Significance of METs and Watts
by Scott Rejholec
Have you ever been on a piece of exercise equipment, and the screen is showing your METS and Watts, but you have no idea what they are?
Well, this article will cover the significance of both of these measurements.
METs stand for metabolic equivalence. A MET is used to determine the rate at which the body consumes oxygen and produces energy relative to your body weight.
1 MET=rest. For example, if you are doing an activity at 3 METs your body is working three times harder than at rest, because it is requiring more oxygen.
Why are METS important? METs measure the energy cost of physical activity.
For instance, something that requires 1-3 METs is considered light activity, 3-7 is moderate, and 7 and above is vigorous. They provide a method of describing exercise tolerance of an individual.
The next time you are on the treadmill or bike, take a note of what your METs are and compare them to the list of activities below that correlate to the energy expenditure.
1-3 METs: Card playing, darts, dusting, shopping, walking 2 mph, and washing dishes.
3-5 METs: Raking leaves, square dancing, walking 3-4 mph, and weeding.
5-7 METs: Pushing a lawn mower, sexual intercourse, shoveling dirt, tennis and walking 4-5 mph.
7-9 METs: Carrying 20 pounds upstairs, jogging 5 mph, kayaking, snowshoeing and swimming.
More than 9 METs: Cross-country skiing, running faster than 6 mph and shoveling heavy snow.
So what is Watts? I’m sure if you’ve ever had to change a light bulb you have had to look at how many Watts the bulb uses. Watts are a measure of power.
On that piece of equipment, Watts measure the power that you are producing while exercising. The higher your output, the higher your MET level.
For example, an average light bulb requires 60 Watts of energy. If you can maintain 60 Watts on a piece of equipment, you would be able to power a light bulb.
Here is an interesting fact, there are 746 Watts in one horsepower.
What are some ways to increase Watts? Watts are measured from the level of resistance and RPMs (Revolutions per Minute). Increasing one of the two, or both, will increase your Watts.
I hope this could bring some light into the numbers on the screen, and that you can apply those numbers now.
If you’ve hit a plateau, or your workouts are becoming stale, try focusing on those numbers to challenge yourself!
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As always, make it a great day!