Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time.   Free time is time spent away from business, work, job hunting, domestic chores, and education, as well as necessary activities such as eating and sleeping. Leisure as an experience usually emphasizes dimensions of perceived freedom and choice. It is done for "its own sake", for the quality of experience and involvement.  Other classic definitions include Thorstein Veblen's (1899) of "nonproductive consumption of time."  Free time is not easy to define due to the multiplicity of approaches used to determine its essence. Different disciplines have definitions reflecting their common issues: for example, sociology on social forces and contexts and psychology as mental and emotional states and conditions. From a research perspective, these approaches have an advantage of being quantifiable and comparable over time and place. 
Leisure studies and sociology of leisure are the academic disciplines concerned with the study and analysis of leisure. Recreation differs from leisure in that it is a purposeful activity that includes the experience of leisure in activity contexts. Economists consider that leisure times are valuable to a person like wages that they could earn for the same time spend towards the activity. If it were not, people would have worked instead of taking leisure.  However, the distinction between leisure and unavoidable activities is not a rigidly defined one, e.g. people sometimes do work-oriented tasks for pleasure as well as for long-term utility.  A related concept is social leisure, which involves leisurely activities in social settings, such as extracurricular activities, e.g. sports, clubs. Another related concept is that of family leisure. Relationships with others is usually a major factor in both satisfaction and choice.
The concept of leisure as a human right was realised in article 24 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Leisure has historically been the privilege of the upper class.  Opportunities for leisure came with more money, or organization, and less working time, rising dramatically in the mid-to-late 19th century, starting in Great Britain and spreading to other rich nations in Europe. It spread as well to the United States, although that country had a reputation in Europe for providing much less leisure despite its wealth. Immigrants to the United States discovered they had to work harder than they did in Europe.  Economists continue to investigate why Americans work longer hours.  In a recent book, Laurent Turcot argues that leisure was not created in the 19th century but is imbricated in the occidental world since the beginning of history. 
In Canada, leisure in the country is related to the decline in work hours and is shaped by moral values, and the ethnic-religious and gender communities. In a cold country with winter's long nights, and summer's extended daylight, favorite leisure activities include horse racing, team sports such as hockey, singalongs, roller skating and board games.    The churches tried to steer leisure activities, by preaching against drinking and scheduling annual revivals and weekly club activities.  By 1930 radio played a major role in uniting Canadians behind their local or regional hockey teams. Play-by-play sports coverage, especially of ice hockey, absorbed fans far more intensely than newspaper accounts the next day. Rural areas were especially influenced by sports coverage. 
Leisure by the mid-19th century was no longer an individualistic activity. It was increasingly organized. In the French industrial city of Lille, with a population of 80,000 in 1858, the cabarets or taverns for the working class numbered 1300, or one for every three houses. Lille counted 63 drinking and singing clubs, 37 clubs for card players, 23 for bowling, 13 for skittles, and 18 for archery. The churches likewise have their social organizations. Each club had a long roster of officers, and a busy schedule of banquets, festivals and competitions. At the turn of the century thousands of these clubs had been created. 
As literacy, wealth, ease of travel, and a broadened sense of community grew in Britain from the mid-19th century onward, there was more time and interest in leisure activities of all sorts, on the part of all classes. 
Opportunities for leisure activities increased because real wages continued to grow and hours of work continued to decline. In urban Britain, the nine-hour day was increasingly the norm; the 1874 Factory Act limited the workweek to 56.5 hours. The movement toward an eight-hour day. Furthermore, system of routine annual vacations came into play, starting with white-collar workers and moving into the working-class.   Some 200 seaside resorts emerged thanks to cheap hotels and inexpensive railway fares, widespread banking holidays and the fading of many religious prohibitions against secular activities on Sundays. 
By the late Victorian era, the leisure industry had emerged in all British cities, and the pattern was copied across Western Europe and North America. It provided scheduled entertainment of suitable length and convenient locales at inexpensive prices. These include sporting events, music halls, and popular theater. By 1880 football was no longer the preserve of the social elite, as it attracted large working-class audiences. Average gate was 5,000 in 1905, rising to 23,000 in 1913. That amounted to 6 million paying customers with a weekly turnover of £400,000. Sports by 1900 generated some three percent of the total gross national product in Britain. Professionalization of sports was the norm, although some new activities reached an upscale amateur audience, such as lawn tennis and golf. Women were now allowed in some sports, such as archery, tennis, badminton and gymnastics. 
Leisure was primarily a male activity, with middle-class women allowed in at the margins. There were class differences with upper-class clubs, and working-class and middle-class pubs.  Heavy drinking declined; there was more betting on outcomes. Participation in sports and all sorts of leisure activities increased for average English people, and their interest in spectator sports increased dramatically. 
By the 1920s the cinema and radio attracted all classes, ages, and genders in very large numbers. Giant palaces were built for the huge audiences that wanted to see Hollywood films. In Liverpool 40 percent of the population attended one of the 69 cinemas once a week; 25 percent went twice. Traditionalists grumbled about the American cultural invasion, but the permanent impact was minor. 
The British showed a more profound interest in sports, and in greater variety, that any rival. They gave pride of place to such moral issues as sportsmanship and fair play.  Cricket became symbolic of the Imperial spirit throughout the Empire. Soccer proved highly attractive to the urban working classes, which introduced the rowdy spectator to the sports world. In some sports, there was significant controversy in the fight for amateur purity especially in rugby and rowing. New games became popular almost overnight, including golf, lawn tennis, cycling and hockey. Women were much more likely to enter these sports than the old established ones. The aristocracy and landed gentry, with their ironclad control over land rights, dominated hunting, shooting, fishing and horse racing. 
Cricket had become well-established among the English upper class in the 18th century, and was a major factor in sports competition among the public schools. Army units around the Empire had time on their hands, and encouraged the locals to learn cricket so they could have some entertaining competition. Most of the Empire embraced cricket, with the exception of Canada.  Cricket test matches (international) began by the 1870s; the most famous is that between Australia and Britain for "The Ashes". 
The range of leisure activities extends from the very informal and casual to highly organised and long-lasting activities. A significant subset of leisure activities are hobbies which are undertaken for personal satisfaction, usually on a regular basis, and often result in satisfaction through skill development or recognised achievement, sometimes in the form of a product. The list of hobbies is ever changing as society changes.
Substantial and fulfilling hobbies and pursuits are described by Sociologist Robert Stebbins  as serious leisure. The serious leisure perspective is a way of viewing the wide range of leisure pursuits in three main categories: casual leisure, serious leisure, and project-based leisure. 
"Serious leisure is the systematic pursuit of an amateur, hobbyist, or volunteer ... that is highly substantial, interesting, and fulfilling and where ... participants find a [leisure] career...".  For example, collecting stamps or maintaining a public wetland area.
People undertaking serious leisure can be categorised as amateurs, volunteers or hobbyists. Their engagement is distinguished from casual leisure by a high level of perseverance, effort, knowledge and training required and durable benefits and the sense that one can create in effect a leisure career through such activity. 
The range of serious leisure activities is growing rapidly in modern times  with developed societies having greater leisure time, longevity and prosperity. The Internet is providing increased support for amateurs and hobbyists to communicate, display and share products.
As literacy and leisure time expanded after 1900, reading became a popular pastime. New additions to adult fiction doubled during the 1920s, reaching 2800 new books a year by 1935. Libraries tripled their stocks, and saw heavy demand for new fiction.  A dramatic innovation was the inexpensive paperback, pioneered by Allen Lane (1902–70) at Penguin Books in 1935. The first titles included novels by Ernest Hemingway and Agatha Christie. They were sold cheap (usually sixpence) in a wide variety of inexpensive stores such as Woolworth's. Penguin aimed at an educated middle class "middlebrow" audience. It avoided the downscale image of American paperbacks. The line signaled cultural self-improvement and political education. The more polemical Penguin Specials, typically with a leftist orientation for Labour readers, were widely distributed during World War II.  However the war years caused a shortage of staff for publishers and book stores, and a severe shortage of rationed paper, worsened by the air raid on Paternoster Square in 1940 that burned 5 million books in warehouses. 
Romantic fiction was especially popular, with Mills and Boon the leading publisher.  Romantic encounters were embodied in a principle of sexual purity that demonstrated not only social conservatism, but also how heroines could control their personal autonomy.   Adventure magazines became quite popular, especially those published by DC Thomson; the publisher sent observers around the country to talk to boys and learn what they wanted to read about. The story line in magazines and cinema that most appealed to boys was the glamorous heroism of British soldiers fighting wars that were perceived as exciting and just. 
"Casual leisure is immediately, intrinsically rewarding; and it is a relatively short-lived, pleasurable activity requiring little or no special training to enjoy it."  For example, watching TV or going for a swim.
"Project-based leisure is a short-term, moderately complicated, either one-shot or occasional, though infrequent, creative undertaking carried out in free time."  For example, working on a single Wikipedia article or building a garden feature.
Time available for leisure varies from one society to the next, although anthropologists have found that hunter-gatherers tend to have significantly more leisure time than people in more complex societies.  As a result, band societies such as the Shoshone of the Great Basin came across as extraordinarily lazy to European colonialists. 
Workaholics, less common than the social myths, are those who work compulsively at the expense of other activities. They prefer to work rather than spend time socializing and engaging in other leisure activities.
European and American men statistically have more leisure time than women, due to both household and parenting responsibilities and increasing participation in the paid employment. In Europe and the United States, adult men usually have between one and nine hours more leisure time than women do each week. 
Family leisure is defined as time that parents, children and siblings spend together in free time or recreational activities,  and it can be expanded to address intergenerational family leisure as time that grandparents, parents, and grandchildren spend together in free time or recreational activities.  Leisure can become a central place for the development of emotional closeness and strong family bonds. Contexts such as urban/rural shape the perspectives, meanings, and experiences of family leisure. For example, leisure moments are part of work in rural areas, and the rural idyll is enacted by urban families on weekends, but both urban and rural families somehow romanticize rural contexts as ideal spaces for family making (connection to nature, slower and more intimate space, notion of a caring social fabric, tranquillity, etc.).   Also, much "family leisure" requires tasks that are most often assigned to women. Family leisure also includes playing together with family members on the weekend day.
Leisure is important across the lifespan and can facilitate a sense of control and self-worth.  Older adults, specifically, can benefit from physical, social, emotional, cultural, and spiritual aspects of leisure. Leisure engagement and relationships are commonly central to "successful" and satisfying aging.  For example, engaging in leisure with grandchildren can enhance feelings of generativity, whereby older adults can achieve well-being by leaving a legacy beyond themselves for future generations. 
The culture of Canada embodies the artistic, culinary, literary, humour, musical, political and social elements that are representative of Canadians. Throughout Canada's history, its culture has been influenced by European culture and traditions, mostly by the British and French, and by its own indigenous cultures. Over time, elements of the cultures of Canada's immigrant populations have become incorporated to form a Canadian cultural mosaic. Certain segments of Canada's population have, to varying extents, also been influenced by American culture due to shared language, significant media penetration and geographic proximity.
A hobby is considered to be a regular activity that is done for enjoyment, typically during one's leisure time. Hobbies include collecting themed items and objects, engaging in creative and artistic pursuits, playing sports, or pursuing other amusements. Participation in hobbies encourages acquiring substantial skills and knowledge in that area. A list of hobbies changes with renewed interests and developing fashions, making it diverse and lengthy. Hobbies tend to follow trends in society, for example stamp collecting was popular during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as postal systems were the main means of communication, while video games are more popular nowadays following technological advances. The advancing production and technology of the nineteenth century provided workers with more leisure time to engage in hobbies. Because of this, the efforts of people investing in hobbies has increased with time.
Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun".
YMCA, sometimes regionally called the Y, is a worldwide youth organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, with more than 64 million beneficiaries in 120 countries. It was founded on 6 June 1844 by George Williams in London, originally as the Young Men's Christian Association, and aims to put Christian values into practice by developing a healthy "body, mind, and spirit".
Personal life is the course or state of an individual's life, especially when viewed as the sum of personal choices contributing to one's personal identity.
Sociology of sport, alternately referred to as sports sociology, is a sub-discipline of sociology which focuses on sports as social phenomena. It is an area of study concerned with the relationship between sociology and sports, and also various socio-cultural structures, patterns, and organizations or groups involved with sport. This area of study discusses the positive impact sports have on individual people and society as a whole economically, financially, and socially. Sociology of sport attempts to view the actions and behavior of sports teams and their players through the eyes of a sociologist.
Social history, often called the new social history, is a field of history that looks at the lived experience of the past. In its "golden age" it was a major growth field in the 1960s and 1970s among scholars, and still is well represented in history departments in Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and the United States. In the two decades from 1975 to 1995, the proportion of professors of history in American universities identifying with social history rose from 31% to 41%, while the proportion of political historians fell from 40% to 30%. In the history departments of British and Irish universities in 2014, of the 3410 faculty members reporting, 878 (26%) identified themselves with social history while political history came next with 841 (25%).
The history of sports extends back to the Ancient world. The physical activity that developed into sports had early links with ritual, warfare and entertainment.
The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (1899), by Thorstein Veblen, is a treatise of economics and sociology, and a critique of conspicuous consumption as a function of social class and of consumerism, which are social activities derived from the social stratification of people and the division of labor; the social institutions of the feudal period that have continued to the modern era.
Otto Newman was an Austrian-born sociologist who was a professor at Stirling University in Scotland, Chairman of the Sociology Department at South Bank University in London, and adjunct professor at San Diego State University in California. His extensive writings have been published on four continents. His main works include: Gambling: Hazard and Reward and The Challenge of Corporatism (Macmillan). He also authored extensive research reports leading to policy implementation, and books and papers on globalism including, "The Third Way" and "American Declinism".
Play is a range of intrinsically motivated activities done for recreational pleasure and enjoyment. Play is commonly associated with children and juvenile-level activities, but may be engaged in at any life stage, and among other higher-functioning animals as well, most notably mammals and birds.
Outdoor recreation or outdoor activity refers to recreation done outside, most commonly in natural settings. The activities that encompass outdoor recreation vary depending on the physical environment they are being carried out in. These activities can include fishing, hunting, backpacking, and horseback riding — and can be completed individually or collectively. Outdoor recreation is a broad concept that encompasses a varying range of activities and landscapes.
Sport pertains to any form of competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain, or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, entertainment to spectators. Sports can, through casual or organized participation, improve participants' physical health. Hundreds of sports exist, from those between single contestants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals. In certain sports such as racing, many contestants may compete, simultaneously or consecutively, with one winner; in others, the contest is between two sides, each attempting to exceed the other. Some sports allow a "tie" or "draw", in which there is no single winner; others provide tie-breaking methods to ensure one winner and one loser. A number of contests may be arranged in a tournament producing a champion. Many sports leagues make an annual champion by arranging games in a regular sports season, followed in some cases by playoffs.
The sociology of leisure or leisure sociology is the study of how humans organize their free time. Leisure includes a broad array of activities, such as sport, tourism, and the playing of games. The sociology of leisure is closely tied to the sociology of work, as each explores a different side of the work-leisure relationship. More recent studies in the field move away from this relationship, however, and focus on the relation between leisure and culture.
In historiography, rural history is a field of study focusing on the history of societies in rural areas. At its inception, the field was based on the economic history of agriculture. Since the 1980s it has become increasingly influenced by social history and has diverged from the economic and technological focuses of "agricultural history". It can be considered a counterpart to urban history.
The history of Canadian sports falls into five stages of development: early recreational activities before 1840; the start of organized competition, 1840–1880; the emergence of national organizations, 1882–1914; the rapid growth of both amateur and professional sports, 1914 to 1960; and developments of the last half-century. Some sports, especially ice hockey, lacrosse, curling, and ringette enjoy an international reputation as particularly Canadian.
Philosophy of sport is an area of philosophy that seeks to conceptually analyze issues of sport as human activity. These issues cover many areas, but fall primarily into five philosophical categories: metaphysics, ethics and moral philosophy, philosophy of law, political philosophy, and aesthetics. The philosophical perspective on sport originated in Ancient Greece, having experienced a revival in the latter part of the 20th century with the work of Paul Weiss and Howard Slusher.
The history of sports in the United States shows that American football, baseball, softball and indoor soccer evolved out of older British sports. However, volleyball, skateboarding, snowboarding and Ultimate are American inventions, some of which have become popular in other countries. American football and baseball diverged greatly from the European sports from which they arose, having evolved into distinctly American sports; baseball has achieved international popularity, particularly in East Asia and Latin America, while American football remains a niche. Lacrosse derives from Native American activities that predate Western contact.
Nash's Pyramid is a framework for ranking leisure activities, developed by Jay B. Nash. Nash was an early leader in the leisure field. His thinking was influenced by the prevalence of 'Spectatoritis' in America which he defines as, "a blanket description to cover all kinds of passive amusement".
Robert A. Stebbins is an author, researcher and an academic. He is Professor Emeritus at University of Calgary and Associate Editor for Leisure and Voluntaristics Review: Brill Research Perspectives.
Most people assume that the members of the Shoshone band worked ceaselessly in an unremitting search for sustenance. Such a dramatic picture might appear confirmed by an erroneous theory almost everyone recalls from schooldays: A high culture emerges only when the people have the leisure to build pyramids or to create art. The fact is that high civilization is hectic, and that primitive hunters and collectors of wild food, like the Shoshone, are among the most leisured people on earth.