When choosing a career, many focus on employment opportunities, industry growth potential, and whether they can make an adequate salary. For some lucky individuals, their choice lands them in a great position with a reputable company where they spend their days holed up in a private office on the top floor.
Corporate life isn’t for everyone, though. Some prefer to seek jobs that require physical fitness or where they get to spend their days outside. The obvious choices might be construction work or law enforcement, while nurses and retail associates also get their fair share of physical activity as well.
If you’re looking into jobs that keep you fit and healthy, these seven careers will give you a natural workout all day long.
Why Choose a Physical Career?
Jobs that keep you active give you a leg up when meeting federal health and fitness standards. According to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only 19% of women and 26% of men get enough aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.
Further, inactivity has profound economic, social and national security implications. Studies have shown that $117 billion in health care expenses are linked to low physical activity levels annually. Another 2020 study reported that 19% of U.S. adults ages 18-24 are unfit for military recruitment because they’re overweight.
1. Retail Associate
Retail associates aren’t sitting around all day — that’s for sure. They spend their shifts walking the floor, helping customers find what they need, and promoting different brands and products.
Those who work at clothing stores may monitor dressing rooms or organize racks. At the supermarket, retail associates are responsible for ensuring cleanliness and fully-stocked shelves or operating the cash register.
Often, they might have to lift and carry heavy boxes or reorganize displays. Regardless, these busy workers spend most of their time on their feet.
Research shows the average American sits for 8.2 hours daily, posing a greater chance of developing heart disease. However, simply replacing sitting with slow-paced activities like walking is enough to reduce cardiovascular risks.
Another study found replacing a sedentary lifestyle with standing and walking improved insulin sensitivity by 13% over four days.
Those with an aptitude for customer service, a knack for sales, and an ability to move around looking for jobs that keep you fit may want to become retail associates.
If you’re a nature lover looking for jobs that keep you active, you might consider becoming a landscaper.
Landscapers are responsible for lawn care, weeding and mulching garden beds, tree removal, and pest control. They also plant flowers, bushes, and trees for properties such as residences, businesses, and parks.
Depending on their role, landscapers might utilize various tools and equipment demanding physical fitness and agility, especially since tree trimmers and pruners have one of the highest rates of occupational fatalities among all other fields.
Landscapers and gardeners prove plenty of jobs keep you fit outside the gym. For instance, landscapers can burn 150-600 calories an hour between rigorous labor inputs and conditions, such as working in the summer heat.
Nevertheless, the construction industry is great for young people entering the workforce to find jobs that keep them active. Amid labor shortages, the industry is looking to fill 650,000 construction worker positions in 2022 and another 590,000 in 2023.
3. Park Ranger
Environmental enthusiasts might be interested in pursuing a career as a park ranger. These government positions help protect and maintain national parks and wildlife preserves. It’s also one of the great jobs that keep you fit.
Some park rangers spend their days mapping out trails, requiring them to walk long distances in all types of weather, including rain and snow. In more serious situations, they should be able to hike or run to rescue missing park visitors or avoid dangerous encounters with wildlife.
While some park rangers focus on conservation management, environmental education, and office-bound tasks, others concentrate on emergency response initiatives and fieldwork.
Park ranger law enforcement mandates passing the Ranger Physical Ability Test — offered at seven colleges across the country — to demonstrate physical fitness to perform dangerous and physically demanding aspects of the job. The test includes completing a certain number of sit-ups, push-ups, and squat thrusts under a set time limit.
4. Construction Worker
The construction industry delivers some of the best jobs requiring physical fitness — and with construction spending reaching $1.57 trillion in July 2021, there’s no shortage of job openings you can pursue.
Construction work demands excellent physical stamina, as laborers spend long hours with heavy noise, weight, temperature, and bodily conditions. Workers in the upper-age bracket are even more susceptible to injury, especially since cartilage deteriorates as you age, increasing the risk for meniscus tears.
While it is one of the more demanding jobs on this list, it comes with immense satisfaction. You’ll be keeping yourself active with lifting, walking, and machine operating. On top of that, you and your crew are working together to create a new building or make repairs — both requiring plenty of skill and dexterity.
There are plenty of further learning opportunities as well. After completing an apprenticeship and OSHA certification, you can find specialty licensing in niche construction industries. These certificates help qualify you for more projects, giving you a wider range of jobs that keep you active.
5. Fitness Trainer
If you’re searching for jobs that require physical fitness, becoming a fitness trainer could naturally be your ideal career path.
Trainers collaborate with people to help them meet exercise and weight loss goals at gyms and workout facilities. They often create programs and assist attendees with their sessions, equipment operations, and diet plans.
Sometimes, fitness trainers demonstrate different techniques to their clients or workout alongside them. Naturally, they need to be fit to accomplish this.
Job growth for fitness professionals could increase by 39% in the coming decade, partly attributed to employers implementing health and fitness incentives for workers following COVID-19.
6. Registered Nurse
Registered nurses were under immense pressure during the coronavirus pandemic, making their jobs more physically taxing than ever.
However, nursing was always an active field, demanding workers to stand for 50% of their shifts and walk for 15%. Those who work daytime shifts sit 9% less of the time than evening nurses — and stand and walk around more, too.
Nurses are responsible for visiting, caring for, and documenting information about their patients during doctor’s appointments and hospitalizations. They may stop in to see numerous patients throughout their shifts, having to walk down long corridors or lift and maneuver heavy objects on the job — including the patient themselves.
If you know you have the stamina and drive, a nursing career is one of the most fulfilling jobs that keep you active.
7. Event Planner
Weddings and big celebratory bashes are lots of fun, but it’s easy to forget the amount of work, time, and energy it takes to throw an event of such magnitude.
Event planners are some of the hardest-working and most active people. Their line of work keeps them on their toes all day, from checking out potential venues to meeting with clients and assisting with heavy lifting during event set-ups.
A lot of pressure comes with being an event planner, making it essential to learn coping strategies to beat the physical and emotional stress leading up to a function.
With so much to do, event planners may intentionally skip or forget to eat throughout the day. According to the American Psychological Association, 30% of adults skip meals under stress, while 40% admit doing so one or more times a week. However, eating healthy is vital to maintaining stamina.
Find the Best Jobs to Keep You Fit
If pursuing jobs that require physical fitness is most important to you in your professional life, consider one of these careers. While they may require a high fitness level, what matters most is you enjoy what you do.
Author – Beth is the Managing Editor and content manager at Body+Mind. She is passionate about writing about fitness, diet, fitness, mental health, and parenting. In her spare time, Beth enjoys trying out new fitness routines and recipes.