This example demonstrates calculating, tracking, and fulfilling the need to exercise.

Calculating my needs

As a 25-year-old with a high metabolic rate, I estimate that I need approximately 300–400 MET-minutes per day or 2000–3000 MET-minutes per week.

Tracking my needs

Using the objective measurements of exercise needs, I try to measure the number of MET-minutes of my daily physical activities, based on the length of time spent exercising and the intensity of the exercise.


Calculate the length of time of the exercise in minutes.

  • I biked for 15 minutes, twice (to and from a store) for a total of 30 minutes of biking.
  • I played a casual game of soccer for about 90 minutes.

Calculate the intensity of the exercise in metabolic equivalents (METs).

  • I was biking at a moderate pace (with an estimated average speed of 10 mph) for approximately 5 METs.
  • I estimate that the soccer game was around 9 METs.

Calculate the MET-minutes of the exercise.

  • Multiplying 30 minutes by 5 METs, the product is 150 MET-minutes for biking.
  • Multiplying 90 minutes by 9 METs, the product is 810 MET-minutes for the soccer game.

Calculate the sum of MET-minutes in the day.

  • Together, the 150 MET-minutes of biking and 810 MET-minutes of soccer totals 960 MET-minutes for the day.

Fulfilling my needs

I am currently far ahead of my daily exercise needs, but as for my weekly needs, I know I need to stay active tomorrow. I only get to play team soccer once a week, so I have to intentionally set aside time to exercise during the other days of the week.

Setting goals

Given these factors, I will strive for 200–300 MET-minutes of exercise tomorrow. Because my daily work requires me to spend most my day sitting at a computer, I need to intentionally take time to exercise. To achieve my goal tomorrow, I will mow the lawn for 30 minutes at 5.5 METs for a total of 165 MET-minutes mowing, and then I will also try to walk or casually bike for 20 minutes at approximately 3 METs for a total of 60 MET-minutes walking or casually biking. This should total around 225 MET-minutes of physical activity tomorrow.

Building patterns and habits

Over the course of the week, I will strive to keep track of which exercises were most effective and incorporate them into a consistent exercise schedule.