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British ColonisationIn the 18th century it was the aristocrats and the rich that had time for leisure or recreational activities such as horseback riding, golfing, garden games like croquet, or indoor games such as dancing or chess. Fast forward in time and riding and golf may still be considered an expensive activity but is now more accessible for the general population. More and more leisure and recreational activities are available, with some less physical like darts and bowling, to the physical, such as running, cycling and other element and weather orientated activities such as kite surfing, skiing, canyoning. A daytime hike is among one of the most popular choices among outdoor enthusiasts for which Mauritius without a doubt offers plenty of opportunities for.

Unfortunately, in an age of technology people are less active during their leisure time and considering other changes to our habits such as eating fast food, drinking and staring at a electronic screen, our health is being affected with an increase in obesity, diabetes, heart and vascular disease to mention some. However, if you were to incorporate physical activity into your leisure and recreational activities, it would be an ideal way to maintain better physical health, as well as address your mental wellness.

Physical Benefits of Recreation

Taking part in recreational activities, particularly outdoors, can improve your physical wellness. Some experts recommend a person should participate in 20 minutes of physical activity daily - that is less than 2 ½ hours a week!! It is a fact that people who frequently take advantage of park activities have fewer doctor visits, lower body mass indexes and lower systolic blood pressures than those who do not. In the USA a State Parks report highlights that outdoor recreation provides an excellent opportunity to increase exercise. And it cites a 2001 study revealing that the availability of recreational facilities in a location impacts the amount of physical activity in which residents participate.

The Government of Mauritius, have over the past years invested in recreational or wellness parks, in addition to running paths throughout the island. There may not be one close to your residence, and if not then consider researching if there is one on your way home from work. Or consider nature that is all around you such as the beach and forest. The latter is even better as you have a more peaceful environment and you may well make some special observations of the flora and fauna.

Leisure Lowers Stress and Depression

Mental wellness is an important part of the overall health of humans and it impacts the physical well-being. Participating in leisure and recreational activities can help you better manage stress and reduce depression. Leisure also provides a chance to find balance in your life.

You may well feel or think you do not have time especially, if you have a family and feel overwhelmed by obligations. Allocating time for leisure activities places you in control of how you are spending your time, and taking part in leisure activities as a family is also beneficial for your kids because you are modelling healthy ways to handle stress and emotions. In reference to the State Parks report mentioned earlier, participating in leisure activities regularly reduces depression, as it can improve your mood in a positive way.

Improve Your Quality of Life

Leisure activities play a very important role in subjective well-being because they provide opportunities to fulfil life goals and meet your needs. Finding the balance in one’s life is also a reason why leisure and recreation can enhance your quality of life. Physical recreation, in particular, is associated with improved self-esteem.

Through participation in leisure activities you can build social relationships, feel positive emotions, acquire additional skills and knowledge, and therefore improve your quality of life. The bottom line is that recreational activities have significant implications for your mental health and, in turn, your physical health.