What is a MET?

Hi there! 

These past few months I have been interning at the Shady Grove Adventist  Center for Health and Fitness. What do we do there? It is a cardiac and pulmonry rehab facility that works with patients to increase their functional capacity and quality of life.

Functional capacity…what’s that? In simpler terms, it is the ability of a person to do work (and the amount of work needed) to complete everyday (“functional”) tasks. The MET, or metabolic equivalent, is the unit that is used to measure how hard your body is working at rest and during those functional activities. 1 MET is equivalent to how hard your body is working at rest…right now, reading this blog post! 🙂 

There are specific calculations that help compute how hard your body is working on certain pieces of exercise equipment. So if you are calculated of working at 3.5 METS on a treadmill…that means you are working 3.5 times harder than you are at rest! 

So what’s the big deal about all of this?…Well, at cardiac rehab, we encourage patients to care about their MET values. The staff keeps track of the MET level progression throughout the rehab program. We educate the patients that for every 1 MET increase in exercise intensity, it decreases a person’s mortality rate by 15%.  How awesome is that? This basically means that with each 1 MET Value increase during exercise, a person’s body is working and fighting against common risk factors that lead to heart disease. So if you’re curious on how to figure out your metabolic equivalents, reach out to the Salisbury Exercise Science department, or students. We are well versed in calculating and implementing MET Values for exercise. Our main resource of information is The American College of Sports Medicine. 
Check it out and keep up those MET Levels!

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