Want to be healthier?Learn To ENJOY more.

A new study has confirmed what many people already knew: the more time spent doing different types of enjoyable activities, the better a person’s health tends to be.

leisureImagesThe study says taking time for leisure activities apart from the demands of work and other responsibilities helps people function better physically and mentally.

“People who are engaged in multiple enjoyable activities are better off physically and psychologically,” said study co-author Karen Matthews, Ph.D. She is a professor of psychiatry, epidemiology and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The study appears online in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine.

To reach the conclusion, 1,400 adults reported how often they participated in a variety of leisure activities, including spending time unwinding, visiting friends or family, going on vacation, going to clubs or religious activities or playing sports.

Adults with higher scores — indicating the most time spent in different leisure activities — had lower blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index and cortisol measurements, all markers of good health.

“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,” Matthews said.

People who spent more time doing diverse leisure activities also reported stronger and more diverse social networks, more feelings of satisfaction and engagement in their lives and lower levels of depression. Those who logged the most leisure time also slept better and exercised more consistently, the authors say.

Other studies have examined the link between specific activities, such as exercise, and improved physical and psychological health, but this is the first to show that the accumulation of multiple sources of enjoyable activity benefits health, Matthews said.

The study outcomes add to what we know about the connection between body and mind, said Kathy Richards, Ph.D., a registered nurse and professor of health promotion at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia.

“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,” Richards said.

Do you have leisure activities in your daily schedule? Have you already learned to be healthy?

Please share your experiences in the comments. Will give us all tips on how we can make our lives more enjoyable and healthy.

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15 thoughts on “Want to be healthier?Learn To ENJOY more.

  1. Great that we finally get an official study to support the mind to agree with what my heart already knows.
    If I look back on my life, what stands out are the loving memories and good times. What I harvest in my life is love and good times and so the more great times and love I harvest, the wealthier I am.
    So, my aim is now to NOT acculmulate assets by working hard and gathering material things, my aim is to create a long string of great moments and thus accumulate real wealth that matters.
    To live that way indeed feels a lot healthier and is definitely more fun.

  2. Hi Zeenat,
    I do try to be healthy and enjoy leisure activities. And I try to mix it up too. Some weeks are better than others. I’m happy, though, that I have taken the time to take care of my body – through regular exercise. Also though, getting out and just having fun – it adds so much to my quality of life!

    1. Lance..i read your interview on evolving being…couldn’t comment there cause the little one was all over the place that day…
      But for you especially being healthy has been such a blessing. It takes a lot of will power to lose weight and stay healthy …You are truly inspirational!

  3. BunnygotBlog

    I regularly run and do an exercise regiment 3 times a weeks. Daily meditate.
    I have stayed around the same weight for ten years. Exercise refreshes me body and mind. It give me a new prospective and rejuvenates me.

    1. Bunny love your suggestions. What luck you have been the same weight for 10 years..wow….i dont think i have ever been constant in the weight department:) See how much i need your suggestions…;)

  4. Hi…what an informative post. And yes, I do try to pursue a variety of leisure activities each day: reading, journaling, crafting, chatting with a neighbor or friend, and getting out to enjoy nature. I find all of these not only to reduce stress and boost peacefulness, but to inspire creativity!


  5. Zeenat,

    I have to say that most of my days are spent in leisurely activities. Partly because it is summer and partly because I am a relatively new free-spirited woman. Enjoying myself used to mean I would feel guilty. Now I feel guilty if I don’t enjoy myself.

    When the kids go back to school I may work a little more. Or not. 🙂

  6. Moving our muscles does feel joyful. Dancing. Walking. Bicycling. And just being in nature ( in the shade these days,) 🙂 brings me peace and a sense of well-being. Just standing near a tree makes my spirit soar.

    Like Jill I’m lucky to be a free spirit.

  7. Zeenat this is interesting and I suspect it is correct, but you have to be careful with most ‘studies’. Are the people who are are healthier more likely to participate in a wider range of activities because they are healthier or are they healthier because they are participating in a wider range of activities. I suspect it is both.

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