The Compendium of Physical Activities will have a new website home along with a 3rd update to the Adult Compendium along with a new Older Adult Compendium and Compendium for Wheelchair Users.  The new website  (https://pacompendium.com/) will include all of the new and updated resources.

Purpose of this Website

    This site is designed to provide the updated 2011 Adult Compendium of Physical Activities and additional resources. The 2011 update identifies and updates MET codes that have published evidence to support the values. In addition, new codes have been added to reflect the growing body of knowledge and popular activities. 

     Foreign Language Translations: Foreign language translations of the 2011 Compendium can be found under the 'Compendia' tab at the top of the page.  The Compendium is currently available in 8 languages:


Website Search Tips: Enter keywords into the search box found on the upper right hand corner of the page. This will search and return results from the entire site including PDF files. Oftentimes keywords are found on multiple pages (e.g., tractor can be found on Lawn & Garden, Occupation, and Transportation). Once you have selected a specific page, use CTRL + F to bring up another search box that will search the entered keyword only on that page.

New Activity Updates: A new page has been created to provide new information about activities that were not published in the 2011 Compendium. These activities can be found on the Activity Categories page.


    The Adult 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 Adult Compendium and developed a prototype for the document. The Adult 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 Adult Compendium was published in 1993. An updated version was published in 2000. References for the publications are below.

Definition of Terms used in the Adult Compendium

    MET (Metabolic Equivalent): The ratio of the work metabolic rate to the resting metabolic rate. One MET is defined as 1 kcal/kg/hour and is roughly equivalent to the energy cost of sitting quietly. A MET also is defined as oxygen uptake in ml/kg/min with one MET equal to the oxygen cost of sitting quietly, equivalent to 3.5 ml/kg/min.

5-Digit Code: Adult Compendium activities are classified by a 5-digit code that identifies the category (heading) as the first 2 digits and type (description) of activity as the last three digits. Example:

Code        Heading                Description

01010        01 - Bicycling         010 - Bicycling, < 10 mph, bicycling to work or for pleasure (Taylor code 115)


    When using the Adult Compendium to estimate the energy cost of activities, investigators should remind participants to recall only the time spent in movement. The Adult Compendium was not developed to determine the precise energy cost of physical activity within individuals, but rather to provide a classification system that standardizes the MET intensities of physical activities used in survey research. The values in the Compendium do not estimate the energy cost of physical activity in individuals in ways that account for differences in body mass, adiposity, age, sex, efficiency of movement, geographic and environmental conditions in which the activities are performed. Thus, individual differences in energy expenditure for the same activity can be large and the true energy cost for an individual may or may not be close to the stated mean MET level as presented in the Compendium.

Using the Adult Compendium

    Researchers may download the compendium for use in their research. The Adult Compendium is free to use for commercial purposes. Please don't change MET levels or combine activities with different MET levels. Lippencott, Williams, and Wilkins, holds the copyright on the published Compendium in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Teachers may use the compendium or portions thereof for educational purposes with their students. Websites may link to the compendium by linking to this page: https://sites.google.com/site/compendiumofphysicalactivities/. Those with questions about use of the Compendium for these or other purposes should e-mail Barbara Ainsworth at Barbara.Ainsworth@asu.edu

Suggested citation:


Ainsworth BE, Haskell WL, Herrmann SD, Meckes N, Bassett Jr DR, Tudor-Locke C, Greer JL, Vezina J, Whitt-    Glover MC, Leon AS. 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities: a second update of codes and MET values. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2011;43(8):1575-1581.


Ainsworth BE, Haskell WL, Herrmann SD, Meckes N, Bassett Jr DR, Tudor-Locke C, Greer JL, Vezina J, Whitt-Glover MC, Leon AS. The Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide. Healthy Lifestyles Research Center, College of Nursing & Health Innovation, Arizona State University. Retrieved [date] from the World Wide Web.


Past Compendium References

2000 Compendium

Ainsworth BE, Haskell WL, Whitt MC, Irwin ML, Swartz AM, Strath SJ, O'Brien WL, Bassett DR Jr, Schmitz KH, Emplaincourt PO, Jacobs DR Jr, Leon AS. Compendium of Physical Activities: An update of activity codes and MET intensities. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2000;32 (Suppl):S498-S516.

The abstract can be found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10993420

1993 Compendium

Ainsworth BE, Haskell WL, Leon AS, Jacobs DR Jr, Montoye HJ, Sallis JF, Paffenbarger RS Jr. Compendium of physical activities: Classification of energy costs of human physical activities. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 1993;25:71-80.

The abstract can be found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8292105