This Is What Happens If You Never Do Cardio

Cardio refers to any exercise that gets your heart rate up for an extended period of time. Some people love this type of exercise and some people hate it, but there's no getting around how important it is for your health. If you're someone who hates getting in your cardio workouts, you may be tempted to skip them altogether. However, you'll lose some important health benefits if you stick to strength training alone (via Livestrong). Cardio improves your heart and lung health and helps you build up cardiovascular endurance.

According to a study by BMC Public Health, combining cardio and strength training in your workout routine provides the most health benefits as opposed to doing each one alone. People who did both types of workouts saw an improvement in weight loss and cardiovascular health. If you never do cardio, you may find it hard to move for long periods of time without getting winded. Over time, your heart may have a harder time pumping blood to other parts of your body as well.

Benefits of cardio exercise

There are many health benefits of performing regular cardio workouts. The American Heart Association recommends that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise per week. "Try getting in a 30-minute workout five or more days a week that raises your heart rate for the duration of the activity. Or try three, 10-minute workouts, five or more days a week," said clinical exercise physiologist Erik Van Iterson, PhD, MS (via Cleveland Clinic).

In addition to improving heart health, cardio can improve brain and joint health by increasing blood flow, improving memory, and improving joint range of motion. Increased blood circulation can improve skin health and allow muscles to work harder for longer periods of time. Cardio also can boost your mood. "Not only that, but it combats depression, improves your self-esteem and releases tension-fighting hormones like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine," said Dr. Van Iterson. It can even improve energy levels and help you sleep better at night. The bottom line? Don't skimp on cardio.