Chapter One

Background of the Study


Man as a gregarious being moves closer to his fellow men to share knowledge, live together in groups, share ideas and opinions in their various groups as well as recreate themselves, also entertain themselves in a group after hard day’s work, these activities are needed to relieve him of worries, fatigue, tension, physical and physiological needs. An eighty seven years old physical educator who still played badminton claimed that recreation has been very useful as a secret of his good health despite the old age (Onifade, 2012).

Recreation is a deviation from ones normal activities to relax, it is an activity voluntary engage in during leisure and motivated by the personal satisfaction derived from participation (Onifade, 2012). There is fairly consistent evidence that suggests that adolescents are becoming more obese and more sedentary because of their lack of participation in recreational activities.

In his own definition, Bucher (2003) defined recreation as socially acceptable worthwhile activities in which a person voluntarily participates during leisure hours and through which he or she has opportunities to develop physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. The benefits of participating in recreational activities are numerous and well documented in the literature. Dubbert (2002) highlighted that recreational participation reduces obesity, maintains healthy joints, controls pain, builds stronger bone mass as well as improve endurance, strength and balance.

Furthermore, recreational participation improves the functioning of the heart and the ability of the cardio respiratory system to carry oxygen to blood vessels and also improves metabolism - the process by which food is converted to energy and tissue is built (Insel and Roth, 2006). According to Insel and Roth (2006), being physically fit makes it easier to do everyday tasks. Regular participation  in recreational participation provides reserve strength for emergencies and helps people to look and feel good. In the long term, physically fit individuals are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and many other degenerative diseases (Insel and Roth, 2006). Lopez, Gallegos and Extremera (2010) posit that regular participation in recreational activities provides increased physical, psychological and physiological benefits.

Regular exercise is also associated with an improved sense of well-being and mental health (Weinberg and Gould, 2011). It positively affects young people’s social development and prosocial behaviour. Research has shown that regular exercise increases energy levels, improves emotional and psychological well-being, and boosts the immune system (Insel and Roth, 2006). According to Talbot (2001), recreational participation helps one to develop respect for one’s body as well as that of others. This contributes to an integrated development of mind and body as well as an understanding of the important role that recreational participation plays in one’s life. O’Dea (2003) reported that the social benefits associated with participation in recreational activities include fun and enjoyment, interacting with others and developing life skills.

        Exercise improves muscle strength, academic performance, releases tension and improves their appearance and self-esteem (O’Dea, 2003). Exercise also helps students to cope with stress, improves their sense of relaxation, and reduces aggression, frustration and anger (Dhurup, 2012). Hassmen, Koivula and Uutela (2000) found that active participation in recreational activities results in lower depression, anger, cynical distrust, and stress. The authors further indicated that regular exercisers enjoy healthier lives and general well-being as well as higher levels of physical fitness and a stronger feeling of social integration as well as higher levels of coherence than those who do not exercise. Another study by Stubbe, De Moor, Boomstra and De Geus (2007) reported that exercisers are more satisfied with their lives and are happier than non-exercisers. However, despite the benefits of recreational participation, many people still choose not to exercise, usually citing peer group influence ( Asagba, 2003), parental influence (Adisa, 2009), availability of sports equipments and facilities, personal conviction (Groos, 2009), motivations and demographic factors (Agha and Olumba, 2009) as some of the factors influencing recreational participation in Nigeria Secondary Schools.

Statement of the Problem

There are many factors that influence students’  participation in recreational activities in Ezza South L.G.A. These problems are inadequate recreational facilities in the secondary schools in the Local Government Area, seeming inflince of knowledge on the importance of recreational participation. Also, recreation is not part of their culture since even their parents are too busy to even think of recreational activities, let alone participating in it, others are too shy to come out and play some recreational games. The school curriculum seems not to encourage students’ participation in recreational activities because only little time is given to recreational activities.  The teachers who are key determinants of recreational participation are also not helping matters because they hardly engage in recreational activities. All these may have influenced students’ participation in recreational activities in Ezza South Local Government Area, Ebonyi State.

Therefore, the need to investigate the influence of students’ recreational activities among senior secondary students (SSS) in Ezza South L.G.A of Ebonyi State

Purpose of the Study

The major purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of recreational activities among Senior Secondary Students (SSS) in Ezza South L.G.A of Ebonyi State. Specifically, the study seeks to:

1.    Ascertain the factors that contribute to influence of recreational activities among SSS of Ezza South L.G.A of Ebonyi State

2.    Ascertain whether peer pressure of secondary school students contributes to influence  of recreational activities  among SSS of Ezza South L.G.A of Ebonyi State

Significance of the Study

This study will be very important to many people such as young people, parents and schools as it will add to the existing body of knowledge of the aforementioned parties.

The students will immensely benefit from this work because it will act as secondary data to future researchers.

Through this work, parents could change their attitudes towards their children participation in recreational activities because they would have understood the importance of recreational activities to human’s health after going through the study’s findings.

The ministry of education and youth development will benefit from the findings of this study because it would be a guide to the ministry in developing students’ friendly recreational activities both at primary and secondary school levels.

The study will also help the Nigerian education system succeed in helping the students understand the implications of their sedentary life upon their social and mental well being at the personal level.

Importantly, this research will expose the researcher to greater understanding of the benefits of participation in recreational activities; and count towards his earning a BSc. degree in Human Kinetics and developing a career in the discipline. This study will also contribute to literature on recreational activities, and serve as reference material for future researchers.

Scope of the Study

This study was restricted to Ezza South Local Government Area and to two secondary schools out of the 10 secondary schools chosen for the study. This decision ensured homogeneity in social demands amongst the sample.

The population for the study was limited to only senior secondary school students while 330 students were selected as the sample of the study.

The study adopted descriptive survey research design. Data collection was restricted to only self structured questionnaire while the methods of data analysis were simple percentage, frequency and chi-square (x2).

Research Questions

The following questions were formulated to guide the study:

1.   What are the factors that contribute to influence of recreational activities among SSS of Ezza South L.G.A of Ebonyi State?

2.   Does peer pressure of secondary school students have any influence on recreational activities?


The followings research hypotheses guided the study

1.   Availability of equipments and facilities have no influence on recreational activities among secondary school students

2.  There is no significant influence of peer pressure on influence of recreational activities among secondary school students




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