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Met - Human Metabolic Rates

Metabiolic Rate - Met - is used as a measuring unit for human body heat or power production.

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The metabolic rate, or human body heat or power production, is often measured in the unit "Met". The metabolic rate of a relaxed seated person is one (1) Met, where

1 Met = 58 W/m2 (356 Btu/hr)

The mean surface area, the Du-Bois area, of the human body is approximately 1.8 m2 (19.4 ft2).  The total  metabolic heat for a mean body can be calculated by multiplying with the area. The total heat from a relaxed seated person with mean surface area would be

58 W/m2 x 1.8 m2 = 104 W (356 Btu/hr)

Typical metabolic rates for some common activities are indicated in the table below:

Human Metabolic Rates
ActivityMet - Metabolic Rate 
W/m2W1) Btu/hr1)Met Units

Reclining, Sleeping

46 83 282 0.8
Seated relaxed 58 104 356 1.0
Standing at rest 70 126 430 1.2
Sedentary activity (office, dwelling,
school, laboratory)
70 126 430 1.2
Car driving 80 144 491 1.4
Graphic profession - Book Binder 85 153 522 1.5
Standing, light activity (shopping, laboratory, light industry) 93 167 571 1.6
Teacher 95 171 583 1.6
Domestic work -shaving, washing and dressing 100 180 614 1.7
Walking on the level, 2 km/h 110 198 675 1.9
Standing, medium activity (shop assistant,
domestic work)
116 209 712 2.0
Building industry - Brick laying (Block of 15.3 kg) 125 225 768 2.2
Washing dishes standing 145 261 890 2.5
Domestic work - raking leaves on the lawn 170 306 1043 2.9
Domestic work - washing by hand and ironing (120-220 W) 170 306 1043 2.9
Iron and steel - ramming the mold with a
pneumatic hammer
175 315 1075 3.0
Building industry - forming the mold 180 324 1105 3.1
Walking on the level, 5 km/h 200 360 1228 3.4
Forestry - cutting across the grain with a
one-man power saw
205 369 1259 3.5

Volleyball, Bicycling (15 km/h)

232 418 1424 4.0
Calisthenics 261 470 1602 4.5
Building industry - loading a wheelbarrow with stones and mortar 275 495 1688 4.7

Golf, Softball

290 522 1780 5.0
Gymnastics 319 574 1959 5.5

Aerobic Dancing, Swimming

348 624 2137 6.0

Sports - Ice skating, 18 km/h, Bicycling (20 km/h)

360 648 2210 6.2
Agriculture - digging with a spade (24 lifts/min.) 380 674 2333 6.5

Skiing on level (good snow, 9 km/h), Backpacking, Skating ice or roller, Basketball, Tennis

405 729 2487 7.0

Handball, Hockey, Racquetball, Cross County Skiing, Soccer

464 835 2848 8.0

Running 12 min/mile, Forestry - working with an axe (weight 2 kg. 33 blows/min.)

500 900 3070 8.5
Sports - Running in 15 km/h 550 990 3377 9.5

1) 1.8 m2 (19.4 ft2)

The metabolic rates varies from person to person and the intensity of the activity.

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