Hobbies, leisure and health

This post highlights various comments on leisure, wellness, and health.

One of the most renowned authors in the field of leisure and health is the Finnish professor in the United States, SE Iso-Ahola. We will present some of his findings and views of him. Iso-Ahola is a defender of the psychological and physical benefits of leisure, based on his and other authors’ studies.

He points out that health is primarily conditioned by our lifestyle – much more than by genetic factors – and that the most controllable part of our lifestyle corresponds to leisure. He draws his attention to the fact that, even though people know the importance of physical exercise to take care of their health, a large percentage do not take advantage of their leisure time to do that much-needed exercise.

He is surprised that they argue the lack of time as the main reason since they can spend several hours in front of the television. He confirms that, in the work stage, people mainly use leisure time to rest and recover from work-related fatigue and stress. But he believes that psychology should be changed and free time should be used for more active physical and social attitudes. Motivation is essential, mainly based on children’s habits and learning. On the other hand, the circumstances of working life and current social behavior push the individual towards the passive use of leisure (being at home, watching TV, using the computer, etc…).

In addition to pointing out that the “activethe ” use of leisure, both in the form of physical exercise and with participatory and social activities (gardening, playing cards, going to shows, etc…), highlights its usefulness in combating exhaustion (“burnout,” in English) work, especially in very routine or very stressful jobs. He agrees with other authors, such as the one already mentioned in the previous post: Stebbins, in that leisure, is more beneficial the more we get involved in it in an “active” way.

Finally, he comments that active leisure also has risks, including the stress that the effort and time required for its practice can generate.

We have considered the work of Iso-Ahola in our Hobbies and Health section, considering that much of what refers to leisure is mainly applicable to hobbies as an essential part of it.


According to Iso-Ahola, leisure – and, we add, hobbies – should be used to carry out activities that can improve our health and physical and mental well-being.

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