“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” is quite a well known proverb. And true to its word, a person may require some time off from their daily schedule to indulge in fun activities and refresh themselves.
On similar lines a new study has been conducted which shows that taking out some leisure time from one’s daily routine may aid an individual in functioning better both mentally and physically. This observation was made by Karen Matthews, PhD, professor of psychiatry, epidemiology and psychology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and others.
Matthews says that, “People who are engaged in multiple enjoyable activities are better off physically and psychologically.”
These experts were noted to have analyzed around 1,400 adults, for the purpose of the study. These subjects were notably asked about their frequency of participating in leisurely activities, like taking vacations, visiting family members or friends, clubs, playing sports, etc.
It was observed that the people who spent more time participating in various leisure activities seemed to have a better and healthier being. More precisely they were noted to have lower waist circumference, blood pressure, cortisol measurements and body mass index.
Matthews explains, “When one is under stress, the usual thing is to cut back on enjoyable activities because you’re feeling uncomfortable and you need more time to deal with the stress. But these data suggest that is the wrong thing to do and that continuing enjoyable activities you do can be helpful.”
Apart from this, it was also observed that the people who allotted more time to leisurely activities reported of having a stronger and more diverse social network, low levels of depression, and a greater feeling of engagement and satisfaction in their private lives. These people allegedly also seemed to have better sleep and greater exercise consistency.
“Although the amount of leisure time each person needs is highly individual, we all need to monitor our own bodies and stress levels and participate in leisure activities to have happy, healthy and productive lives,” says Kathy Richards, PhD, a registered nurse and professor of health promotion at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia.
Seemingly, previous studies had mainly assessed the association between indulging in certain activities like exercise, and its effect on the mental and physical health. However, the newly conducted study is believed to be the first of its kind to have demonstrated that the accumulation of a number of leisurely activities seems to benefit the over-all health.
The study has been presented online in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine.