MET's - what are they?

I have been into sport for around forty years, and used to measure my fitness on how I felt after exercise, the duration of the exercise, and in recent years (in the gym) by how many calories I had burned off and what level I was exercising at.
Last week I read an article in the Guardian, which suggested that our exercise be measured in how many MET's we burned in a week, and went on to say the government suggested 600, whereas studies suggested that burning between 1800 and 3000 MET's per week could significantly lower our risk of illness and make us more healthy.
Yesterday I went to the gym and did one of my usual interval workouts on a Pulse Fitness Cross Trainer - 30 minutes at level 12 (at 70 - 75 RPM), with 5 by 1 minute intervals at level 15 (at around 90 RPM), and at the end of the 30 minutes a 5 minute cooldown to get my pulse below 100.
At the end, I had burnt 370 calories (which sounded about right), but I had only burnt 8.1 MET's :eek:.
This suggested that I would need to do around 74 of these sessions a week to reach the lower government target:eek:
Can anyone shed some light on what exactly is going on here, because I do about four of these routines a week and they are very intense.


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