Exercise! - Moderate or Light Fitness Level?

View Full Version : Moderate or Light Fitness Level?

11-24-2011, 08:59 AM
Hi all,
There's something that's been stumping me for a while now. I know that a lot of fitness websites that help keep track of fitness ask what level of fitness you're currently engaging in and then give options like not active, light active, moderate active, very active, etc. Although some give a description of what each one means, I somehow can never figure out which one I am!

My current exercise regime consists pretty much of walking briskly (I've read that brisk walking is walking where you can still talk while you walk but it's difficult, though not impossible, so that's what I'm going by) about 5-6 times a week. However, the weather here (I'm in Israel) has been off and on cold and rainy, so sometimes I can't walk. When that happens, then I do a Leslie Sansone DVD type thing which usually consists of the equivalent of a 2 mile brisk walk.

Is that considered light exercise or moderate exercise?

It's also important to me to know because I'm trying to get into calorie counting to lose weight again and I'm looking at those daily caloric calculators to try and figure out what I need. So exercise plays a big factor in figuring that out and the difference in caloric intake for someone who does light exercise as opposed to someone who does moderate exercise can sometimes vary greatly.


11-24-2011, 09:32 AM
What does it feel like to you? Do you feel like you are lightly exerting yourself or moderately? For some people, a brisk walk would be light exercise. For others it would be moderate. If you feel like your heart rate is getting up there, and you are sweating and breathing faster or deeper, then I'd call it moderate. If you feel more like you are strolling, could do the workout in regular clothes and then go have lunch with your friends without changing, I'd call it light.

11-24-2011, 11:16 AM
Thanks, seagirl. That clarifies things a lot. I would call my exercise moderate because I am definitely sweating (though I wouldn't say in buckets :D) and by the time I get back from my walk or finish the DVD, I have to shower, so it's not a "could meet a friend for lunch right afterwards kinds of thing.


11-27-2011, 01:34 AM
IMO in terms of calorie counting that type of exercise would be light exercise. A 2 mile walk is only going to burn 100 - 200 cals depending on your size, how intensely you're walking and you're fitness level, so it doesn't require you to eat any additional calories.

11-27-2011, 04:12 AM
I would agree with ncuneo. I consider walking light exercise. I count short runs (30-45 minutes), most hiking, tough yoga, 60 minute elliptical workouts at moderate. Long hikes with lots of elevation, runs more than 60 minutes, lifting to failure I consider all strenuous.

I love walking and incorporate it into my weekly activity, but like ncuneo said, it only burns a couple hundred calories. Compared to how I feel after other activity, and because I like to default on the conservative side of guesstimating how much I burn, I count it as light.

Not necessarily that you should, these are just my personal points of reference.

11-27-2011, 08:39 AM
I've been wondering about that, too. I walk at least 3 miles, 6 days a week. More often than not, I also take a kick-a** fitness class at the gym 2-3 times a week, and those last an hour. So, essentially, I'm working out 1-2 hours a day, 6 days a week.

But those calculators are not just asking about exercise. "Activity level" includes what you do beyond exercise. I try to keep moving in my house. I'm often up cleaning, cooking, etc. My job involves some sitting, but I'm not sitting for long stretches. What is your day like beyond official exercise?

Even considering all of the above, I err on the side of caution and choose "light active." I would rather do that than eat too many calories.

11-28-2011, 01:32 AM
Even considering all of the above, I err on the side of caution and choose "light active." I would rather do that than eat too many calories.

I think this is the most important take-away point. Whatever exercise each of us does, it's likely something we do regularly, and something our body is fairly accustomed to. This means we are more efficient at doing it (walking, cleaning/cooking, running, biking) and thus burn fewer calories. Better to err on the side of caution and assume our normal, non-exhaustive movement and walks are light. We can always up calories later if it's too low.