Sep 24, 2018

By Erin Wilkins, Department Chair & Instructor

I recently had a discussion with a friend about recreation who said to me ‘you are not really into outdoor recreation are you?’ Naturally, I raised my eyebrows and replied- ‘you really think that about me? She replied ‘well you don't go hiking or kayaking that often’…. This made me ponder perceptions of recreation and how we all define recreation differently. I replied ‘I spend most of my walking non-work hours outdoors, at the beach swimming, relaxing, beach combing or playing volleyball, I am in the park every day with my dog, I love gardening, biking, walking in my neighbourhood… I think I am all about outdoor recreation?’ Her reply- ‘ya I guess…”


In the academic world, we discourage the use of Wikipedia as a source to cite, however, we all know it is used frequently too access information, so I thought I would see how the masses or non-recreation professionals might define outdoor recreation- here is what Wikipedia says:

‘Outdoor recreation or outdoor activity refers to leisure pursuits engaged in the outdoors, often in natural or semi-natural settings out of town. Examples include adventure racing, backpacking, cycling, camping, canoeing, canyoning, caving, disc golf, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, kayaking, rock climbing, running, sailing, skiing, surfing, ATV riding, and sports.’

Interesting….. Who decided on this definition. I would define outdoor recreation as a leisure pursuit that we take part in outdoors for pleasure that rejuvenates us and makes us happy. I don't think we can identify exactly what this looks like as recreation experiences are intrinsically defined.

During my yoga practice this morning my Instructor read a quote to the class, I am not sure who the author is but the dichotomy he/she describes while defining yoga rang true to me, and paralleled the challenge I faced with defining outdoor rec.

Yoga is fast, with a lot of jumping around, except when it’s slower and done with smooth quiet movements. Yoga is young, except for the 54% of American yogis who are now getting gray hair (according to Yoga Journal studies). Yoga is done in partners, except when it’s done solo, in trios or in groups. Yoga is about how you look; any yoga magazine makes that clear. But if you listen to the teachers, they tell you that Yoga is about how you feel, not how you look. But if you read the ancient yogic sages, they say Yoga is about who you are, deep inside. All of this is true, and none of it describes Yoga.- Author Unknown.

I encourage you all to create and celebrate your own truths about recreation.