Of the recreational interests I have pursued that have stuck with me for a long time, I think many have a cathartic function in the sense that they relieve stress by allowing me to experience suffering in a form that is healthier because it is easier to address. Exercise, like riding a bike, is not just about looking at the scenery, it is also about pushing my physical endurance to its limits. A runner thrills at testing her stamina to see how long she can persevere before giving up. (Unfortunately, more often the runner's body fails before her stubborn resolve.) Tests of physical ability and stamina are varied, and can even involve forms of deprivation; this is because self-control is synonymous with stamina. My interest in saunas is no different. For some people, or at least myself, the mild suffering of enduring the high temperature and humidity inside a sauna before re-emerging into the cool outdoor air is very cathartic. And honestly, it is a stretch to describe the experience of a good sauna as coming anywhere near "suffering." Coincidentally, from Wikipedia I learned: catharsis is a Greek word meaning "cleansing" or "purging". It is derived from the verb καθαίρειν, kathairein, "to purify, purge," and it is related to the adjective καθαρός, katharos, "pure or clean." A sauna can help purge physical and mental stress from your body, while purging your skin of toxins.
Aristotle said: "We educate ourselves so that we can make a noble use of our leisure." The idea that education is for the mind and soul, for the whole person – the citizen, the parent, the voter, the reader, the lover, the traveller, the human being in the round – is lost to view in trying to make university education a mere continuation of school for the same sausage-machine purpose of churning out employees. - AC Grayling