Strenuous leisure. It may sound like an oxymoron—but trust me, this is a practice that can transform your life for the better. Strenuous leisure activities are all about how you choose to spend your free time.
While some people think of their leisure time as time to literally lounge about and sit on the sofa—leisure doesn’t mean lazy. I want you to stop thinking of your free time in this way. Instead, I want you to think of your leisure time as time you can use to work on yourself and do things for you.
Is sitting on the couch, eating junk food and watching TV really doing anything for you? Not really. Strenuous leisure on the other hand is a way to spend that time using your body, getting in more physical exertion and enjoying the benefits that come with good ole’ fashion physical work.
This is why strenuous leisure is so important and why I’m not only going to give you a few examples of strenuous leisure activities but talk about their benefits and why you should be taking this approach to leisure time today.
Examples of Strenuous Leisure
So, you have leisure time on your hands—and now it is time to choose the right way to spend that time. Of course, one of the best ways you can spend your leisure time is just going to the gym and exercising.
However, exercise should already be part of your everyday routine. It shouldn’t count as leisure time. There is a time and place for gym workouts, and they are important—but they shouldn’t be the only way that you are staying physically active.
Strenuous leisure activities will essentially put all of that sweat in the gym to good use—after all, you work out for a reason. Gym time is your training for being able to perform strenuous leisure activities with ease—so something as simple as doing yard work in your house doesn’t cause you to hurt yourself or become unbearably sore.
Here are some “strenuous leisure” activities that are going to get your heart-rate up, get you moving and keep you active:
- Carrying heavy loads
- Chopping wood
- Playing sports
- Heavy cleaning
- Roller skating
Simply put, these are all types of leisure activities that you can do in your free time that are going to get your heart rate up and pumping. These are examples of types of strenuous activities that you should be doing three times a week, in addition to your workouts and other modern leisure activities (such as walking and leisurely bike riding).
Why Strenuous Leisure?
So, if you already spend a good amount of time every day working out—why do you need to engage in strenuous leisure? There are a few reasons—the first being most people, even those who work out religiously every day aren’t getting enough physical exercise.
Think about it, if you are working out for an hour every morning and then spending 23 hours either sitting at a desk, sitting on a couch or laying in bed—you are not getting enough physical activity.
Strenuous leisure gives you time to clear your mind, spend your time the way you want to and engage in some physical activity while you’re at it. It can help balance your day by providing more activity than just gym time alone and take your overall fitness to the next level.
Engaging in strenuous leisure means burning more calories, working more muscles and getting more fit. It can also help trigger an endorphin release at other times during the day besides just your morning or evening workout time.
Studies have been done on this type of strenuous leisure, finding that it can help with everything from premature mortality, obesity, depression and virtually everything in between. It can also help lower stress and improve your flexibility as you use different muscles that you may not normally be using.
One of my favorite benefits is that by doing strenuous leisure activities, you can help yourself get a better night of sleep. You should never underestimate the power of a good night of rest. This is why I have such a regiment schedule—to get sleep. However, when you are more active during the day, it can help your body get in rest and recovery mode at night so you can get the most of your sleep.
When Is Strenuous Leisure Too Much?
Whether you are training for a marathon, or just starting to take the stairs at work, you need to know your body and you need to understand how to listen to your body—which means you need to know when you are doing too much.
Chances are, the average person isn’t doing too much in terms of strenuous leisure and isn’t pushing themselves too hard when it comes to how they spend their free time. However, if you are someone who is trying to fill every moment of your free time with strenuous leisure, you need to know when to take a break.
It is so important that you stay active throughout the day and that you are constantly pushing yourself in order to combat the sedentary lifestyles many of us live. However, the body also needs to rest and recover.
This is why I am so diligent with my diet and nutrition and so diligent with my sleep. I get quality sleep every night so that my body can recover from the day, and I eat a clean, healthy and balanced diet to refuel after a day filled with activity.
Remember, your leisure time is a time to focus on you—so why not spend that time doing activities that can help you better yourself.