Role of recreation play and leisure in rehabilitation






Running Head: Role of Recreation, Play and Leisure in Rehabilitation










Role of Recreation, Play and Leisure in Rehabilitation


Recreation can be defined as participation in activities that are done for enjoyment and relaxation. Play is a component of recreation while leisure is the main purpose of recreation. In the modern world, people are said to be too busy such that there is little time left for leisure or recreation. On the other hand, rehabilitation can be defined as the process of restoring a person or something into good operational state (Wade, 2006). In this context, rehabilitation encompasses drug, correctional and clinical rehabilitation. Recent studies indicate that exercise, which is a core part of recreation, plays an integral role in accelerating the rehabilitation process in people with different problems. The purpose of this paper is to examine what role recreation, play and leisure plays in rehabilitation. Recreation, play and leisure play a positive role in rehabilitation.


            The first and most common form of rehabilitation is for people with physical injuries. This kind of rehabilitation is often referred to as clinical rehabilitation whereby a person is helped to regain their health by a physical therapist. This usually takes place in hospitals or private therapy clinics that specialize in physical therapy. The role played by clinical rehabilitation in regaining health is crucial. Nonetheless, research shows that participation in recreational activities improves the rate at which patients heal. This is especially so for recreational activities that involve outdoor physical activity, which depends on the patient’s physical ability (Kloseck, et al., 2001). This kind of recreation involves supervised exercises that have proved helpful to different people. People with injuries to the muscles are most likely to benefit by participating in outdoor recreational activities. Supervised rehabilitative exercise enhances the production of collagen in the body (Franceschini, et al., 2009). Collagen is abundant in the human body and helps in tissue, tendon and muscle reconstruction.

In quickening the healing process, recreational exercise activities help in enhancing blood circulation in the body. Subsequently, this enhances the delivery of oxygen to tissues in the body including the damaged tissues (Loy, et al., 2003). This is an important part of the healing process that remains dormant when a person does not participate in recreational activities. Secondly, recreational physical activities, put pressure on the damaged tissue thus direct the body on the formation of collagen and where it is needed most. Given the advantages of recreational activities in the reconstruction of tissues and muscles, it is important for a patient to understand the amount of exercise they need. This depends on the rehabilitation stage they are in and the advice of physical therapists. Additionally, it is important to note that too much strain on the injured areas can result in worsening of the conditions. Therefore, the patient and the physical therapist must consider the form and amount of exercise carefully.

Recreation, play and leisure also play an important role in mobilizing movement of different parts of the body. Recreational activities provide an avenue for people with mobility problems to enhance easier movements. Through exercise, people with joint problems make healing progress faster than those who are dormant. Exercise in this case must also be supervised, as joint injuries are sensitive. Additionally, patients who suffer from ailments that affect their sense of coordination, like polio and paralysis, can be helped through physiotherapy exercises to aid in muscle revitalization (Hutchinson, et al., 2006). The impact of recreational activities can only be felt when it is done on a consistent basis. Inconsistency can lead to pain in the muscles and joints and should be avoided. In this perspective, recreation and leisure plays a positive role in clinical rehabilitation.

Recreation, play and leisure also play an important role in boosting the immune system. Through outdoor physical activity, blood circulation is enhanced thus boosting the disease fighting capability of the body. For example, people suffering from cardiovascular diseases benefit from recreation activities, which strengthen the heart (Bender & Baglin, 2003). More importantly, recreational therapy helps to reduce blood pressure in patients suffering from different ailments. Play especially that which involves some strenuous physical activity helps to alleviate pain as the body focuses on the healing process. Additionally, through recreational therapy, people with disabilities can easily regain muscular strength with the help of recreational therapists. Recreation is also important in children with disabilities. When such children participate in healthy recreational activities, their athletic skills are improved. Recreational activities also improve balance and dexterity among people with injuries and disabilities (King, et al., 2003). As seen above, recreational therapy also enhances a person’s tolerance to the illness. Moreover, the body’s endurance capabilities are enhanced through recreation. In summary, the role of recreation, play and leisure on the physical rehabilitation of people with disabilities can be seen from the above analysis. It is important to note that the impact is majorly positive and in very rare cases negative.

Recreation, play and leisure activities are usually things that a person enjoys doing thus they also have psychological roles to play in rehabilitation. People who need rehabilitation therapy whether from physical, emotional or addiction problems are often faced by mental illnesses such as stress and depression. Therefore, as well as helping them heal physically, there is the need for psychological healing. First, recreation helps to improve people’s general perception of themselves (Dawes, 2008). Through recreation, play and leisure, persons with disabilities are able to change their attitudes towards disability. After several sessions with a recreational therapist, it is possible to note some changes in the way a person perceives his disability. For example, when a person’s motor skills are improved, they are able to participate in varied activities making them feel more successful. Additionally, through recreational activities, a person undergoing rehabilitation can find more activities that they are good at thus improving their self-esteem.

Recreation also plays an important role in enhancing the mental capabilities for people with mental illnesses. In addition to involving the physical part of the body, recreational activities also actively involve the brain. Therefore, it is important to understand the role that recreational activities play in enhancing brain activity. A person who consistently participates in enjoyable recreational activities is likely to have an enhanced form of mental awareness (Dawes, 2008). For children with learning disabilities, recreational activities enhance their learning capabilities and boost their concentration time span. Additionally, they can remember more things than those who do not participate in recreational activities. It is also notable that, recreational activities enhance the problem solving and decision making skills for people undergoing different kinds of rehabilitation. Children with disabilities benefit by having a more enhanced form of organizational skills. Through recreation, they also become more aware of things surrounding them and can relate to specific things. Subsequently, the positive impact of recreation on mental rehabilitation cannot be undermined.

Recreation also plays an important role in improving the social skills for people undergoing rehabilitation. In most cases, people with problems that need rehabilitation are also socially challenged. This often results in some kind of social isolation where a person spends most of his or her time indoors. Additionally, the social stigma that exists against people with disabilities and other problems usually results in their seclusion (“Harassment free,” 2002). Therefore, it is important to find ways to integrate them with other people in the society and enhance their social relational skills. Recreation, play and leisure provide an avenue through which a person can meet other people and build friendships. Additionally, a person can join recreational clubs that also act as support groups for people with disabilities. Additionally, in recreational therapy sessions, a person can meet other people with the same problems thus share issues that affect them (Lee, et al., 2001). Moreover, through recreation, people with different rehabilitation problems get to integrate easily with community resources.

In correctional rehabilitation, recreation also plays an important role in enhancing behavior change. This category of rehabilitation involves people with addiction problems and people in behavior correction facilities. Recreational activities help people focus on different issues apart from the addiction (Hutchinson, et al., 2006). By giving them something to focus on, persons being rehabilitated from addiction acquire enhanced time management skills. Recreation distracts them from the addiction and provides an avenue for them to release stress. Additionally, people dealing with anger management problems benefit from participating in recreational activities as they avert one’s attention from the actions that provoke them to the fury. In behavior correction facilities, recreation is used to alleviate frustration this improving self-esteem. The role of recreation in addiction and behavior rehabilitation facilities is therefore generally used to enhance and fasten behavior change.


From the above discussion, it is evident that recreation, play and leisure play an important role in recreation. In clinical rehabilitation, recreation improves the body’s immune system and helps to quicken the healing process. Through recreation, a person’s cognitive and motor skills are improved. Additionally, recreation enhances behavior change in addiction and correctional facilities. For individuals suffering from temporal disabilities caused by ailments or accidents, recreation activities in form of sports and other physical exercises aid in the recovery process. In conclusion, the discussion has identified the various benefits attached to recreation, play and leisure within the rehabilitation process and they should therefore be supported causes for the enhancement of health welfare.






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