Metabolic equivalent of task (MET), or simply metabolic equivalent, is a physiological measure expressing the energy cost of physical activities. wikipedia
See Metabolic Calculator.
One MET is defined as the ratio of metabolic rate (and therefore the rate of energy consumption) during a specific physical activity to a reference metabolic rate, set by convention to:
Originally, a MET of 1.0 was considered as the resting metabolic rate (RMR) obtained during quiet sitting. MET values of activities range from 0.9 (sleeping) to 18 (running at 17.5 km/h or a 5:31 mile pace). wikipedia
The Compendium of Physical Activities was developed for use in epidemiologic studies to standardize the assignment of MET intensities in physical activity questionnaires. Dr. Bill Haskell from Stanford University conceptualized the Compendium and developed a prototype for the document. webpage
The Compendium was used first in the Survey of Activity, Fitness, and Exercise (SAFE study - 1987 to 1989) to code and score physical activity records. Since then, the Compendium has been used in studies worldwide to assign intensity units to physical activity questionnaires and to develop innovative ways to assess energy expenditure in physical activity studies.
Version 1 of the Compendium was published in 1993 with updates in 2000 and 2011.