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I am doing a simple strength training routine once every four days (Sxxx). I need to introduce a very low impact cardio day in this routine (e.g. SxCx). I would like to use the stationary bike (not the treadmill or elliptical machine) and I would like to keep it very simple, avoiding such things as intervals or HIIT. Just "classic" steady cardio on the bike.

It does not need to be the most efficient program. I just want to be sure I don't do anything unhealthy out of ignorance.

The bike has a built-in hear rate instant meter. How should I approach training my heart under that circumstances? Is the following naive program unhealthy or ineffective? 30 minutes at 60% of my max HR. The next session (four days later) I aim for 61% and so and so until reaching 30 min at 80% of my max heart rate (or until the month of June arrives and I switch to swimming).

For those who are about to answer "it depends on your goals": well, my average resting heart rate just before quitting running was 53 bmp, and now it is 66 bpm. I just want to lower it down again. The strength training alone is definitely not training my heart.

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Trying to maintain 80% max HR for 30 minutes is probably going too far - you usually won't reach that unless you're doing something fairly intense. That said, it will be fairly hard to do something "unhealthy" unless you have a heart condition, or try biking for way too long (2+ hrs) without having built up endurance first.

Resting and Max heart rate values are considered to be more of a byproduct of good cardio, rather than directly trainable. If your bike also has a speedometer, instead of trying to increase your heart rate, try increasing your speed or biking duration a tiny bit each time instead. As your heart becomes stronger you will be able to go faster for more time at the same heart rate.

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  • Thanks. That was long ago however, and I interrupted doing that because my heart adapted very fast and I found myself having to bike so hard that my knees started hurting. I am swimming now. Since my swimming form sucks, my heart pumps very fast and I have to stop quite often, breathless. At the end of the day this is working like sort of HIIT... (nevertheless, my form improves slowly). – Mephisto Jul 10 '15 at 1:53

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