An assessment of undergraduate students’ perception on the importance of recreation and leisure to healthful living

Complete Chapter One


This research work was carried out to investigate the perception of undergraduate students of the importance of recreation and leisure to healthful living.
Recreation provides unique opportunities for both individual differentiation and aesthetic creativity. It goes beyond the activities engaged in during our leisure times, but the positive effects of the activities on the individuals; both physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. It is therefore, a means to an end and an end itself.
It is observed that most undergraduate students hardly involve themselves in recreational activities, therefore, the research work also intends to find out their reason(s) for not utilizing their free time for recreational activities.
There are 5 research questions formulated. The research instrument used was the questionnaire to collect information from the students. The data collected were analyzed and interpreted. The research findings show that most students are not ignorant of the importance of recreation to healthful living, but do not utilize their leisure for recreational activities because of an overburdening of academic activities that creates much anxiety for them to cover their course outlines.
Based on these, recommendations were made to lecturers, university authority and the society at large.

Title page i
Certification ii
Dedication iii
Acknowledgement iv
Abstract v
Table of Contents vii
1.1 Background of the Study 1
1.2 Background of the Area Studying 7
1.3 Statement of Problem 8
1.4 Purpose of Study 8
1.5 Significance of Study 9
1.6 Research Questions 10
1.7 Delimitation of the Study 10
1.8 Limitation of the Study 11
1.9 Definition of Terms 11
Meaning of Recreation 13
Concept of Leisure 16
Historical Perspective of Recreation and Leisure 18
Importance of Recreation 19
Concepts of Healthful Living 23
Selecting Recreational Activities 28
Who needs recreation? 30
Relationship of Recreation to maintaining
Good health 33
2.9 Wise use of Leisure time 34
2.10 Summary of Review on Related Literature 36
3.1 Design of Study 37
Population 38
Sample and Sampling Techniques 38
Instrumentation 38
Validity of Instrument 39
Reliability of Instrument 40
Method of Data Collection 40
Data Analysis 41
4.1 Treatments of Problem 42
4.2 Discussion 51
5.1 Summary 55
5.2 Findings 58
5.3 Conclusion 59
5.4 Recommendation 60
Bibliography 62
Appendix 64


Ideally, recreation is a bulwark of democracy, because in leisure-time pursuits, it is possible for a person to choose his activity as a free individual. Leisure time activity is more frequently accomplished within a brief span of time.
Generally, one can engage in many different sorts of leisure activities, according to inclination and occasion. In this realm, the individual is his own master; he is free to determine the use of his time as he wills.
The values to be realized in recreation are not the same as in other forms of conduct. The values of personal uniqueness and individual variability are particularly central in the life of leisure. Recreation thus provides unique opportunities for both individual differentiation and esthetic creativity.
According to Gray (1971), recreation is an emotional function within an individual human being that flows from a feeling of well being and satisfaction. It is characterized by feeling of mastery, achievement, exhilaration, acceptance, success, personal worth and pleasure. It reinforces a positive self image. Recreation is a response to aesthetic experience, achievement of personal goals or positive feedback from others.
What Gray (1971) was saying is that recreation goes beyond the activities engaged in during our leisure times but the effects of the activities thus engaged in. The contribution of recreation are the life activities that comprises all of our hours not spent in work and other routine responsibilities.
Charles Butcher (1975) defines recreation as “that field of endeavour concerned with those socially acceptable and worthwhile activities in which a person voluntarily participates during leisure hours and through which he or she may better develop physically, mentally, emotionally and socially”.
It is important to note that certain forms of recreation contribute to emotional stability by affording rest, relaxation and creative activity. Others give tone to the body by a healthful stimulation of the nerve centres. These values of recreation apply to both children and adults.
Miller and Burt (1972:271) contend that people who do not exercise are more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease, diabetes, duodenal ulcer and low back pains than active person who do exercises.
Robert B. Salter (1970) asserts that “there is no specific therapeutic drug available (as yet) that will accelerate the normal healing of injured musculoskeletal tissues, or that will make a weak muscle stronger, a lax ligament tighter, a stiff joint mobile or a deformed bone straight as exercise activities”.
Medical experts and authorities agrees to the importance of exercise to human development by testifying that big muscle activity stimulates growth and is essential for the growing child and that athletics and sports contribute to the proper development of the vital organs.
Recreation, therefore, should be regarded as both a means to an end and an end in itself. In which case, both the process and product of recreation experiences are recognized.
In view of the aforementioned importance of recreation and leisure to healthful living, it is observed that most undergraduate students hardly involve themselves in recreational activities like excursion, games, etc which involves condition within an individual that flows from a feeling of well being and self satisfaction, characterized by feelings of mastery and achievement.
In the aspect of musical concert, it has aesthetic values but not all students avail themselves of the opportunity to be involved in musical concert which is part of recreational activities. Music is believed to harmonize the soul while it provides means of individual expression or emotional outlet and therefore is an important recreational activity.
The researcher attributes these negative perceptions of students towards recreation, to the problems associated with the country’s rapid changes in the social, industrial, economic and political life of the people including parents. Also, in the university setting, there is the over burdening of school curriculums with the most diverse conglomeration of subjects, to the detriment of the “basic” intellectual studies. And with the limited share of students’ time, to the rapid expansion of knowledge and technical skill required for effective living in the modern age, can they (students) afford to spend time on recreation, which is believed that he/she either does not need or can get outside of school after graduation.
In the light of this situation, the researcher intends to carry out investigation of the perception of undergraduate students using the University of Benin.
The area of study – University of Benin was founded in 1973 as a School of Technology, which metamorphosed from Midwest Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). From its genesis, the university had nine (9) Faculties which includes Faculty of Engineering, College of Medicine, Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Law, etc, with a designated population of about sixty four thousand (64,000) students from across the Nigeria. The university also has about five (5) hostels with estimated population of eleven thousand (11,000) students of both sexes – male and females as occupants.

The perception of undergraduate students towards the importance of recreation and leisure to healthful living is a joint responsibility of the students, lecturers, the school authority and the country at large because of the rear involvement of students in recreational activities.
At the end, the researcher will proffer solution to the negative attitude towards recreational activities by the undergraduate students.

The purpose of this research project titled “The perception of undergraduate students of University of Benin towards the importance of recreation and leisure to healthful living”, is to find out, if the enlightenment and solution proffered to their negative perception put together will change the students’ perception of the importance of recreation and leisure to healthful living.
This research study will help the students to have a better perception towards recreation and leisure and also to encourage the school authorities to find solutions to solve these problems.
This study can lead to other researchable variables with the view to finding better solutions.
If the study is utilized as suppose, it will create awareness on the part of the undergraduate students to understand the importance of recreation and leisure to healthful living.

This study may encourage and motivate universities particularly University of Benin to review their curriculum to allow time for recreational activity and to mount enlightenment campaign for recreation through bulletins, posters, editorials etc, to create students’ awareness of its importance to healthful living.

Does parental influence affect students’ recreational perception?
Does the university’s curriculum encourage students’ involvement in recreational activities?
Do students utilize their minute free time for recreational activities?
Does establishment of sports centres in university increase recreational activities of students?
Does students involvement in sport increase healthful living?

The researcher intends to cover the entire undergraduate students of the University of Benin.

In the course of the study, the researcher will limit its research to residents in hostel of the University of Benin, Benin City.
1. Leisure: Is a state of having free time which an individual can spend in activities without engaging in professional work. It is time concept.
Recreation: Is any form of activity an individual engages in during leisure time for enjoyment and satisfaction. It is activity concept.
Exercise: Is a change from a state of rest to that of physical activities to effect movement.
Excursion: Is a short journey made for pleasure especially one that has been organized for a group of people.

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