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RECREATIONAL TRENDS AMONGST LECTURERS OF HIGHER INSTITUTION (A CASE STUDY OF UNIVERSITY OF UYO LECTURERS)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Stress at work is graduallybecoming global and a worrisome phenomenon, as it affects all professions the academic inclusive. According to oxford learner’s dictionary stress is something that causes a strain or tension; it could be mental or emotional strain resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Thus, job stress or occupational stress is defined as the discrepancy between environmental demand (stressors) and individual capacities to fill these demands (Topper, 2007).
The task for the Nigerian university of being capable of producing the much needed professional manpower required by the nation, have placed great challenges on the academic staff which may likely cause stress especially if they are dissatisfied in the course of carrying out their duties.
Nigeria as a developing country is evidently full of life threatening, harmful and challenging situations, which are stressful to peoples’ existence and well-being, some of these include economic recession and instability, religious intolerance and insecurity, the menace of armed robbery and political tugery, driving on very poorly maintained roads and highways. The University lecturers as citizens of the country experience all these phenomena along the professional and personal concerns related to their jobs. Thus, the entire Nigerian University communities have not been immuned from the emerging forces of stress in the country.
Though, University teaching has traditionally been regarded as a low stress occupation because, academics enjoyed long tenure, light work load, flexibility, overseas trips for study and/or conference purposes and the freedom to pursue their own research interests. During the past fifteen to twenty years many of these advantages seems to have been eroded in Nigerian Universities, and thus exposing university lecturers to such levels of stress that could force them to deviate from normal functioning.
Stress often leads to high dissatisfaction among staff, burn out, poor work performance and less effective interpersonal relationship at work. Man must be in balance equilibrium for smooth performance of movement and activities. The human body when a bit fatigued gets tired and desires to relax and recreate. Every free activity has elements of joy and satisfaction; since our body wants enjoyment we can derive fun, joy and pleasure from recreational activities. Since recreation is a form of physical activity that focuses not just on physical activity but also on nurturing mental health and has attracted growing attention from researchers, today researchers have observed that participation in recreational activities have psychological relieving effects. (Pearson, 1998)
Recreational sports are those activities done during leisure time where the primary purpose of the activity is participation with the related goals of improved physical fitness, fun and social involvement often pertinent. Recreational sports are often perceived as being less stressful both physically and mentally on participants.
People enjoy intangible benefits when they participate in recreational activities such as improved morale and productivity, quality of life, reduces stress and mental health problems thereby enhancing job performance, mental and physical health. The Importance of participation in recreation and demands of it has continued to gain momentum and popularity as such many entertainment centers, hotels, sport centers around Uyo metropolis have attempted to meet this demands by providing gyms, diverse leisure and recreational activities.
Recreational programmes are long term organizational activities created to enhance the implementation of organizational practices and individual behaviour conducive to maintaining or improving staff psychological, mental and social wellbeing likewise participation in recreational sports (Wolfe & Parker, 1994). Many researchers have tried to show a central play of recreational programs. Positive results were recorded when people participated in such programs, improved fitness levels, reduced health cost and employees satisfaction (Fielding, 1994) besides that; (Connors, 1992) found that organisations enjoyed other benefits such as improved staff morale, health and productivity, attention and retention and improved image for retention.
Asides the numerous benefits of participation in recreational sports it has also proven to be an effective stress management strategy. Participants who participated in physical activities had higher level of physical health and wellbeing (Iwasaki, Zuzanek, &Mannell, 2001). These participants also had lower level of chronic stress, life stress events and work related stress thereby establishing a relationship between participation in recreational sports and perceived stress levels.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Lecturers in Nigerian higher institutions are expected to perform at higher level despite the dearth of basic facilities for teaching, learning and research. Though this expectation is commendable, it is not always possible for lecturers to competently manage the diverse needs of students with the resource inadequacies presently on ground in Nigerian Universities without stress.
However, one of the ways to manage the stress lecturers undergo is to engage in recreation activities.Recreational activity is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle and is cited as a key strategy for reducing the risk of chronic conditions and diseases including hypertension, coronary heart diseases, diabetes, cancer and obesity. Evidence clearly shows that regular physical activity improves physiological and psychological health. Benefits such as maintenance of ideal body weight, prevention of premature death and enhanced psychological well-being have been attributed to participation in regular recreational activity.
Although, recreation is beneficial to lecturers, but it is important to know lecturers’ perception of recreation. It is on this premise that this study seeks to examine recreational trends among lecturers in higher institutions with specific focus on the University of Uyo, Nigeria.
Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to determine how university lecturers perceive participation in recreational activities. The specific objectives of this research are to determine:
i. The extent of lecturers’ perception of occupational stress.
ii. The extent of lecturers’ perception about recreational activities
iii. The extent to which lecturers perceive recreation as a means of relieving work related stress.
iv. To determine the barriers to recreation participation among lecturers
i. Do lecturers perceive occupational stress as a danger to their health?
ii. Do lecturers have a negative or positive perception about recreation?
iii. Do lecturers have knowledge and perceive recreation as a means of relieving work related stress?
iv. What are the barriers to participation in recreation among lecturers?
In line with the research questions, the following null hypotheses will be tested in this study:
H1: Lecturers do not significantly perceive work related stress as danger to their health.
H2: Lecturers do not have significantly positive perception about recreation
H3: There is no significant awareness among lecturers that participation in wholesome recreational activities could relieve stress.
H4: Identified barriers do not have significant influence on lecturers’ participation in recreation.
Concept of Recreation
Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time (Thomas, 2011). The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology (Daniels, 2005). Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun ". The term recreation appears to have been used in English first in the late 14th century, first in the sense of "refreshment or curing of a sick person" and derived turn from Latin words ‘‘re’’: "again", ‘‘creare’’: "to create, bring forth, beget" (Online Etymology Dictionary).
According to Yurkic (2010), humans spend their time in activities of daily living, work, sleep, social duties, and leisure, the latter time being free from prior commitments to physiologic or social needs, a prerequisite of recreation. Leisure has increased with increased longevity and, for many, with decreased hours spent for physical and economic survival, yet others argue that time pressure has increased for modern people, as they are committed to too many tasks. Other factors that account for an increased role of recreation are affluence, population trends, and increased commercialization of recreational offerings (Rogers, 2005).
Recreation is one aspect of the broader term, leisure, which encompasses vigorous activities and sedentary hobbies with the intention of recreating and rejuvenating. Leisure affords individuals a chance to relax and refresh after performing household and labour market responsibilities (Mattingly & Bianchi, 2013). Recreation is a leisure time activity, and that for most people, recreational activities and opportunities are largely confined to their leisure hours (Marybeth, 2003). The authors further note that the activities are voluntary, meaningful and enjoyable to the person involved. Leisure and recreation are often used interchangeably, especially when defined as free-time experience or something done for pleasure in one’s free time. Usually, “leisure” means an activity that is relaxed, undemanding, and even restful. Leisure includes physically demanding sport, disciplined arts and other activity, that is, relaxing (Kelly and Freysinger, 2010).
While one perception is that leisure is just "spare time", time not consumed by the necessities of living, another holds that leisure is a force that allows individuals to consider and reflect on the values and realities that are missed in the activities of daily life, thus being an essential element of personal development and civilization. This direction of thought has even been extended to the view that leisure is the purpose of work, and a reward in itself, and "leisure life" reflects the values and character of a nation (Thomas, 2011).
Yurkic (2010), submitted that recreation is difficult to separate from the general concept of play, which is usually the term for children's recreational activity. It has been proposed that play or recreational activities are outlets of or expression of excess energy, channelling it into socially acceptable activities that fulfil individual as well as societal needs, without need for compulsion, and providing satisfaction and pleasure for the participant. A traditional view holds that work is supported by recreation, recreation being useful to "recharge the battery" so that work performance is improved. Work, an activity generally performed out of economic necessity and useful for society and organized within the economic framework, however can also be pleasurable and may be self-imposed thus blurring the distinction to recreation. Many activities may be work for one person and recreation for another, or, at an individual level, over time recreational activity may become work, and vice versa. Thus, for a musician, playing an instrument may be at one time a profession, and at another a recreation. Similarly, it may be difficult to separate education from recreation as in the case of recreational mathematics (Kulkarni, 2013).
Types of Recreational Activities
Recreation is an essential part of human life and it takes many different forms which are shaped naturally by individual interests but also by the surrounding social construction. Recreational activities can be communal or solitary, active or passive, outdoors or indoors, healthy or harmful, and useful for society or detrimental (Daniels, 2005).
A significant section of recreational activities are designated as hobbies which are activities done for pleasure on a regular basis. A list of typical activities could be almost endless including most human activities, a few examples being reading, playing or listening to music, watching movies or TV, gardening, picnics, hunting, sports, studies, and travel. Public space such as parks and beaches are essential venues for many recreational activities.
According to Queensland Government (2009), Tourism has recognized that many visitors are specifically attracted by recreational offerings. In support of recreational activities government has taken an important role in their creation, maintenance, and organization, and whole industries have developed merchandise or services. Recreation-related business is an important factor in the economy; it has been estimated that the outdoor recreation sector alone contributes $730 billion annually to the U.S. economy and generates 6.5 million jobs (Rechner, 2010)