Our expert says:
The sensation of being out of breath and having a high heart rate are only related sometimes, under certain conditions. However, there are so many other factors that influence this as well. What you are observing is how different activities produce different breathing and heart rate responses. You may observe the same thing if you do weight lifting - no breathlessness but elevated heart rate and muscle soreness. The key in your case is something called economy or efficiency, I suspect that you are pretty efficient on the bike, you can cycle at a high cadence and workrate, causing your heart rate to rise fairly high but without feeling breathless because you are able to use oxygen fairly efficiently. On the stair climber, however, you may not be as efficient and so your overall work rate is relatively low, producing a low heart rate but high breathing rate as you sort out in part the co-ordination of breathing and the struggle against being inefficient. It's not a problem, you just have to understand how the heart rate works and then interpret the value according to the activity you are doing, and not always looking at it the same.
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