I joined a gym last weekend. It was the gym I’d been visiting on a trial basis. They have very good facilities, and are kinda sorta on the way to work. Unless I want to give up and lapse into a diabetic hypertensive blob for the (brief) remainder of my days, it was something that Had To Be Done.

And I have been using it, too. That means crawling out of bed, packing a change of clothes and getting to the gym by around 6:30 am, at the latest, which is less than pleasant. For managing to continue to do this several times a week, I have been permitting myself a few short moments of self-congratulation.

I have been concentrating on cardiovascular fitness, trying to maintain whatever progress I’ve made cycling over the summer. That means about 20 minutes on a recumbent exercise bike, then 10-15 minutes on an ergometer. But I’m aware that there are advantages to doing strength training, as well. For one thing, muscle tissue burns more calories, even at rest. For another, increased muscle tone and fitness helps prevent injuries.

The gym has a long shiny row of exercise machines that are pneumatic. You adjust the resistance by adjusting the air pressure. I think they are designed for rehab, because they operate smoothly and evenly throughout the range of motion. Perfect for me, I thought, because I could start out with minimal resistance, and work up.

So yesterday, instead of using the bike, I did 10 minutes on the ergometer to warm up, then went down the entire row of machines. Each one was designed to isolate and emphasize a single muscle group. I went very cautiously, only using enough resistance to work up a sweat, trying not to strain at all. It seemed to be a good workout.

This morning, I could hardly get out of bed. I had pains in places I didn’t know had muscles in them. It felt like the exercise fairies had stopped by my bedroom in the middle of the night, and used their magic 9-irons on me. Good lord. And the worst part is, everyone so far agrees that the soreness is MUCH worse on the second day after the workout. I may spend the day tomorrow in bed.