
  • Strengthening families and important relationships
  • Renewing, refreshing, and rejuvenating the mind and body
  • Fostering higher performance at work and in life
  • Improved spiritual, emotional, and social health

Outdoor recreational activities can also help fight cabin fever and can renew your attitude about life.

"He that will make good use of any part of his life must allow a large part of it to recreation." John Locke

Final words

It makes sense to make room in your life for something with so many amazing benefits, don't you agree? I want to challenge you with a question – What do you want to do about it?

Why not make a plan with the family or with friends to take advantage of some type of recreation once a month, or even once a week? Imagine the goodwill it will foster in your family or with your friends. It is a true win-win for everyone involved, and you deserve it, after all!

I leave you with a final piece of wisdom in the following quote:

"Recreation's purpose is not to kill time, but to make life, not to keep a person occupied, but to keep them refreshed; not to offer an escape from life, but to provide a discovery of life." Anonymous

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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