Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Introduction to Metabolic Equivalents (MET'S): 2842.2 to 2864.4 Miles: Entering Wyoming

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You may want to skip the dirt road and go into Belle Fourche depending on your timing, Then do an out and back to Wyoming from Belle Fourche. The road to Wyoming has wide shoulders and looks to be in good condition.
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Entering Wyoming

Wyoming is the last of the Western states. The route just crosses the border and returns to South Dakota.

Metabolic Equivalents (METS)

Metabolic Equivalents are a way to compare the intensity of different exercises. If you'd like the long story, read this article.

One MET is the amount of energy in calories you use while at complete rest. You can calculate it using this calculator. The answer will be in calories used in 24 hours while at rest. If you are interested in losing weight, divide the answer by 1,440 which is the number of minutes in a day.

If you'd like to know how many calories you burned during exercise, you can use this table. For instance, standing is 1.3 METs.

Assume my base number of calories used is 1,650, I burn 1,650/1440 calories a minute or 1.15 calories a minute. While standing, I'd burn 1.49 calories a minute while standing. For those tracking calories recognize you are only burning 1.49 - 1.15 additional  calories a minute or .34 calories a minute. Most exercise equipment does not make this adjustment and overstates the number of additional calories used.

Higher Math

Those who are proficient in spreadsheets could easily design one for their normal activities. Fitbit calculates the METs for walking and other activities that mainly involve taking steps. You can enter other exercises besides walking. It will automatically calculate activity calories. Warning: These include the "at rest" calories, so it overstates the benefit.


METs are a difficult to use without a calculator. There are many online. It's not my favorite method for fitness purposes. I prefer the Aerobic Point System. For 65% of the cardio benefits possible, earn 30 points a week. 60 points a week gets about 85% of the benefits. Each Aerobic point is worth about 40 extra calories. For example, one mile in 20 minutes burns an additional 40 calories.

The harsh truth: It takes about 90 miles of walking to lose one pound a week if a person eats the number of calories equal to their base calories. This includes random steps during the day. Aside from the physical aspect, it takes lots of walking to lose weight. 

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