I ride my bike every day that I can, to exercise my heart. It occurred to me recently, while riding, that there is a relationship between cadence and work benefits.
Cadence is the revolutions per minute of your pedals.
When you are in a low gear, your cadence rate is high but the effort is low. This is an aerobic exercise.
Aerobic exercise (also known as cardio) is physical exercise of relatively low intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process. Aerobic refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise. [ref: Wikipedia].
When you are in a high gear, your cadence rate drops to a lower number but it is harder to pedal. This exercise is anaerobic.
Anaerobic exercise is one in which oxygen is used up more quickly than the body is able to replenish it inside the working muscle. As a result, muscle fibers have to derive their contractile energy from stored substrates. Weight training is an example of such an activity.
So, I think there must be a way to determine what the ‘best’ pedal rate is for your heart. You want a good balance of aerobic and anaerobic benefits. I don’t have the answers yet but stay tuned.