Research suggests that exercise reduces anxiety, depression and negative mood and improves self-esteem and cognitive functioning as well as providing a number of physical-health benefits. However, there is little or no mention of exercise in most mental-health textbooks. Researchers from Leeds and Bristol universities looked into the experiences of 11 men with serious mental illness, aged between 24 and 43 who were involved in a variety of exercise activities. They found that exercise contributed strongly towards the participants' feelings of social support.
Carless, David and Douglas, Kitrina - Social support for and through exercise and sport in a sample of men with serious mental illness Issues in Mental Health Nursing December 2008, 29(11), 1179-1199