The purpose of the study was to identify physical fitness status of people attending recreation centres in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State. To achieve this purpose, four specific objectives each with a corresponding research question were posed and eight hypotheses were postulated. The cross-sectional survey and development research design activities were used for the study. The subjects consisted of 195 participants in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State. There were five cases of mortality rate in the study. Four activities were used to test the participants for data collection. Seven experts teaching health and physical education aided in collecting the data using the designed activities by the President Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (1998). Mean scores were used in analyzing data collected, while z-test statistics were used for verifying the eight hypothesis. The results of the study showed the level of fitness and the level of recreation attainment in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State. The findings show that participants took part in various activities for keeping themselves fit and strong in order to carry out their daily activities effectively. Also, it was revealed that the government on its own paid no little attention to recreation activities in the area. The findings further showed the administrative quality the owners had and the orderly conduct of the participants for a period of time. It also showed the dedication of the participants in the various activities and how they were able to contribute a little to the upkeep of the equipment and facilities. Lastly, based on the findings, the researcher suggested ways of improving the upkeep of the equipment and facilities, by contributing a little money in two months. Also continue in the spirit the researcher met them and they should continue to love one another in performing their activities for fitness.

Title Page
Table of Contents
List of Tables

Background to the Study
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Research Questions
Research Hypothesis
Significance of the Study
Scope of the Study

Conceptual Framework
Theoretical Framework
Empirical Studies
Summary of Literature Review

Research Design
Areas of Study
Population for the Study
Sample and Sampling Technique
Instrument for Data Collection
Method of Data Collection
Method of Data Analysis

Summary of Major Findings
Implications to the Study

Limitation of the Study
Suggestions for Further Studies

Background to the Study
People all over the world are becoming more and more health conscious. The priority has been shifting from everything else to the fact that the most important thing in life, is to keep oneself in shape and fit, and to enjoy things in life (Hasselfor, 2007). According to Fine (1994), all individuals, old and young, need leisure and recreational activities to boost their mental health. He further stated that, in most cases, too little emphasis is given to leisure planning, whereas, it is important to plan for result-oriented recreation and fitness, for adolescent and adults including the aged, experience a sense of joy and satisfaction when they participate in meaningful fitness activities.

American Association for leisure and Recreation (2005) pointed out that, recreation when used correctly and to its fullest, will recreate the body, mind and spirit. They further stated that, the need for recreation during leisure hours is of vital importance to all and sundry. People of all ages and sexes are subject to stress, generated both internally, from within and externally, from the environment and social systems. In order to cushion the effects of all these various stresses on the individuals, recreation and fitness activities will remain avenues to regain one’s bearing and to promote mental and emotional well being.

According to Melgosa (2001), short and long term relaxation is highly positive, not only for the individual but also for society in general. The people of Gboko engage in different types of recreational activities. These activities are organized by individuals, religious bodies or group of people. But the government, on its own has not made any attempt, to modernize or sustain such activities. It is observed that these activities vary from one locality to another. These activities are engaged in the evening after work, and mostly on Saturdays, by most people. The recreational activities are done by the choice of the people, who may want to attend recreational centres. According to Onifade (2003), engaging in recreational activities brings about benefits to the individuals by affecting positively their physical, social and mental health.

In today’s society, the effect, on human body, of physical and mental demands and pressures may be thought of as stress. Everyone experiences stress. Infact, a certain amount of stress is necessary to be able to perform the daily task of our lives, and to ease this stress situation, is only by engaging in recreational activities (Adeniyi, 2000). It is on this note that Uzoalor (1999) maintained that physical fitness is the organic capacity of the individual to perform the normal tasks of daily living without undue tiredness, having a reserve of strength and energy available to meet satisfactorily any emergency demand.

Payne and Dale (1998) revealed that physical fitness is achieved when the organic systems of the body are healthy and can function efficiently so as to resist disease to enable the fit person to engage in vigorous task and leisure activities, and to handle situations of emergency. Uche (2000) indicated that physical fitness is that level of physical and mental efficiency which enables us to do our jobs efficiently, to take part in recreation with vigour and enjoyment. Uti and Ojeme (2002) described physical fitness as a body condition in which an individual is able to carry out efficiently all his or her expected daily activities without getting tired and without much pain in or being hindered by any part of his body or its system. According to Ajala (1997), physical fitness reflects the ability to work with vigour and pleasure, without undue fatigue, with energy left for enjoying hobbies and recreational activities and for meeting unforeseen emergencies.

As Akindeye (2007) rightly observed, physical fitness is the ability of and individual to have sufficient energy to perform one’s work effectively without unnecessary fatigue, an still have little reserved energy to enjoy social activities and cope with emergencies after work. According Ulrich (2007), physical fitness is the ability of the human body to function with vigour and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to engage in leisure activities and to meet physical stress. The study also included married and unmarried participants that attend various recreational centres in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State.

According to Hornby (2004) marriage is a legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife. Aldous (1993) looked at marriage as a relationship of mutual emotional support, merged economy, a mutually advantageous division of labour, procreation and successful rearing of children. James (1993) revealed that marriage is by a publicly announced contract that makes legitimate the sexual union of a man and woman.

With this explanation of what marriage is, it now shows that widows and widowers belongs to the group of the married persons. Divorcees also are married persons even though the two partners may not be living under the same roof as husband and wife, hence they may have children or not. This view was supported by (Horton and Hunt 2005). Proceeding, they stated that unmarried persons are single person households. According to the scholars, most of them live with parents or relatives until they are married. There have always been some unmarried couples who live together openly as lovers rather than husband and wife.

The present study is on recreation and physical fitness. Therefore, it will be out of place to proceed without discussing recreation. It is on this point that Okunrotifa (1995) opined that recreation could be seen as an antidote to work. He continued stating that recreation takes place during leisure. It is the opposite of work. It is not forced or imposed. Omoruan (1996) sees recreation as a mental and spiritual attitude, an attitude of the mind, a condition of the soul. He further stated that recreation is an experience or activity carried out during a period of leisure, voluntarily chosen and providing pleasure or a sense of well being.

Ogunwuiyi (1998) suggests that, recreation is a positive use of leisure time rather than pursuing vice and other idle pursuit, such as gambling, drinking alcohol and back biting. He further explained that recreation is a voluntary activity free from compulsion or obligation. It is that act which is prompted by an internal motivation and the desire to achieve personal satisfaction, rather than by extrinsic motive. Ogwo and Agu (1999) revealed that, recreation is....

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