How to Calculate Calories Burned

Morning run
Walking has a MET value of 3.8. (Image: Oleksandr Briagin/iStock/Getty Images)

When it comes to burning calories, your activity options are limitless. But with so many different activities to choose from, it makes using a single calorie formula difficult. The solution is to rely on the Metabolic Equivalent of Task value. Every activity has its own MET value that reflects how much oxygen your body consumes doing the ctivity. Input the MET value into your calorie formula to get the calorie burn for a specific activity.

Step 1

Convert your weight in pounds to kilograms by dividing by 2.2. For example, if you weigh 176 pounds then you weigh 80 kilograms.

Step 2

Look up the MET value of the activity that you performed. These figures are available from the websites of the National Cancer Institute and the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine as well as in the Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide, which is available on the website of the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health. For example, general cycling has a MET value of 8.0.

Step 3

Multiply the MET value by your weight in kilograms. If you weigh 80 kilograms and perform an activity like cycling with a MET value of 8.0, for example, this would give you 640 as a product.

Step 4

Multiply the product by the time you performed the activity in hours to get the number of calories you burned. For example, if you cycled for 30 minutes then you would multiply 640 by 0.5 to get 320 calories.

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