Recreation or fun is the expenditure of time in a manner designed for therapeutic refreshment of one's
bodyor mind. While leisureis more likely a form of entertainmentor rest, recreation is active for the participant but in a refreshing and diverting manner. As people in the world's wealthier regions lead increasingly sedentary life styles, the need for recreation has increased. The rise of so called active vacations exemplifies this.
Some recreational activities are made illegal in many jurisdictions because of the perceived immorality of certain forms of "fun." These include
gambling, using drugs, some forms of sex, viewing or producing erotica/ pornography, and someforms of dancing (such as belly dance), or even all dancing (see " Footloose"). Often one form of an activity is viewed as immoral by a culture while other forms are viewed as acceptable. For example, certain forms of sexual activities such as bestialityare outlawed in some areas in which other sexual activities are accepted. Another example is recreational drug use. In most of the world, responsible alcohol consumption, a form of recreational drug use is legal and acceptable by most people's moral standards. This is probably because alcohol has traditionally been in wide use.cite web|url=http://www.ilo.org/encyclopedia/?doc&nd=857400241&nh=0|title=Alcohol and Drug Abuse|author=Sheila B. Blume|publisher="Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety"|accessdate=2007-06-18|quote=Customs that dictate alcohol use persist in other work too, such as the “three martini” business lunch, and the expectation that groups of workers will stop at the neighbourhood pub or tavern for a few convivial rounds of drinks at the end of the work day.] Nearly all drugs that traditionally have not been widely used in European culture have been deemed illegal in most of the world. It is disputed whether these prohibitions affect the usage rates for most drugs. However, in much of the Western world, decriminalization of so-called soft drugsis increasingly accepted.
A few individuals view recreation as largely non-productive, even trivial. Excessive recreation is not considered healthy, and may be labeled as
escapism. However, research has shown that recreation contributes to life satisfaction, quality of life, health and wellness, and that the use of recreation as a diversion may have clinical applications to individuals with chronic pain and other health impairments. In some cultures and religions, recreation is encouraged on certain days and discouraged on others. For example, in Judaism, the Shabbatis a day for recreation and relaxation; some Christian churches use the Sabbath. However, others interpret the Sabbath to be a day of worship, in lieu of recreation.
Recreation is essential to the longevity of human beings, especially because it helps counteract stress. According to research cited in "Time" magazine, stress is a major factor in many of the leading causes of death in the United States. [cite web|url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,950883,00.html?internalid=ACA|title=Stress: Can We Cope?|author=Claudia Wallis|date=1983-06-06|publisher="Time"|accessdate=2007-06-14]
Recreation can become an organized activity of
local governments and for-profit enterprises. Local governments often create parks boards and/or community centers. Growing interest and funding via grants and taxation can result in an official parks and recreation department, which provides venues and staffing for organised sports, at-risk-youth activities, arts and crafts, and senior citizenactivities. Several U.S. stategovernments operate recreation programs for their prisonpopulations. Though controversial, these programs are intended to provide inmates with constructive use of their time through access to music, hobbies, crafts and exercise equipment. Other possible benefits include reduced healthcare costs and a lower recidivismrate. Private organised recreation is usually focused on a specific type of sportsuch as river raftingor mountaineering.
Recreation as a career
Becoming a recreation specialist often requires a
bachelor of artsdegree in recreation management. A recreation specialist would be expected to meet the recreational needs of a community or assigned interest group. People with such degrees often work in parks and recreation centers in towns, on community projects and activities. Networking with instructors, budgeting, and evaluation of continuing programs are common job duties. Most U.S. states have a professional organization for continuing educationand certification in recreation management. The National Recreation and Park Associationadministers an examination called the CPRP (Certified Park and Recreation Professional) that is considered a national standard for professional recreation specialist practices. [cite web|url=http://www.nrpa.org/content/default.aspx?documentId=1070|title=CPRP Exam|publisher=National Recreation and Park Association|date=2007|accessdate=2007-06-14]
In recent years, more 'exciting' forms of recreation have received more attention in the public eye, such as:
skiing, snowboarding, bungee jumping, sky diving, hang gliding, paintball, rock climbing, backpacking, canyoning, caving, BASE jumping, adventure tourismand motorsport.
* [http://www.recreation.gov/ Recreation.gov website]
* [http://www.nrpa.org/ National Recreation and Park Association website]
* [http://www.wrpatoday.org/ Washington State Professional Recreation website]
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