Being active with MET values

Postdate: 20 December 2017

Exercising regularly is often seen as a time consuming activity. Just playing with MET values might improve your health, because being more active activates the immune system. In the end, an office life asks for an active posture for the whole day, not just for 30 minutes.

‘The body achieves what the mind believes’

Met values

Small amounts make a big difference; this is especially the case with exercising next to a busy job. It is not necessary to sweat for an hour after work, when you spend most of the day sitting. Every activity is connected to a MET value, a measurement developed by Stanford University. With MET you increase your metabolism, of which your body benefits, according to professor Maria Hopman. The abbreviation MET means the Metabolic Equivalent of a Task, and indicates how much energy a certain physical activity costs per hour. This way you can compare activities like gardening, walking the dog, vacuum cleaning and strength exercise in the gym. Look below for a small overview of different activities to get an idea. The values are based on averages, because the MET is dependent on intensity, duration and personal effort.


Cycling, 20 km/h: 8 mets
Cycling, 28 km/h: 12 mets
Strength exercise: 3,5 to 6 mets
Hatha yoga: 2,5 mets
Rope jumping: 12,3 mets
Cooking, dishwashing, vacuum cleaning, mopping: 3,4 mets
Dusting, laundry and groceries: 2,3 mets
Hiking, 5 km/u: 4,3 mets
Running, 8 km/u: 8,3 mets
Walking the stairs: 8 mets
Lifting heavy things: 8 mets
Standing with light activity: 3 mets
Planting, weeding: 4,3 mets
Loan mowing: 5,5 mets
Tennis: 7,3 mets
Recreational swimming: 5,8 mets
Fishing, standing: 3,5 mets
Football: 7 tot 10 mets
Strolling < 3 km p/u: 2 mets
Horse riding: 5,5 mets

Being active for 15 minutes

It is important to move for a bit every half hour. Moderate to intense exercise does not have a lot of effect if you spend the rest of the time sitting. The art is not only to move more, but also to sit less. Even by standing you unconsciously flex your leg muscles. When you sit you consume only 1 mets, with walking at work you consume 3,5 mets. Wit a minimum of 500 MET-minutes of activity per week your are already fine. You can calculate this by multiplying the MET values with the amount of minutes. MET values are therefore a good guide if you would like to be more active.

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