I do do the occasional bike ride at weekends, but I feel that isn't very systematic and also eats into my family time. I suppose I could have saved the membership money and just gone for systematic jogging and cycling first thing in the morning; but to be honest I felt I needed to make a financial commitment to increase the chances that I would stick with it (sunk cost fallacy I know, but it works psychologically). Also with the membership you do get advice from the instructors, which saves me trying to navigate through websites or read up on it from elsewhere.
I have never done regular exercise, and need all the incentives I can manufacture to stick at it. The really big incentive is of course the most intangible one of increased longevity. My father died as a result of an unexpected heart attack changing planes in JFK airport when he was 62, in 1990. His father had dropped dead beside him, also after a sudden heart attack, at church one day in 1949; he was 68. My mother's father also died of a sudden heart attack in his mid-60s, in 1977. The pattern is clear, and so is the moral. My paternal grandfather was probably the fittest of the three, and also lived longest. (Though like many ex-colonials he suffered from the aftereffects of malaria, etc.)
Anyway, I have now done two gym sessions and feel very virtuous. They have put me on what is presumably the standard beginner's programme, 15 minutes biking, 20 on the walking belt, 15 on the striding machine, and then a few dozen abdominal stretches. I did it for the first time on Tuesday and felt tired but good for the rest of the day. Wednesday was hell, though, with every part of my body (especially the abs) thoroughly aching. But I got out of the house early enough on Thursday to do it again, and now feel fine this morning.
Timing is a bit of an issue. The gym's location makes it tricky to get to work on time even leaving home an hour early. Also I am still looking for somewhere to get a decent breakfast - there are loads of places between gym and office which will do the standard Belgian croissants and coffee, but I do hanker after bacon and eggs.
Anyway, will report back here regularly on how it goes.
On a largely different topic, thank you everyone for your birthday wishes yesterday! And I particularly appreciated the thoughtfulness of this card (you know who you are - it was in a locked entry so I feel I can't give you the credit you deserve).