Use METs for Quality Cardiovascular Conditioning

The recommended amount of cardiovascular exercise is 150-minutes per week of more, but only counting exercise minutes doesn’t consider the quality and quantity of exercise. High quality exercise, that is exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity, greatly boosts cardiovascular fitness and can even burn more body fat. To get credit for your pressing exercise sessions, it’s now suggested that you record total MET•minutes of exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends between 500-1,000 MET•minutes of exercise per week.

MET stands for metabolic equivalent. One MET represents the energy expended at seated rest. MET values for other activities are listed on this pdf document (Guide to MET levels). Use the MET guide and example below to determine your MET•minutes of exercise per week. For example, Walking briskly on a level surface at 4 mph is equal to 5 METs. An activity rated at 5 METs is 5-times more demanding than sitting. Let’s assume that this 4 mph walker, walks at this pace for 30-minutes, 5-times a week, then;

30 minutes x 5 MET x 5 days a week = 750 MET•minutes per week

Most people will find that activities rated;

  • 1.1 to 2.9 METs = Light intensity
  • 3.0 to 5.9 METs = Moderate intensity
  • 6.0 METs or more = Vigorous intensity

Through recording MET•minutes of exercise you will be able to better track the overall quality of exercise. You will find that as your fitness level improves, you’ll be able to operate at a higher MET level, with greater ease, for a longer duration. To meet the recommendations for health aim for 500-1,000 MET•minutes of exercise per week.

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