A handful of studies have shown that people who are physically active report being happier and feel better about themselves. Not only does exercise give your body a good workout, but it has also been shown to improve mental health, cognitive function, sleep quality and lower blood pressure. There are plenty of benefits to working out, and it’s something that should be considered by everyone whether they’re young or old, healthy or struggling with chronic health conditions.

Here are five real people who discuss why they exercise:

1. Melissa discusses how working out has helped her overcome depression and anxiety.

“I’ve been through a lot of struggles in my life and I’m 62 years old. I was diagnosed with severe depression in 2011 and anxiety in 2012. At the time, I didn’t know what to do. After just six weeks of exercising consistently, my depression decreased by 50%, my anxiety by 75%, and my overall quality of life improved drastically.”

2. Jessica credits exercise with helping her deal with the stress of giving birth to her twins.

“In the early stages of my pregnancy, I was really struggling with the stress of having twins at 37 years old… Exercise completely changed everything for me. It allowed me to manage stress in a better way, which made breastfeeding a lot easier.”

3. Jennifer reports that working out has helped her manage her chronic pain syndromes.

“Without fail, every time I am pain-free from treatment for one day…it means that I exercised, because when my chronic pain is really bad, any movement is torture.”

4. Jordan reports that working out has improved his cognitive function and overall moods.

“Exercise definitely makes me happy both mentally and physically… When I don’t work out, I tend to be negative moody all the time; when I work out regularly though, my mood usually stays positive even after intense workouts.”