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What are METs?

By Harriette Halepis
Updated May 17, 2024
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The term METs refers to metabolic equivalents. METs measure how hard your body works. There is strong evidence to support that improving your body's metabolic equivalent will effectively help you to lose weight. Simply put, without knowing what your goal MET level is, getting into top shape is nearly impossible.

Each activity that you partake in every day has a different MET level. Walking a dog has an average MET level of 2.5, while running has an average MET level of 10-16. The idea is to increase the number of METs during any given workout session. Since each person is different, calculating your own MET level will require a bit of simple math.

Men should calculate their MET by subtracting 0.11 times their age in years from 14.7. Women should calculate their MET level by subtracting 0.13 times their age from 14.7 METS. This equation will provide you with your target MET level according to gender. Once you have gathered this information, you can then work towards reaching your MET goal every time that you exercise. Modern exercise machines often have MET recorders, which can help you to keep track of your MET level.

To be on the safe side, it is best that you also pay careful attention to your pulse rate during any exercise routine. To ensure that your pulse does not exceed a safe limit, subtract your current age from the number 220. During exercise, periodically check your pulse, and slow down if your pulse rate is too fast. Keeping track of your pulse rate is easy to do, since most exercise machines include a pulse reader.

Interval training has been proven to be the most effective way of reach a target MET rate. Interval training works best by using a treadmill. To begin an interval program, increase the speed on a treadmill until you are out of breath. Make a note of your MET level while you are exercising, and try to maintain your pace for one minute. Then, rest for 60 seconds, and continue the cycle once more. For best results, try and exercise using the interval training method every day for at least 30 minutes per day.

Understanding your METS level can help you to improve your overall fitness level. On average, both men and women should have a MET level that ranges from 8-10 during intense exercise. While these numbers are not easy to achieve, regular exercise, METs monitoring, and determination will help you reach your MET goal.

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Discussion Comments
By anon1001337 — On Apr 07, 2019

Hello, Wondering the source for the equation for predicted METs by age and sex?

By anon216426 — On Sep 21, 2011

Regarding MET, is there an average MET per day one should try to achieve? I should try to get about 8.3 MET in an intense workout (30 minutes), but due to knee injury I cannot.

So I guess my question is, what would my ave MET have to be to get the same results of the intense work (30 minutes) in a 8 to 10 hour time period, where walking, working, and other less intense activities can be tracked?

By BadJohnson — On May 09, 2011

Knowing your MET or metabolic equivalents during exercise and during periods of rest is surely important to achieving top health. But don't get all your information from a book or an article. Consult a professional fitness trainer, coach, and other fitness or healthcare professional before under taking any new routine, that may put any kind of un-usual strain on your body.

By anon165882 — On Apr 06, 2011

I need information on how METS affects energy balance?

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