Meet the MET

If the first thing you thought of when you read that headline was a certain baseball team in New York, you are slightly mistaken – though they did have a pretty catchy tune about the team back in the good old days. But the MET we’re referring to is, of course, the Metabolic Equivalent of a Task, which measures how much energy is used during a certain movement, compared with being still – basically, it helps show if your exercise is actually exercise. In fact, the Compendium of Physical Activities has an expansive list of activities and their respective METs which is worth a look (assuming you didn’t already have that website bookmarked). A few highlights, according to the 2011 compendium stats:
• Hang Gliding: 3.5 METs
• Billiards: 2.5 METs
• Handball: 12.0 METs
• Competitive Soccer: 10.0 METs

You Look Familiar…Have We MET?


And the list goes on…and on…and on. So I won’t spoil the rest for you (spoiler alert: Sports Spectating is 3.3 METs, but only if you get really excited or emotional, like these guys during the 2010 World Cup). The topic of METs came up in a recent article in the New York Times’ health and fitness blog asking if horseback riding is good exercise. And the answer is, yes, it’s very good exercise for the horse (it’s not clear if it was a horse that originally submitted the question though) and can also be good exercise for the rider, depending on how strenuous the ride is. To be exact, horseback riding is about 5.5 METs.

But the article didn’t address one glaring question. If you’re like me, whenever you think of horseback riding, you also think of one of the world’s most popular exercises: yes, you guessed it, Prancercise. So of course the question remains, what is the MET of Prancercise? For the time being, it’s unknown. One possibility is that the intensity of Prancercise is just too overwhelming for the MET statisticians. We can only assume that someone at the Compendium is working around the clock to find an answer. But until then, the next time you’re getting in your daily physical activity and wondering how active it really is, just jump online and Meet the MET.