What Is Leisure and Health?

Leisure and Health painting workshop

Never underestimate the power of having fun.

Healthcare companies around Australia are hiring leisure and health activities specialists. These workers are paid to organise activities and games that are fun and enjoyable for residents or clients.

If you want to make a difference in the lives of others through coordinating and facilitating fun games and activities, then a career in leisure and health might be the ideal choice for you. Here’s a look into Leisure and Health and our national qualification, the Certificate IV in Leisure and Health (CHC43415).

What Is a Leisure and Health Career?

Leisure and Health covers a wide range of careers in leisure therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation.

Leisure therapists use recreation and activities to maintain or improve the health, capabilities, and quality of life of clients.1 These programs include sport, art, music, games and general leisure.

Leisure and health workers will plan, implement, and monitor recreation programs. Potential job titles include:

  • Lifestyle Support Worker
  • Activities Officer
  • Recreational Therapist
  • Leisure and Recreational Activities Officer
  • Diversional Therapy Assistant
  • Community Leisure Officer
  • Nursing Assistant

According to YourCareer.gov.au, the demand for Recreation Officers is expected to be very strong over the next five years.3

An outdoors recreation therapy exercise with an amputee
An outdoors recreation therapy exercise with an amputee

Why Is Leisure and Health Important?

According to Queensland Health: ‘Leisure activities can enhance self-esteem, create hope and a sense of freedom and control whilst participation can help to improve psychological wellbeing. Leisure can also give people the sense of participating in activities that “everyday people do”’.1

Recreation and leisure therapy provides a more enhanced view of health. As a result, facilities and community centres want to make sure that their clients can access these necessary physical, cognitive, emotional, and social needs, regardless of their ability.4

One of the core tasks of leisure and health work is making leisure and recreation part of your clients’ daily or weekly routine. There is a wide variety of activities that therapists can organise.

What Types of Programs Do Activities Officers Organise?

Here are some example activities from Healthline.com:

  • art
  • music
  • sports games
  • video games
  • board games
  • animal interactions
  • dance and movement
  • gardening
  • storytelling
  • creative writing
  • drama
  • cooking classes
  • community and cultural outings 2

As recreational therapist Guy Forson said:

‘The idea is to find the things that they’re interested in or would like to participate in, and using that to strengthen and help people develop and become well.’

Recreational therapy activity at the beach
Recreational therapy activity at the beach

What Does a Day in the Life of a Recreational Therapist Look Like?

According to Your Career.gov, workers like creation officers can plan activities through a range of organisations, ‘such as local governments, schools, church bodies and youth organisations.’3

Day to day tasks may involve:

  • Identifying issues of local need, concerns, and aspirations through community consultation
  • Organising local sporting, cultural and recreational events and activities such as community functions, hobby classes, community arts projects and sporting competitions.3

You may spend the morning at a desk writing out or checking the daily activity plan and organising any additional equipment or resources for the activity. The afternoon may be spent travelling around the facility, meeting the residents or clients, and running the activity with them. Other days might have you instead take the clients out via car or bus to an activity/outing at a new location.

Recreational therapist Guy Forson said that work has him ‘bringing in (things) for those who can’t get out. So, I’ll bring in exercise bikes, I’ll bring in clay, I’ll bring in games and activities and sports and challenges…I’ll (also) take them out and we’ll do things in the community.’5

‘I’ve done swimming groups with exercises, like attending a water aerobics (class). I’ve participated in bicycle rides. I’ve taken people to the mountains hiking and the coast walking.

We’ve done picnics in the park…I have one scheduled for tomorrow and we’re going to have a picnic in the front yard because the patient is kind of afraid to get out there and we want to show them that it’s a peaceful place. So just helping with that transition.

I go to any public event such as museums or concerts in the park, things like that. Just whatever we can do to help the patient to blend in and feel more accustomed and comfortable in the community.’5

What Success Stories Do Celtic Training Graduates Have With This Certificate?

These tasks are similar to the daily work of Selam, a recent Celtic Training graduate who now works as a lifestyle coordinator for an aged care facility. Here’s what she said about her work when we interviewed her:

“I now do 2 or 3 days at one village and 1 day at another village. So yeah, it’s been really great. For the first time in my life, I am doing a job where I feel like it’s my calling. I really, really love the residents. It’s a lot like a family. To tell you the truth, they see me like family too. When I go there, we do different things like exercise. They all wait for me; they are excited to see me and I’m excited to see them. I just like that I make their day a little bit better.’

‘When I’m there, I know that they’re a lot happier, they’re not in their room, and that they’re doing something good for their well-being. I take them out to places for lots of different activities. It’s quite rewarding. I enjoy spending time with them, and they enjoy spending time with me.”

You can read Selam’s full story here.

Planning leisure and health programs at a desk
Planning leisure and health programs at a desk

Conclusion: How Can I Become a Leisure and Health Worker?

Leisure and Health is an important and fun part of the healthcare industry. With the huge job demand for Australian healthcare workers, why not specialise as an activity coordinator?

How can you become a leisure and health worker? According to Your Career.gov:

‘You usually need a formal qualification in sport and recreation, leisure and health, or another related field to work as a Recreation Officer. Vocational Education and Training (VET) and university are both common study pathways.’3

Celtic Training has helped students reach their career goals as recreation officers through the Certificate IV in Leisure and Health.

To learn more, you can check out the course page or send us an enquiry form. A learning consultant can contact you and help you out.

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