Make fitness fun by revisiting old favorites like hula-hooping. (Getty Images)

Make fitness fun by revisiting old favorites like hula-hooping. (Getty Images)

No matter where you live, this is the perfect time of year to go outside and play. As it turns out, how you view what you do makes a big difference in how much you enjoy it — and how much you benefit from it if you’re trying to lose weight.

Women who went on pleasure walks enjoyed the outings more and ate less afterwards than those who were instructed to walk for exercise, according to a journal article in Marketing Letters titled “Is It Fun or Exercise?”

In a follow-up study at the finish line of a marathon, runners who enjoyed the race chose healthier snacks while those who didn’t grabbed chocolate.

The takeaway? Do what you love, think positive thoughts and make fitness fun. This includes using electronics to while away the time, taking your surroundings into consideration for safety.

“Listening to music during a run, making phone calls during a walk or watching a video during a treadmill routine may be more related to weight-loss success and to perseverance than previously thought,” said Carolina O.C. Werle of Grenoble École de Management in France. Werle collaborated with researchers from Cornell University and New Mexico State University.

But if you really want to have fun, try something new or revisit old favorites — even from childhood. Here are some suggestions:

  • See the sights from a paddleboat to get your legs in gear.
  • Dance the night away. Salsa anyone?
  • Go biking with your girls.
  • Grab a hula-hoop. How long can you keep it going?
  • Walk in a park, along the water or at a festival.
  • Hit some tennis balls.
  • Show off your Double Dutch skills or jump rope solo.
  • Enjoy a guided nature tour on a kayak, which is great for your arms.
  • Take a hike.
  • Round up some kids to play kickball or another fun game.

And if you add music to your movements, please share what’s on your playlist!

Yanick Rice Lamb, who teaches journalism at Howard University, is co-founder and publisher of

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To make sure that you do something every weekend that’s just for you, we’ll be sharing a little advice to make those 48 hours a great time to recharge your batteries, bring a little good news into your life or discover a quick and easy way to improve your health.