Long Runs for Long GainsThe benefits of cardio exercise are almost too many to name. According to Dr. Michael Olpin of Weber State University, cardio produces benefits for your mind, body and heart. A walk or a run improves your concentration and mood, reducing tension and releasing endorphins, your brain's "feel good" hormones. This type of exercise also reduces your appetite and helps your body use fat for energy, which leads to weight loss over time. Cardio enhances your heart health by decreasing blood pressure and strengthening your heart, leading to a reduced risk of heart issues in the future. When doing cardio, shoot for either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.