Culture-creating resource of physical recreation


PhD, Associate Professor M.A. Elmurzaev1
PhD I.A. Panchenko1
PhD N.V. Smirnova1
1St. Petersburg Mining University, St. Petersburg

Keywords: physical recreation, health, personality culture, cultural potentiality, leisure, physical recreation activity.

Background. Modern philosophy, history, sociology, education science, psychology and other social sciences make their contributions to the physical recreation theory development process and determine the practical ways for its application in the all-round human health building domain. It should be noted, however, that a modern socially sensitive concept of physical recreation is still largely underdeveloped. One of the rather challenging and contradictory issues in this context is the elementary structure of modern physical recreation. Most of the analysts classify physical recreation into fundamental (theoretical) and practical domains. The theoretical domain integrates modern historical, philosophical, religious, sociological, cultural and other knowledge fields. The practical application domain features the core concepts and mechanisms of the fundamental knowledge application in actual social practices, for the recreation process forecast, design and control purposes and for the institutional and practical provisions for the processes. The application domain also implies the facilitating recreation environment development technology to facilitate the key spiritual and cultural needs being satisfied with a special emphasis on the recreation and creative resource development aspects. It should be mentioned, however, that the borderline between the fundamental and practical domains in the physical recreation field is quite indefinite and dynamic, with neither of the domains operable on its own.

Objective of the study was to analyze the existing viewpoints on the socially sensitive physical recreation concept and outline its development trends.

Study results and discussion. One of the key trends in the modern physical recreation knowledge formation process is its growing importance for the social life on the whole and individual physical, cultural and spiritual progress in particular. It is increasingly common in modern science to consider culture a key factor of an individual physical progress. Physical recreation is viewed in this context as leisure-time individual harmonized physical, mental, social, spiritual and cultural progress – becomes one of the priority fields for modern social research. This informal and unregulated leisure-time individual activity gives the means for a person to feel totally free of any job responsibilities, constraints of the standard education curricula, many family and social obligations and, therefore, untie the individual creative resource for successful self-fulfillment in social, mental and cultural progress encouraging situations. Due respect in the personality development process shall be given to the modern globalization processes with their inter- and trans-cultural education models that require the relevant bi- and multi-lingual socio-cultural competences for success [3]. 

We can only agree with the statement by M.A. Ariarskiy that the socio-cultural resource of the physical recreation process shall be ranked among the core social values for it gives the means to successfully attain the most challenging ethical and aesthetical progress goals in the personality development process. However, the leisure-time individual activity and behaviour can hardly if ever be effectively controlled and managed. It is the responsibility of the government and society to create the facilitating conditions for the people’s critical socio-cultural needs to be fully satisfied and developed, albeit further theoretical studies are needed for success in this field [1].

The modern Russian research community gives contradictory interpretations to the notion of free time, with the leisure time viewed among its core elements. Leisure is essentially interpreted as a form of individual activity within a certain space, timeframe and business. One of the key aspects of leisure time is that it is free of any predetermined responsibilities and implies full freedom, discretion and self-reliance.

One of the most promising fields in the physical recreation research is its socio-cultural potentiality – that in modern sport psychology is interpreted as internal individual powers and untapped capacities that may be mobilized when occasion requires. Potential resource may be described as provisionally concealed, unrealized and unemployed asset that may be called up occasionally under certain conditions.

It is the individual capacity of the personality cognitive system with the individual health agenda that may be described as the key condition for success of the individual resource mobilizing efforts. The physical recreation resource cannot be limited only to the individual physical activity geared to secure the personal health and physical progress – for such an approach is rather one-sided and fails to explore the versatile opportunities for the recreation-driven physical progress of a personality. Physical activity shall be viewed as a tool to fulfill the key mission – that is to secure the corporeal progress including social, mental and cultural aspects of the body and mind shaping process [5].     

Fully recognizing the importance of physical recreation for the socio-cultural values being accepted by an individual, we should note, nevertheless, that the existing studies give little if any attention to the relevant specific cultural values. Physical recreation in the leisure domain is viewed only as a tool to “release physical, mental and intellectual stresses and restore the bodily resource by active rest tools”.

The growing importance of the cultural potentiality of physical recreation is still largely underestimated in the modern theoretical and practical studies and left beyond their current research avenues. A top priority is still given within these avenues to the biomedical aspects of individual functionality restoration, with the researchers still failing to respect culture as a key driver and control tool of an individual leisure-time activity. Physical recreation models are dictated not only by the individual physical needs and health agendas but also by the multiple other needs often dominated by cultural ones. A physical education and recreation activity is generally perceived by an individual as a primarily cultural (culture-developing) business with the relevant spiritual values and progress aspects. Potentiality of any social phenomenon is always rather multisided and multidimensional versus its actual and direct one – since a potentiality means the concealed and untapped capacity of an object that manifests itself mostly in rather volatile and variable forms associated with some latent opportunities. An individual potentiality may be interpreted as psychophysical fitness including mental resource that may be mobilized in some special conditions. A transition from the potential resource to the actual and operable one comprises the key element of the individual socio-cultural and mental progress; albeit it should be noted that the specific ways and conditions for the potential resource mobilization still need to be clearly identified [2].

The recreational, developmental and cultural resource of physical recreation may be ranked among the highest social and individual values. It should be confessed that the modern institutional models for labour and education are largely ineffective in the attempts to solve many critical problems in the personality ethical, aesthetical, spiritual and cultural progress. Every existing physical recreation concept still makes a special emphasis in its specific applied research on the post-labour bodily rehabilitation aspects, with this approach being largely dictated by the traditional vision of recreation as a tool to secure individual psychophysical powers being recovered. It should be emphasized, however, that the individual physical health agenda, health building and health strategy is largely dictated by the individual culture as the key factor.

As things now stand, the functionality field of the modern physical recreation tends to fast expand, with the modern recreation increasingly absorbing many entertainments, shows, physical progress, health and other leisure-time business models, with the shows and entertainments clearly and increasingly dominating among other leisure-time formats. Entertainments are commonly perceived today as a priority leisure-time activity although they still comprise the important elements of the modern social culture that imply the relevant cultural values being accepted [4]. 

Conclusion. It is the modern culture rather than economy or power that comprises the key factor of the social stability, with the most critical reforms in modern societies taking place in culture rather than only economy and/or technology. This is one of the reasons why it is only a highly cultured personality that may be considered really free and healthy nowadays. Cultural functions of the leisure-time physical recreation process may be classified as follows:

  • Regulated adaptive function including verbal culture; personality socializing function to ensure due adaptation to the social environment and culture; and self-control and management functions;
  • Education and development function to ensure that the cultural values are duly accepted to support the gradual socializing and individual development process;
  • Transformation and creative function geared to secure the individual contribution to the general cultural values via a variety of socio-cultural creativity mobilizing models;
  • Environmental protection function that implies wise attitudes to the natural, social and cultural environments and heritage;
  • Information and elucidation function designed to collect, systematize and disseminate information in the cultural environment to help shape up the personality qualities critical for success in the XXI century;
  • Integration and communication function to ensure productive dialogues of cultures; interactions of the local civilizations; efficient contributions of the national, ethnic and regional cultures driven by the humanistic and prudent subculture protection and development policies; and
  • Recreation and game function to cater for the entertainments, shows, holidays, mental relaxation and spiritual healing needs that cannot be always satisfied in the everyday life processes.

A key priority in the modern research initiatives shall be given to the theoretical, practical and application aspects of the physical recreation system and the relevant socio-psychological and cultural progress concepts to comprehensively explore the essence of the physical recreation and the ways to develop it in modern social practices.


  1. Ariarskiy M.A. Prikladnaya kulturologiya [Applied Culturology]. St. Petersburg: Ego publ., 2001, 288 p.
  2. Bekasova S.N. Spravochnaya literatura kak istochnik obosnovaniya ponyatiya «potentsial» [Reference literature as a source for substantiation of the concept of potential]. Vestnik Baltiyskoy Pedagogicheskoy Akademii, 2003, no. 51, pp. 8-12.
  3. Vasilyeva P.A., Lebedeva I.S. Osobennosti formirovaniya inoyazychnoy sotsiokulturnoy kompetentsii studentov tekhnicheskogo vuza [Peculiarities of foreign language socio-cultural competency building in technical university students]. Zapiski Gornogo universiteta, 2011, vol. 193, pp. 104-105.
  4. Lubysheva L.I. Sotsiologiya fizicheskoy kultury i sporta [Sociology of Physical Culture and Sports]. Moscow: Akademiya publ., 2001, 240 p.
  5. Elmurzaev M.A. Vvedenie v teoriyu fizicheskoy rekreatsii. Ucheb. Posobie [Introduction to theory of physical recreation. Study guide]. St. Petersburg: PU publ., 2015, 249 p.

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Physical recreation may be interpreted as a special field of the sport theory and social practice subject to the interdisciplinary research in the marginal zones of the modern fundamental sciences including physical education, general recreation and some other natural and social sciences. Subject to natural scientific research in the physical recreation domain is mostly the human physicality that implies the bodily functionality and qualities. The relevant social sciences tend to abstract from the biological basics of physical recreation that are so important for the natural sciences. The study makes an attempt to analyze the existing viewpoints on and social conceptions of modern physical recreation.