Understanding the measurements on cardio equipment can be confusing and irrelevant. But once you understand them it is a good way to measure success. HR or heart rate, distance, are usually understood, but METS may be another indicator on your equipment that isn’t. METs stands for Metabolic Equivalent of Task, which is a unit of measurement used to estimate the energy expenditure or metabolic rate associated with various physical activities. It’s a useful way to quantify the energy cost of different activities and is often used in exercise physiology, sports science, and healthcare settings. These MET values are used to estimate the number of calories burned during specific activities and can be helpful for individuals looking to manage their weight, plan exercise routines, or assess the energy demands of different tasks. It is important to note that MET values can vary based on factors such as a person’s age, gender, weight, and fitness level, so they provide a general estimate rather than an exact measurement of energy expenditure.
One MET is defined as the amount of energy expended at rest, which is approximately equivalent to the energy consumption of sitting quietly. Different activities are assigned MET values based on their intensity in relation to this resting metabolic rate. For example, a physical activity with a MET value of 2 would mean that it requires twice as much energy as resting.
Here are some common MET values for various activities:
- Sitting quietly: 1 MET
- Walking at a slow pace (e.g., 2 mph): 2-3 METs
- Bicycling at a moderate pace (e.g., 10-12 mph): 6-8 METs
- Running at a moderate pace (e.g., 6-7 mph): 8-10 METs
- Swimming: 7-10 METs
- Vigorous weightlifting: 3-6 METs
- Gardening: 2-4 METs
Whether you want to lose weight, maintain your current weight, or gain weight, METS can help you plan your calorie expenditure. Engaging in physical activities with higher MET values, such as running or brisk walking, can help improve cardiovascular health. These activities increase your heart rate and oxygen consumption, which strengthens your heart and circulatory system. There is also another measure that can be used in correlation to METS is V02 Max or Maximal Oxygen Consumption, which is a measure of the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during intense exercise and is considered one of the most accurate indicators of cardiovascular fitness. It is typically expressed in milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min). But it is also used to assess endurance and cardiovascular health, with higher VO2 max values indicating better aerobic fitness. To test accurately it is usually determined through specialized exercise testing, often involving progressively intense treadmill or stationary bike exercise, while oxygen and carbon dioxide are monitored. But you can do a very basic test manually which would be through METS and HR.
- HR: 120 BPM (beats per minute)
- Distance: 1 klm
- Type: Walking
- Time: 12 minutes
- METS: 2-3
After 1 or 2 months test again keeping HR and Distance the same, but you should notice that Time and METS have changed. This is for the better meaning more calories being burned and more oxygen being utilized as you are going faster at a higher intensity, with the same HR rate and exercise type.
- HR: 120 BPM
- Distance: 1 klm
- Type: Walking
- Time: 10 minutes
- METS: 3-4
- If wanting to improve your health but not sure where to start, let us at DEEM Health, help you.
Mikkie Pollon (Nettles),
Certified Personal Trainer/
Holistic & Sports Nutritionist
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