Besides being an effective way to keep your weight down and stay in shape, exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 150 minutes a week (equal to two hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity moving around can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke, reduce your blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.

In addition, findings show that regular bouts of physical activity keep diseases such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and colon and breast cancers at bay. Exercise also strengthens your muscles and bones and slows the loss of bone density, reducing the risk of hip fractures, arthritis and other conditions that affect the joints. What’s more, a consistent regimen of physical activity can help relieve pain and insomnia, boost energy levels and slow down the aging process.