I regard this as unhealthy for a reason that has nothing to do with mental health. Quite simply: it's easier for me to exercise when my mental landscape is entertaining.
One of the hardest things about exercising is that it's boring. When I'm out jogging, the easiest thing to think about is jogging. These thoughts are predictable, and along the lines of How long have I been jogging? How much longer do I have to do this? Is that mostly-healed blister on my foot going to bother me? Gosh, my thighs hurt. I'll have jogged a mile soon. How much longer do I have to do this? Repeat for 30 minutes. If you can. After a mile and a half of that I'm more than ready to quit.
People who exercise find many ways to deal with the boredom. This is why gyms have TV sets. Some people listen to audio books. I've not had the patience for audio books (it takes at least four times as long to listen to a story as to read it, and I find it harder to concentrate on an audio book than on a written one.) I don't watch network television and even with a Blockbuster subscription I haven't watched a video in two or three weeks.
Sometimes I avoid boredom by calling a friend and exercising "with" him. But mostly, I escape into daydreams.
Having good daydreams to distract me from the uberdull "is it much further now" line of thinking makes a huge difference. For most of the last few weeks I haven't had anything on my mind while exercising, and I've been doing the bare minimum of required exercise as a result. I was doing well to jog two miles.
So last night, when I left work tob jog, I told myself to *work* at daydreaming. I had to8 come up with something. I bounced around among topics, but mostly stuff centered on bard_bloom's +terrible butterflies+ game. Ideas I had for magic domains if I run my own version of it, conversations my PC might have, things my PC might do, daydreams about possible far future events, and so on. I find that with RPGs I'm playing and books that I'm writing, I'll have some of the same fanfic-style daydreams that I have over books that I've read. The "what if?" daydreams with events that don't match canon, or the ones that extend past the scope of the story, even the self-insertion ones. It's particularly weird to be contemplating what's basically fanfic of my own books, but there you go.
But to get to my subject line: while thinking about the butterfly game, I lost track of time. And nothing gets me more exercise than losing track of time. I jogged for nearly an hour without realizing how long I'd been at it.
I was reminded of a motivational speaker on exercise I'd seen once. "People often ask me 'Is biking outside better for you than a stationary bike?' And my answer on this is mixed. On the one hand, it's technically the same exercise: it works the same muscle groups, burns the same calories, etc. On the other: Have you ever been on a stationary bike and when the timer went off at the end of your scheduled workout, you thought. 'This is so much fun, I think I'll just keep going for a while'?"
So; my thanks to my GM, bard_bloom, and my fellow players, koogrr, terrycloth, and Gwendolyn, as well as to Kalakh and Samanthia, who've since retired from the +terrible butterflies+ game but who contributed a great deal to its foundation. If i ever manage to get into shape, it will be in some part thanks to all of you. <3 Yay for daydreams!