If the thought of sitting behind a desk for eight hours a day fills you with a striking sense of panic, then you might be better suited to a more physically demanding role.
To give you a few starter ideas, we’ve compiled a list of lively careers that combine physical activity with a monthly paycheck.
So, if you want to get away from the sedentary grind of the office, read on. These are the 25 most active jobs in the world.
1. Landscaper / Gardener
Average salary: $35,240
If you’d rather be surrounded by greenery than cubicle walls, then gardening could be a viable career option. Whether charged with the care of private grounds, public properties or pristine golf greens, there are numerous opportunities. As anyone who’s ever spent their Sunday pulling up weeds or planting potatoes will tell you, it’s thirsty work, too.
Average salary: $30,640
If you want to get even closer to nature, then why not master living and working in it? Soldiering is exhaustingly physical work, with high levels of fitness and robustness required; you’ll carry heavy loads over significant distances and be expected to function effectively at the end of it. The good news is that you’ll literally get paid to exercise, so if you’re an active person, then the military could be a good fit.
Average salary: $44,130
Toiling on a construction site can be a rewarding role. There is the palpable sense of a job well done, a strong sense of on-site camaraderie and, best of all, it will keep you in tip-top shape. If you enjoy working in all weathers and you prefer your labor to be of the more physically active variety, then a career in construction could be for you.
Average salary: $44,730
Working on an oil rig is not for the faint-hearted. You’ll spend a lot of time away from home and operate in a harsh environment, while oil drilling is statistically one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. On the plus side, though, the pay is good, and there’s no sitting around. Aside from the lifting and the mixing, roustabouts are also required to clean and maintain the equipment and work areas.
5. Stunt performer
Average salary: Varies
If deliberately crashing cars, setting yourself on fire and jumping off buildings sounds like your definition of “active”, then performing stunts for film and TV productions could soothe your need for adrenaline. It’s a tricky line of work to get into, though, so make sure you start building the right connections.
Average salary: $78,440
If you prefer the quieter life, away from the hectic blur of the city, then farming could be an option. You’ll need to be prepared for the rigors of the job, though. Farmers work notoriously long days, with the majority of their tasks physical in nature, but if you enjoy getting your hands dirty and you’re not afraid of hard work, then it can be a highly fulfilling lifestyle.
Average salary: $29,010
Unless you’ve ever donned an apron and notepad yourself, you may not realize just how tiring serving can actually be. Aside from the fact that you’ll spend all evening moving between kitchens and tables, you’ll also have to carefully pilot large and heavy trays without spilling them all over your customers. Do a good job, though, and there is plenty of potential for tips!
8. Police officer
Average salary: $70,750
As a police officer, you’ll likely spend all day on the go, whether it’s patrolling streets and city centers or engaging in physical interactions with perpetrators. You never know what you’ll encounter on a shift, either, so you need to be physically fit and prepared for whatever you may have to face.
Average salary: $53,760
Perhaps unsurprisingly, cutting down trees is one of the more physical jobs on the market. Fallers work long hours and need to be able to safely operate powerful machinery, as well as manually measure and saw felled logs while ensuring they’re harnessed correctly. To put it bluntly, felling trees can be highly dangerous work, and isn’t for the weak.
Average salary: $55,290
Another notoriously physical profession is that of fire rescue. Firefighters need to have strength and stamina, as well as be able to carry heavy loads over potential obstacles. You would also need to be able to operate machinery in order to safely remove people from trapped spaces (such as in overturned cars).
11. Dancer / Choreographer
Average salary: Varies
Not all physically demanding jobs have to be dangerous; that doesn’t mean they’re easy, though. Professional dancers and choreographers require enormous levels of stamina (as well as flexibility and strength in order to perform lifts), so if you have discipline and a flair for rhythm, why not consider a career on the stage?
Average salary: $82,750
Part of being a nurse is accepting the fact that for the entire duration of your shift, it’s unlikely that you will a) sit down, b) go to the toilet or c) have more than 10 seconds to yourself. There’s a reason, after all, why nurses wear crocs rather than heeled shoes — when you’re on the go nonstop for 12 hours, then you want to be comfortable. Doctors, paramedics and other health professionals don’t fare much better, either; it’s simpler to assert that if you want to pursue a career in healthcare, then you’d better be prepared to get active.
Average salary: $29,860
While fishing is considered the quintessential outdoor activity for many people, we’re not talking about a spot of casual angling on a Sunday morning here. Professional fishermen working on trawlers and large vessels need to haul catches and fill their crates quickly, all in potentially hostile environments (Deadliest Catch, anyone?). As part of a small crew, you’ll also be responsible for cooking and cleaning on top of your other duties.
14. Fitness instructor
Average salary: $45,870
What better way to exercise on the job than to, well, exercise as your job? Fitness instructors deliver classes and one-to-one sessions at gyms and health spas throughout the day, meaning that you’ll be getting through a lot of physical work. After all, remember that exhausting spin class you took this morning? Well, imagine taking five of those a day!
15. Engineering technician
Average salary: $61,950
Although the term “engineering technician” encompasses a wide range of potential roles, one thing that most of them have in common is that you won’t spend much time behind a desk. Whether it’s climbing communications towers, electrical pylons or wind turbines in order to fix faulty equipment, or descending into mines and tunnels to maintain ventilation systems, you’ll often find yourself working in physically challenging environments.
16. Waste disposal operator
Average salary: $42,780
If you get a sense of satisfaction from early morning starts, working outdoors and a healthy dose of physical labor, then doing the waste collection rounds is a good place to start. You don’t need any prior qualifications and, contrary to popular belief, waste disposal can pay very well. There’s also the prospect of moving into management once your back and your knee joints have decided they’ve had enough.
Average salary: $34,950
If you’d rather move furniture than rubbish bags all day, then you could consider a career as a mover instead. After all, there are few jobs as active as having to carry extremely heavy furniture up six flights of stairs all day!
18. Warehouse worker
Average salary: $34,950
Those boxes aren’t going to organize themselves, but if you want to do it, then becoming a warehouse worker is right for you! If you’ve ever lifted a box full of supplies, equipment, food, or products, you’ll know it’s hard work and can be extremely physically demanding.
Average salary: $49,020
If you’re good with machines but want to stay active, becoming a machinist (also known as a machine operator) might be the right move for you. You’ll will work in large factories or plants where heavy machinery is used daily to complete tasks like manufacturing, assembly and disassembly.
20. Physical therapist
Average salary: $92,920
As a physical therapist, your job will be very physically demanding. You’ll absolutely have some downtime when you’re creating case plans for your patients, but most of your work will be up on your feet assisting your patients on their road to rehabilitation. Often, that includes physically holding them up or performing healing exercises with them. Let’s face it: while they’re getting better, you’re getting fitter!
Average salary: $29,580
If you’ve ever cleaned a bathroom, you know how physically demanding it can be — let alone an entire house. If you enjoy cleaning and have decided you’re good at it and want to make it a career, you’re in luck! Not only is the need for housekeepers skyrocketing, you’re sure to stay active while cleaning.
22. Restaurant manager
Average salary: $63,970
While avoiding good food may be difficult as a restaurant manager, you’ll never have to worry about getting your steps in for the day in this career in hospitality. Restaurant managers are constantly greeting customers, putting out fires (figuratively and sometimes literally), and ensuring those rushes go smoothly.
23. Maintenance and repair worker
Average salary: $44,920
If you’re looking for a career that’s got some job security and consistent activity, look no further. Maintenance and repair workers fix, repair and maintain a variety of items in homes or buildings, keeping them active and ready for the next job.
Average salary: $47,990
If you want to marry your love for working on cars all while staying physically fit, perhaps you should consider becoming a mechanic. In this job, you’ll spend time diagnosing malfunctioning vehicles, identifying issues, finding ways to fix them, and digging into the physical labor and actually making the repairs. Their work can be extremely messy and technical, but as you’re carrying parts and replacing broken car hoses, you’re sure to get a workout in.
Average salary: $48,890
Installing shingles, asphalt or metal to a root to ensure weatherproof capabilities while extremely high above the ground in the heat or freezing cold is what a roofer does. If you have a fear of falling off a roof and a bad sense of balance, maybe steer clear of this one, though.
Even with companies introducing on-site gyms and wellness programs, office life isn’t for everybody. Some people prefer to be on the move all day, working outdoors or in ever-changing environments, while others simply want to incorporate work into their active lifestyle. Whatever your reasons, this list has, hopefully, provided some insight into the kinds of roles available and given you some inspiration into what your next potential career move could be.
What other active jobs did we miss? Let us know in the comments section below!
Originally published on May 14, 2019. Updated by Shalie Reich.