Does Weightlifting Count As Moderate Exercise?

Does weightlifting count as moderate exercise? The simple answer to this is: Yes, weightlifting can be count as moderate exercise. However, the answer to that question also is threefold and depends on what kind of weightlifting you opt to add to your fitness regime.

Many of us find ideal forms of exercise that we prefer, that our bodies can handle, or that are recommended by a doctor.

Especially for older people or those who are struggling with physical limitations, it is essential to know what constitutes as light, moderate, or vigorous exercise.

What Constitutes as Light, Moderate or Vigorous Exercise?

When it comes to an understanding of the various levels of exercise, it boils down to understanding the definitions of light, moderate, and vigorous exercise.

The light exercise involves any movement that does not result in an increased heart rate or breaking into a sweat.

It can be anything as simple as stretching or a light walk, loading groceries into the car, or light housework.

Moderate exercise can be understood as something that does not significantly elevate the heart rate or cause a heavy sweat. An easy walk or slow bike ride would be a good example.

A slight elevation in heart rate or a light sweat can be reached by performing a simple, moderate exercise like housework, gardening, walking, weightlifting, or a short easy jog.

Vigorous exercise is just that: vigorous physical activity. These kinds of activity would result in an elevated heart rate for long periods, a heavy sweat, and shortness of breath.

Examples of vigorous exercise would be long and quick-paced runs; cardio exercises like skipping rope or aerobic activity.

Weightlifting as a Recommended Physical Activity

Weightlifting is an advantageous activity for many ages and fitness levels.

Muscle not only burns fat, but it also supports our joints and essential areas of the body like our spine, preventing injuries from happening.

When a body has lean sources of muscle mass, they share the burden that our joints have to carry.

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults are recommended to perform weightlifting activities a minimum of twice a week.

Physical Benefits of Weightlifting

Building muscle increases a person’s strength, making them more capable of handling the physical strains of day-to-day life.

It also can have mental benefits such as increasing confidence, self-esteem, and faith in what your body can accomplish.

It can be empowering to slowly increase your weights and see yourself getting stronger and stronger.

Increasing your strength through weightlifting, also known as ‘strength training,’ also contributes to stronger bones, anxiety reduction, and promotes heart health.

How to Know if your Weightlifting is Considered Light, Moderate, or Vigorous

A good reference point to the levels of intensity in weightlifting depend upon the ease of holding a conversation.

If you can have a conversation with full sentences while weightlifting, that would be considered as light weightlifting.

If you are weightlifting and are capable of speaking a sentence or two but not holding a fluid conversation, that would be considered moderate weightlifting.

If you are unable to talk or can only produce single words while weightlifting, that would be regarded as vigorous weightlifting exercise.

Examples of Moderate Weightlifting Exercise

If you are doing some free lifting with light weights that you can easily lift without exerting yourself, rapidly elevating your heart rate, breaking into a heavy sweat, and can carry on a conversation throughout, you are engaging in moderate weightlifting exercise.

The simplest way to engage in moderate weightlifting is to integrate free weights into some regular low-impact exercises like squats, shoulder presses, stiff-leg deadlifts, bent-over rows, chest presses, and glute bridges.

The thing about these exercises is that you can do them as slowly as you like and with as much or as little weight as you want.

If you are entirely new to weightlifting, start small by adding 5-to-8-pound weights to the above exercises.

Find a weight to start with that you are comfortable lifting ten times for two or three sets. Once you master those, slowly increase your weights to build strength.

Moderate Weightlifting Exercise Instructions

Before adding weights to your exercise routine, make sure you have the moves down cold, so you are doing them correctly.

Once you add weights, your moderate weightlifting exercise will start producing results you can see and feel.

Below are some step-by-step instructions to help you get the right form before you add your weights.

These exercises are great because you don’t need equipment or a gym membership to do them regularly; you need a little time, space, and determination.

  • Squats

Most of us have heard of squats. They are great for strengthening your legs, abdominals, and backside.

1) Stand with your back nice and straight.
2) Keep your feet a little wider than hip-width apart.
3) Then slowly bend at the knees and push your backside out.
4) Engage your core and butt for the maximum results.
5) To add weights, add one in each hand, elbows bent, and tight into your chest.

  • Shoulder Presses

1) Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
2) With a weight in each hand, start with your arms bent at shoulder height and straighten them up over your head.
3) Lower them back down slowly and repeat.

  • Stiff-Leg Deadlifts

1) Stand with your back straight and legs slightly wider than hip-width apart.
2) With a weight in each hand, bend forward slowly until the weights reach your feet and slowly return to starting position.

  • Bent-Over Rows

1) Hold a weight in one hand.
2) Step your opposite leg forward, so you’re standing in a staggered position.
3) Hinge yourself forward at the hips so your back is flat and torso is angled to the floor.
4) Hold this position and lift the weight to chest level. Keep your elbow close at your side.
5) In a fluid motion, lower the weight back down to your first position.

  • Chest Presses

1) Lie down on a bench or the floor with your back flat.
2) With the weights at the shoulders, have your upper arms at a 45-degree angle to the body.
3) Your elbows should be in front of the shoulder line.
4) Engage your core and tilt your chin towards your chest.
5) Slowly push your arms up straight and lower them again.

  • Glute Bridges

1) Lie down on the floor with arms at your sides.
2) Place a weight on each side of your hips and hold in place with your hands.
3) Next, move your feet in as close to your backside as you can.
4) Then engage your glutes and your core while you push up with your hips.
5) Your body should form a straight line from hips to shoulders.
6) Hold that position for at least five seconds before slowly lowering back down to starting position.

Who Should Engage in Moderate Exercise?

According to the Mayo Clinic, everyone can benefit from moderate daily exercise.

People with physical limitations, specific diseases or other challenges, are ideally suited to light to moderate exercise.

The consensus is that everyone, regardless of age or fitness level, will benefit from moderate daily exercise.

There are numerous benefits to regular moderate exercise.

  • Exercise and Weight

Moderate exercise like free weightlifting and strength training will help control your weight.

Maintaining a regular and healthy weight for your body type is the most critical thing that you can do for your body health-wise.

A healthy weight helps keep your blood sugars at a healthy level, puts less strain on your joints, organs, and promotes heart health.

Also, the mental benefits of self-esteem and confidence are also an essential off-shoot of weight control.

  • Mood

Moderate exercise will help regulate your mood. Training is a healthy way to combat feelings of depression and anxiety.

Endorphins that are released during exercise are proven to improve and stabilize mood.

  • Increasing Energy Levels

Increasing energy is another perk of regular moderate exercise like strength training with weights. Just as they say it takes money to make money, it takes energy to produce energy.

The blood pumping that results from exercise helps transport oxygen and nutrients throughout the body’s tissues, increasing energy levels.

  • Prevention of Diseases

Moderate exercise and a diet including high-quality supplements are the best ways to combat the development of some of the major diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Exercise helps lower cholesterol levels, which makes for better blood circulation and is an integral aspect of heart health.

If you are on the hunt for a moderate exercise that will benefit your health and longevity, the weightlifting as mentioned earlier combined with a healthy diet can help you reach your goals.

People often think of weightlifting as something done by large men in a gym, but realistically, anyone can lift weights in their home, and if done safely and moderately, it can be suited to any age and fitness level.


So to answer the question “Does weightlifting count as moderate exercise”: if combined with moderate exercises and lower-weight amounts, weightlifting can indeed fulfill the definition and benefits of moderate exercise.

Please read my next article about “What Accessories Should I Use In Weightlifting?”

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Tomasz Faber

HI, MY NAME IS TOMASZ, and welcome to my site I’m a weightlifter, and I’m very much interested in health and fitness subjects. Throughout a few years of my weightlifting training, and diet experience, I managed to make my body much, much stronger, as well as build endurance and athletic figure. I live in London, UK, where I enjoy my weightlifting more...

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