The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Recreation is the employment of time in a non-profitable way, in many ways also a therapeutic refreshment of one's body or mind. Recreation is often distinguished from leisure. Where leisure is, or ought to be, restful, recreation is refreshing and diverting. As we lead more and more sedentary life styles , the need for recreation has grown. The rise of so called active vacations exemplify this.

The difficulty in distinguishing between mere recreation ("fun") and leisure is made quite pointedly in the epigram of Danish poet, Piet Hein:

Taking fun as simply fun

And earnestness in earnest

Showest how thou none

Of the two descernest.

This epigram warns of snobbish disregard for popular amusements. It is from one of several volumes of short epigrams which Piet Hein called "Grooks", which are either doggerel verse or superb epigrams depending upon the taste and discernment of the reader.

Recreation, play and fun are not the preserve of humans; nearly all creatures indulge in this to some extent. Play is essential for the development of skills, the most basic of which are motor skills in young creatures.

The weekend is typically a time for recreation, perhaps (in Judeo-Christian and Muslim cultures) because the Sabbath falls on the weekend and the Sabbath is "the day of rest." Holidays are also a common time for recreation.

Traditionally music and dance serve as recreation in many cultures, as do sports, hobbies, games and tourism. Watching TV and listening to music are common forms of recreation, or rather leisure.

Many activities may be functional and/or recreational:

In recent years, more 'exciting' forms of recreation include: skiing, snowboarding, bungee jumping, sky diving, hang gliding, paint balling, rock climbing, backpacking, canyoning, caving, BASE jumping, adventure tourism.
Some people enjoy forms of recreation that are considered immoral by others, for example drug use, gambling, nudism and some forms of sex. Also some people believe that there are restrictions in time for certain forms of recreation, e.g. not on Sunday, sabbath or during Ramadan.

Since it is viewed as largely non-productive, even trivial, excessive recreation is not considered healthy, and may be labelled as escapism.

See also

Last updated: 10-25-2005 16:30:02
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