Russian entertainments and leisure time activities are much similar to ones in other European countries. Some national and mentality difference, way of life and family model, social limits, climate conditions, general economic situation and current regulations in the country can make the difference in the way Russian entertain and spend free time. Most of people all over complain they have less free time for themselves than their parents did. Modern Russian emphasize they are rather pressed for money than for time, which limits the choice of entertainment and free time activities.
One eighths of Russians seems to have the total shortage of free time – 12 % of people taking part in online poll complained they have no time for themselves at all. The majority of Russians (63%) however admitted having a couple of hours fee time daily and 21% informed they have some free time at weekends and on holidays. Russian women tend to have less free time they can devote to themselves compared to men as free time of an employed woman is combined with caretaking responsibilities. Most pressed for time categories are well- educated financially stable citizens of megapolices aged between 18-35.
TV remains the main source of "recreation". Watching television is the most common leisure activity for 28 % of men and women in Russia. Most Russians realize that TV is a main time killer, and they would have made more unless watched it. But a considerable percentage of the population is stuck to the screen every day after work watching soap operas, reality shows, news and feature films.
14 % of Russians name reading as their favorite pastime activity. Even though the fashion of reading is fading away in the country as it is being replaced by the media, Russians are referred to as the most reading nation. Women are estimated to read more than men. A love story, historical novel, detective story or a glamorous magazine is what can be often found in a Russian woman’s purse. Women quickly grasp the modern technologies and electronic pocketbooks are one of most popular goods in online shops among the Russian females nowadays. Retired people are still the biggest readers, spending more than half an hour reading each day.
The same number of Russians (14%) devotes free time to the family members and close people: play with children visit parents, stay with a partner. A smaller percentage of people (12%) take a walk, spend time at dacha or in the countryside. Around 11% stay at home and invest free time into personal care and sleep. 15% of Russians go fishing, hunting or have rest outdoors. 9% go out with friends, 6% of people are busy with household activities in their free time. A smaller number of Russians goes to the theater or attends concerts. Some do sports, hobbies, listen to the music, repair car, do crosswords or surf the Net. Only 2% of Russians admitted they spend free time at the computer going online or playing games.
These figures are arguable though as the highly increased level of Internet penetration has been registered in Russia in the recent years. Another research found that more than half Russian students of both sexes spend their free time online either playing games or social networking. The experts say the social communication on the internet has changed the nature of people's interrelations. It is becoming the main way of spending free time, especially among the younger people. So it would be fair to say that TV and Internet dominate as leisure time activities for Russians.
Families with children point out that going somewhere out of town, preferably to the sea shore, lake or to the mountains is the most attractive leisure. The local park or a playground is good option as well.
There are a number of huge parks, gardens, open spaces and recreation areas in Russia that have been traditionally a place of family rest and leisure. The Alexander Garden, Gorky Park, Khimki Forest, Clean Ponds, Sokolniki Park, Neskuchny Garden, Patriarch Ponds, Losiny Ostrov National Park in Moscow and Moscow Oblast, Alexander Park, Marsovo Polye, Maritime Victory Park on Krestovsky Island, Alexander Park in Saint Petersburg, Sochi National Park and others are some of most known. They are usually vast areas of dendro parks with beautiful landscape and park architecture, fine series of pools and ponds, bridges, palaces, amusements for children and a winter outdoor ice skating rinks.
A local municipal park is often the only open space for an urban resident within an easy reach from his home. It attracts all sorts of people from elderly ones that slowly stroll the alleys, sit on the benches and feed pigeons of swans and ducks in a pond. Photographers come there to hunt a lucky shot. Children play cowboys and Indians in the wilderness of pines and spruces, birches and oaks, limes and maples or just stay outdoors for walking, running, feeding squirrels and riding a bicycle. Park alleys are often full of joggers and rollerblades that escape hasty city streets. The quietness and shadow of park is a perfect meeting place for young couples and companies that stay near the water, lay on the grass, arrange picnics or play badminton. Spending time in a park has a great revitalizing and soothing effect; as one stays in the fresh air, listens to the sounds of nature and sees it change, takes a walk and gets in touch with local animals and birds. For a city dweller, surrounded by concrete and glass, visiting a park has a great therapeutic power.
The beach rest is one of most desirable leisure activities that suits anyone’s taste. The children can play in the water and build sand castles while adults just lay on the sand or pebbles, listen to the sea humming, breath in the salty sea air and sunbathe. The relaxing potential of the water is immense. Many feel the stress disappears while relaxing at the sea beach or by the river's edge. The waves are soothing as the water is gently lapping against the shore.
The beaches are usually the place of various outdoor activities and recreational playing sports games. Beach volleyball and badminton are the most popular and easy to arrange. Most public beaches in Russia have arranged badminton and table tennis facilities. Sometimes the net is not even necessary if the company of enthusiasts are eager to hit the ball or a shuttlecock. Badminton is the most regular outdoor game during a family or friends' rest out in nature.
Family weekend hiking trips or bicycle trips are popular even for families with infants as the various models of baby carriers and child seats for bicycles are available. Family leisure centers are available in most Russian big cities and provide a number of recreation and entertaining activities to suit the whole family like aqua-park, fitness-center, restaurant group, SPA salon, center of children’s leisure. The service can be quite expensive. A weekend family trip to the zoo, dolphinarium, national park or circus is what Russians try to plan in advance and do mainly for children. Baby rooms in shopping malls are a good option for a woman to manage both her free time spent on shopping and child’s entertainment.
Another research reveals that Russian women spend most of their free time after work to the household activities, while men have more freedom to do things for pleasure or just relax. 53% of women and only 39% of Russian men do cooking, cleaning, repair or other thing around the house in their spare time after work. Home food delivery services, convenience meals and home appliances are making the life of a modern Russian woman much easier and leave more free time for personal development, care, fun and entertainment.
Russian women meet friends, read books, shop or go to the cinema more than men. Nice environment and socializing is what a woman craves most. Sociologists estimate that Russian women are more frequent visitors to cafes, bars or restaurants and disco clubs then men as well. Russian eateries in big cities often have 1 to 3 male female ratio. Svetlana Kolchik, a Ria Novosti columnist thinks that “the culture of socializing is yet to emerge here. Or actually, Russian men need to catch up, because the women are out and about all right.” She has found out that men in Russia seem to need more to feel comfortable and relax and thus prefer drinking beer in the apartment complexes' backyards, or sit in a sport bars, when there's an important soccer match going on. That is why women are the major clientele of the city's locales of all sorts, except for perhaps the most ridiculously expensive places. An interesting observation was made - married women prefer go out to a bar or a restaurant for a drink or a cup of coffee rather with a female friend than with a partner. An exception is a romantic dating phase or some date or event that requires a table for two.
Men also prefer some “men only” activities like fishing, hunting, catching some steam at the banya, devote their time to hobbies, sports or auto repair in the garage. On average Russian men spend tons of time in the garage. People tend to buy a personal garage located in the same neighborhood they live. Here they wash, repair their cars, change winter or summer tire, etc and communicate with a fellow car enthusiast. Another entertainment of Russian men is football. Practically every man supports his favorite team. As long as a Russian man watches a football match you should not try to change the channel or talk to him because he won’t hear you anyway. And if a man watches football with his friends then don’t be surprises to hear applause and enthusiastic shouting. That just means that favorite team is winning.
Some Russian women share this passion and one can see quite a few women on the stadium shouting to support the favorite team. Some women also join men in paintball, mountain climbing, fishing or hunting just for pleasure. Others do it to make the relationship close and spend more time together. On average, women spend less time than men on active leisure activities.
However there are real female thrill-seekers that explore all the kinds of extreme sports and entertainments. They are eagerly exchanging the dust of museums for the dust of the roads less traveled. Russia’s natural landscape has huge potential as ecotourism destinations, extreme activities and adventure travel spots. They are cross-country cycling and kite racing on Imandra lake in Murmask region, alpinism in Altai, Elbrus adventure and climbing tours in Kislovodsk region, mountain hiking tours and whitewater and waterfall rafting in Vladivostok region, canoeing, rafting and parachute jumping in Sochi and even cycling tours through Yakutia. Some companies sometimes choose extreme activity tours as team-building exercise for their staff.
Russians quickly pick up new activities widely-spread in the west. One of which is geocaching that is catching on in Russia. The peculiarity of Russian geocaching is that the people want to share their knowledge and experience of interesting and unique places of their region. Women make no exception and are even more persistent them men in finding treasures. This exciting game is becoming one of favorite pastimes of Russian families replacing the traditional tourism. Geocaching has become not only a popular outdoor event but also a form of corporate entertainment in Russia arranged for fun and social prestige.
Another popular outdoor activity is equestrian tours and horseback rides and trips. Horse riding classes, courses and lessons are available in not only big cities but in a smaller ones, usually on the outskirts or countryside horse farms. They cater for children, women and anyone interested. Horse riding is a great workout for both the mind and body. Besides it teaches to develop the sense of trust between a human and a horse.
With the growing number of tasks a Russian woman has to perform she usually tries to structure her free time . Spending time on those things that moves woman towards certain goals is viewed as most beneficial. Good shape means much, fitness and working out is being promoted in Russia and state-of-the-art sports facilities are sprouting up everywhere. It makes more women go to gyms and fitness clubs on regular basis after work to kill the stress and exercise.
The most sociable kind of sports and also a good pastime is tennis. The fame of tennis players like Anna Kournikova and Maria Sharapova makes young Russian women learn to play tennis eagerly. Playing tennis answers almost all the requirements a woman has – nice sportswear and tennis racket lets her look sporty and sexy, a dynamic game burns extra kilos and which is more important lots of communication and fun is involved. Some women are members of local tennis communities for years and hit the courts with friends almost every weekend.
Whatever a woman does for fun or entertainment leisure activities can certainly help her feel more satisfied with life.
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