Enjoying Leisure Time Boosts Health and Well-Being More time spent on quality leisure activities associated with less depression
06 aug 2009-- Engaging in enjoyable activities during leisure time is associated with better physical health and lower likelihood of depression, according to a study published online July 10 in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine.
Sarah D. Pressman, Ph.D., of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, and colleagues conducted a study of 1,399 subjects, of whom 74 percent were female, ranging in age from 19 to 89 years, who completed a questionnaire that measured their participation in 10 different types of leisure activities.
Subjects who had higher aggregate Pittsburgh Enjoyable Activities Test scores reported higher levels of positive psychological states and less depression, the researchers found. These subjects also had lower blood pressure, total cortisol, waist circumference and body mass index, the investigators discovered; but they caution that their study did not conclude that engagement in leisure activities is a direct cause of good health outcomes.
"Further studies are necessary to determine whether or not these leisure activities truly restore individuals to baseline functioning following disruption by a stressful event," the authors write. "Future work is also needed to disentangle whether health benefits are due to direct associations with physiological functioning, indirect effects by altering emotions, expectations, self-evaluations and social network qualities, or via stress-buffering effects."