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Is there a word that works as a milder version of strenuous? Strenuous is defined by Oxford as something "requiring or using great effort or exertion." I'm looking for a word with a similar definition except for the "great" part.

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    I might say "taxing". – Hot Licks May 28 '16 at 20:58
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diligent:

characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort

  • Interesting cultural difference. As an Australian I would never use diligent in this sense, but rather in the sense provided by ODO's definition: "Having or showing care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties: after diligent searching, he found a parcel". dictionary.com/browse/diligent shows that there is indeed a distinction between the U.S. and British usages. Fascinating!! – Chappo May 29 '16 at 4:41
  • So for an answer within a U.S. context, +1 ;-) – Chappo May 29 '16 at 4:48
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It's hard to define the degree of effort implied by a lot of these words, but you could try something like tiring:

Definition & Example (via Merriam Webster):

causing weariness, restlessness, or lack of interest

the seminar was tiring and not particularly helpful or informative

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Maybe difficult will do:

Needing much effort or skill to accomplish, deal with, or understand:
'she had a difficult decision to make'
'the questions are too difficult for the children'

Reference:
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/difficult

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I would suggest taxing:

Physically or mentally demanding.

Or even laborious:

(Especially of a task, process, or journey) requiring considerable effort and time.

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