How MET Levels Impact Your Daily Life

KURA Care
2 min readApr 21, 2023
Photo by Anna Shvets: https://www.pexels.com/photo/aged-tennis-player-with-ball-and-racket-5067814/

Written by KURA Writer- Rylee Nelson

Regular exercise helps improve physical and mental health and reduces chronic disease risk. However, one thing people may need clarification on is how much exercise is right for them. This is where MET levels can come into play and help with this uncertainty. MET stands for metabolic equivalent, and as an activity’s intensity increases, the MET level also does. MET level of 1 is used as the baseline because it is the energy used at rest (WebMD, 2021).

Tracking your METs can provide realistic activities or exercises you can do daily and help with setting exercise goals. If you are unsure what MET levels you should aim for, ask your doctor, as many factors can impact it. Below are some examples of activities and their MET levels from light to vigorous (Wellsource, 2008):

Light (less than 3):
● Leisurely walking at 2.5 mph- 2.5
● Light housework- 2.5
● Stretching- 2.5
● Playing catch- 2.5
● Slow dancing- 2.9

Moderate (3–6):
● Bowling- 3.0
● Gardening- 4.0
● Tai chi- 4.0
● Playing with dog- 4.0
● Mowing lawn- 5.5
● Weightlifting- 6.0

Vigorous (more than 6):
● Recreational swimming- 6.0
● Tennis- 7.0
● Jogging 12 min per mile- 8.0
● Karate and Taekwondo- 10.0

You can use an equation or an online MET calculator to calculate the number of calories you burn with each activity. The equation is (MET level x 3.5 x Weight in kg x minutes of activity) / 200 = calories burned per minute. Utilizing MET levels to track your exercises can allow you to understand the energy expenditures of your activities. Whether you like to garden, go on walks, play tennis, or do other activities, they all count towards your MET level goals. So look up your favorite activities’ MET levels and start incorporating them into your daily routine.

References:

Hall, D. (2008). Met levels of common recreational activities — hypersites. Wellsource Inc. Retrieved April 14, 2023, from https://media.hypersites.com/clients/1235/filemanager/MHC/METs.pdf

WebMD. (2021, October 25). What are met scores and how are they used to improve fitness? WebMD. Retrieved April 13, 2023, from https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/what-is-a-met-score

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