Physically Active Jobs: 6 Jobs That Will Make You Healthier

From an increased risk of heart disease to more fat around your middle, studies show that our time at the workplace (8.8 hours per day on average) can be hazardous to our health.

“Often psychological environments have more to do with health than physical environments,” says Bill Burnett, author of Advantage: Business Competition in the New Normal. Two companies producing the same product under the same physical conditions can have a radically different effect on employee health at work, he maintains. “The single biggest health factor in large companies is the psychological environment established by the leadership team,” says Burnett.

However, some stress can be a good thing, says vocational rehabilitation counselor Marky Charleen Stein. “Too little stress leads to boredom and inhibits the release of endorphins,” otherwise known as “happy hormones,” according to Stein. As a person who helps people with on-the-job injuries, Stein suggests that jobs with a variety of physical movements are healthier than jobs with a singular, repetitive movement.

We asked the experts to single out six physically active jobs or low-stress jobs that can make you healthier while earning a decent paycheck. Wage information courtesy of online salary database

Event Coordinator
Just like Baby Bear in the children’s fairy tale of the Three Bears, Stein says, “A medium stress level job might be that of an events or activity coordinator — just right." Creating fun and memorable events for businesses or individuals is a growing multi-billion dollar industry. Earning certification from the International Event and Wedding Professionals organization can go a long way to giving you the skills you’ll need to feel less stressed when juggling all it takes to pull off a successful event.

Stein notes that chiropractors use a range of movements treating patients. But they’re also often self-employed — taking a demanding boss out of the stress equation. Another bonus: according to the BLS the chiropractic approach to healthcare is holistic and uses natural, drugless, nonsurgical health treatments. A well-educated practitioner will certainly know a thing or two about healthier living.

Physical Therapist
Physical therapists (PTs) enjoy lots of variety, from patients ranging in age from babies to elders, to physically demanding treatments that require lots of lifting, stooping, kneeling, crouching, and standing. Many PTs typically work 40-hour weeks without emergencies or overtime, according to the BLS.

Fitness Trainer/Exercise Instructor
Exercise physiologist, speaker and fitness instructor herself, Joyce Moore says exercise lovers should consider making their favorite pastime a career. “You may need to get a certification,” says Moore, but the health boost from this physically active job is undeniable. Moore notes she burns about 200 calories per hour teaching.

Moore says, “This is a great job because it definitely reduces stress levels and is also a great calorie burner.” She estimates grass cutting, weeding, and general maintenance burns 235 calories per hour on average. Plus, the time spent outdoors boosts Vitamin D levels which is necessary for maintaining bone health and supporting the immune system, says Moore.

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“Who doesn't love cars?” asks Moore. Between washing and waxing, the average person can burn about 300-500 calories, she notes, not to mention reaping the rewards of meditative tasks like polishing. Remember the lesson to the Karate Kid from Mr. Miyagi? “Wax on, wax off. Don’t forget to breathe, very important.”

Source: All salary data is from The salaries listed are median, annual salaries for full-time workers with 5-8 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.