Tuning in to make a more entertaining exercise routine.

The second Friday of January is called "Quitter's Day," according to a newspaper article about health resolutions written by a guy whose creativity obviously was fueled by a bottle of energy drink that was only half filled.

An actual holiday for giving up is listed on a calendar of odd celebrations. Jan. 17 is designated as "Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day."

Studies apparently show that two weeks or so after the first day of the year is when most people give up on the self-improvement resolutions they made on New Year's Eve.

So, when I headed off with a friend to a fitness center on the day after New Year's, I carried a gym bag that had plenty of water but wasn't stuffed with high expectations.

My friend actually verbalized his level of commitment when he announced that he wasn't planning to stay at the gym long.

"I'm really just going to get out of the house," he explained. "But, we can stay as long as you want because when I get home I'm supposed to take down Christmas decorations."

Working It Out

My friend also admitted that the only reason he offered to take me to the gym as his guest was because his wife was busy getting boxes for the decorations out of the attic. I thought it was considerate of him to offer, although his spouse might have a different view of it.

Regardless of his intentions, he said he needed to take somebody along because he liked to see someone else he knows suffering at the same time.

So, following our arrival, after I stuck my gym bag in a locker then headed out to the workout floor, I knew I had to temper any dedication to improving my physical fitness that had lingered since I made — regrettably, announced — my resolution work out more often this year.

Putting it in more appealing terms, to match my friend's level of enthusiasm, I needed to conserve my energy. I needed to pace myself. I needed to make sure that I didn't peak too soon — like that day — in my quest to work myself into better shape.

That's why I cut down on the speed of my treadmill, sort of strolling, as if this fitness thing was just a walk in the park. I lifted less weight on the leg-strengthening machine because, really, how much am I leaping these days? And I pedaled more slowly on the stationary bicycle. Why not? The machine and I weren't actually going anywhere anyway, so why shouldn't I enjoy not making the trip?

Finding A Purpose

Enjoy might be a strong word for working out. I've always doubted that many people actually enjoy exercising. They might be proud of themselves making the effort to become more physically fit, and they very well could be satisfied with the results of their workouts. But, the actual moments of sweating, breathing with increasing difficulty, making more and more of your muscles sore, and sort of wobbling from machine to machine probably are not so pleasurable to most people.

That's why I decided to make my workout routine as manageable as possible. According to those studies, I was only going to keep it up for another week and a half. Why get in too good of shape if I was only going to soften up again?

I even prepared for my physical decline by watching the televisions hanging in the fitness center far more than I looked at the digital numbers on the exercise machines that told me how many calories I'd burned.

Then it dawned on me. The gym runs specials on membership at the start of the year. Joining a gym might be cheaper than buying cable. I could come to "work out" four or five times a day — often during prime time. I could just sit on an exercise bike, put on ear pods, and watch whatever shows interested me. I wouldn't even have to pedal unless a gym worker started getting suspicious.

With this kind of exercise/entertainment regimen, I likely could keep my fitness resolution a lot longer than the middle of January — probably until the networks start telecasting re-runs.