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What does METs stand for on an exercise machine?

What does METs stand for on an exercise machine?

METs stands for Metabolic Equivalent.

MET (metabolic equivalent) is a term used to represent the intensity of exercise.

You may have seen METs on the display panel of a treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike.

In general:
1 MET stands for the amount of oxygen you consume and the number of calories you burn at rest.

Therefore:
If you see 4 METs displayed on the treadmill, this means:

  • You’re working 4 times as hard as you would be at rest.
  • You’re consuming 4 times as much oxygen and burning 4 times as many calories as you would be at rest.

If you see 6 METS displayed on the treadmill, this means:

  • You’re working 6 times as hard as you would be at rest.
  • You’re consuming 6 times as much oxygen and burning 6 times as many calories as you would be at rest.

Exercising at a moderate intensity, which is important for weight loss, is estimated to be 4-6 METs.

Sources:
Brooks, G.A. Fahey, T.D., & White, T.. 1995. Exercise Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and its Applications (2nd e.). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company.
 
Using METs in Program Design by Jessica W. Smith. IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 3, Number 2.



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