Chapter 1: Defining the Recreation and Leisure Industry

1.3 Enhancing Wellbeing

As practitioners in the Recreation and Leisure Industry we strive to enhance wellbeing for our participants. The activities vary but result in engaging the entire being to achieve wellness. One of the best depictions of this holistic approach is found within many FNMI communities through their medicine or healing wheels.

FNMI communities’ medicine or healing wheel includes: the mind, the heart, the soul and the body.
Medicine Wheel image by ManidooWilkie  CC BY-SA 4.0 Adapted to include text.

Wellbeing in FNMI communities is visually represented in a medicine or healing wheel. The medicine or healing wheel is a circle split into four quadrants with everything being pulled towards the center. The center represents balance. Different FNMI communities will vary on the different meanings and colours of each of the quadrants and it is important to note that not all First Nations, Métis, or Inuit people use the medicine wheel. One commonality of the wheel, across FNMI communities who use it, is the representation of the 4 aspects of being: Intellect, Emotional, Spiritual and Physical. For good health and a happy life, these 4 aspects pull to the centre in balance. Many wheels also depict this holistic approach towards communities and the environment. The circle represents the continuity of connection to all aspects of one’s being, one’s community and the environment.

In 1992, Parks and Recreation Ontario in partnership with Canadian Parks and Recreation Association, produced the 8 Benefits of Recreation:


click to enlarge

The 8 benefits of recreation are: essential to personal health, balanced human development, improves quality of life, reduces anti-social behaviour, builds strong families, is essential to ecological survival, provides economic benefits, and reduces health and social costs.  The 8 Benefits speak to wellbeing for the individual, community, and the environment. You can find each of the 4 aspects of being (Intellect, Emotional, Spiritual and Physical) represented throughout the 8 Benefits.

Creating opportunities for people to participate in recreation and leisure activities, activities that lead to improved health and happiness – enhanced wellbeing – is at the core of what recreationists do and why we do it.

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Working in Play – Exploring the Recreation and Leisure Industry Copyright © 2022 by Linda Whitehead, BA, M Ed, MBA is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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