In today’s hustle and bustle climate, we tend to get caught up in the “rush to arrive.” There seems to always be something we must do, a place we must be or something we are running late for. Sure, there is the company social; the not-often-enough get-together with family/friends; or the restless vacation getaway (You know the one: where you come back more tired than rejuvenated). Lost in this routine shuffle of to and fro is the time that individuals take to just simply enjoy themselves.We have convinced ourselves that we do not have time for recreation. Allow me a moment to put aside any misconceptions of the often-implied meaning of recreation. Recreation does not insinuate that you must go out and adopt a mind-set to exercise to the point of super fitness (while we can all benefit from being healthier), nor does it guarantee some return to athletic prowess that we may have demonstrated so long ago. One of the many definitions of recreation is a pastime, diversion, exercise or other resource affording relaxation and enjoyment; another states that it is the act of creating anew. If we as individuals chose to apply either of these definitions to the rushed routine of our lives, then we would happen upon a fountain of youth that would serve to restore and refresh our spirits in ways too numerous to count. There are the obvious physical benefits of recreation, such as a reduction of obesity, diminished risk of chronic disease (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.), a boost to your immune system and an increase in life expectancy. However, we seldom realize that recreational endeavors help to reduce depression and relieve stress. Recreation also improves the overall quality of life by aiding in promoting positive self-esteem and continual personal and spiritual growth. It also increases one’s own general satisfaction with his/her life. In addition, recreation provides many civic benefits, such as strengthening communities by encouraging volunteerism, promoting good stewardship and reducing crime. Moreover, recreation serves as a conduit for cultural diversity and acceptance, unites families and deters negative behavior of our youth. With so many far reaching benefits, it becomes a no-brainer that we should all actively seek to incorporate recreation in our daily routines. For some it could present itself in the form of a leisurely stroll along one Mecklenburg County’s beautiful greenways, a peppy little bike excursion around your neighborhood or a casual get-together with friends for cards or board games. For others, it could be a weekly pick-up basketball game at your neighborhood rec center or a round or two of golf at one of the local courses nearby. The point is that the possibilities are endless, the benefits priceless. So, let’s embrace the healthier, happier you – which hides in all of us – by taking time and making time to recreate!
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