Leisure Activities of Adults: Types, Benefits & Examples

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  • 0:03 Leisure
  • 1:06 Purpose of Leisure
  • 2:04 Physical High Speed
  • 3:02 Physical Low Speed
  • 4:09 Cognitive
  • 5:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Devin Kowalczyk

Devin has taught psychology and has a master's degree in clinical forensic psychology. He is working on his PhD.

In this lesson, we will explore some different types of adult leisure activities. We will discuss the different categories of activities to look at the specific health benefits of each category.


I will be starting off this lesson by saying goodbye and going and enjoying some other things instead of working. I'm back!

Leisure activities are behaviors people do in their free time. Typically, when we discuss leisure activities, we are talking about more involved and time-consuming tasks than, say, oh, picking one's nose. Leisure activities, in addition to being good time killers between actually doing work, have numerous health benefits depending on what is actually being done.

Let's look at some of the common leisure activity types of adults, but let me note first that we will be discussing types based on my understanding. As far as I know, there's no universally accepted way to categorize leisure activities, but I've divided them up into physical high speed, physical low speed and cognitive leisure activities. There may be some overlap, as we will discuss, but these three categories should cover most activities.

Purpose of Leisure

While I made a joke about leisure activities only taking up time between work, this isn't exactly true. And if you didn't laugh at my joke, that's okay, too.

Leisure activities have numerous health benefits. Specific ones will be discussed in a little bit, but in general, all leisure activities:

  • Reduce overall stress
  • Provide a sense of purpose in and of itself
  • Provide different experiences
  • Increase the sense of empowerment and self-value

So, the next time you're playing video games or goofing off, remember that if you earned your leisure time, then you are doing a good thing for yourself. In fact, most psychologists will recommend self care, which is behaviors and activities dedicated to increasing one's well-being.

In this time of famine, where jobs are scarce and work is sometimes tedious or painful, we must remember to take care of ourselves. Because, as the old saying goes, 'If you don't have your health, what do you have?'

Physical High Speed

My first category consists of physically demanding leisure activities that occur at higher speeds. Here we have sports that require fast movement, like tennis, race car driving, parachuting or martial arts. While the main focus is on enjoyment, a major component tends to be aerobic exercise, which is intensive and high-energy movement designed to increase cardiovascular health.

Individuals who engage in high-speed leisure activities are typically younger and are more in shape. You don't see many 80-year-olds lined up to take sky diving lessons. Besides requiring an individual to be in better shape, there is also a youthful connection to high-speed leisure activities. When we think about playing basketball or tennis, it is more of a young person's game because of the physical demands. This would suggest that those who choose to engage in these may be developmentally more focused on 'being young' rather than 'being old.'

Physical Low Speed

Physical leisure activities don't have to be fast paced. Examples of slow-speed physical leisure activities include golf, gardening and playing video games. While these types of activities can be nearly as physically demanding as the high speed, they often do not have the aerobic exercise part of them.

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