We all know that a little active recreation is good for our health. Whether it’s a game of golf or a swim in the pool, engaging in some physical activity that you enjoy can lead to definite health benefits. Surprisingly though, little scientific research has been done on this association between relaxation and good health — until now.
In recent health news, Japanese researchers conducted a nationwide survey. They wanted to accomplish two things: first, to obtain scientific data on the preferable forms of relaxation for health promotion; and, second, to clarify the associations between specific recreational activities and self-perceived mental and physical health.
In all, they selected 4,000 households from across Japan to receive a questionnaire. The research team asked the residents about their sleep patterns, recreation status, recreational activities, and self-perceived mental and physical health status.
A total of 1,224 adults responded. What were the biggest factors that were associated with poor mental and physical health? Insufficient rest from sleep, short sleep duration (less than six hours a day), ineffective use of free time, and less free time used for activities other than rest topped the list.
The researchers also found another interesting result from their data. Men, it seems, suffered from poor mental and physical health from lack of outings and/or walking more so than women. And women, on the other hand, suffered from poorer health due to a lack of participation in community activities.
The researchers recommend that relaxation for the promotion of health should include both so-called “passive relaxation” (rest) and “active relaxation” (recreation). In addition, getting enough sleep is important for engaging in outings/walking for men and community activities for women.
(To learn more about the benefits of walking, read The Faster You Walk, the Longer You Live?.)
So there you have it: a health tip in the form of some alternative health advice. Men — get out there and do some walking. And women — get involved in some community activities at your local community center. There are likely all sorts of diverse programs offered — from book clubs to water polo teams.