17 Active Jobs that Will Keep You in Shape

A young male bricklayer building a wall

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 paycheque.

So, if you want to get away from the sedentary grind of the office, read on – these are the most active jobs in the world.

1. Landscaper / Gardener

A gardener trimming hedgeswelcomia / Depositphotos.com

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.

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2. Soldier

A close-up of a soldier in a desertzabelin / Depositphotos.com

Alternatively, 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.

3. Labourer

Two male construction workers installing cement formwork frameakarelias / Depositphotos.com

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 labour to be of the more physically active variety, then a career in construction could be for you.

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4. Roustabout

Close-up of two male roustabouts working on an oil rigSaidMamed / Depositphotos.com

Working on an oil rig is not for the faint-hearted; you will spend a lot of time away from home, you’ll operate in a harsh environment, and 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

A stunt performer on a motorbike in the airadrenalina / Depositphotos.com

If deliberately crashing cars, setting yourself on fire and jumping off buildings sounds like your definition of ‘active’, then performing stunts for film and television 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.

6. Farmer

A young male farmer with cows in a hay stallSashaKhalabuzar / Depositphotos.com

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 rigours 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.

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7. Waiter / Waitress

A close-up of a waiter carrying dishesmaximkabb / Depositphotos.com

Unless you’ve ever donned an apron and notepad yourself, you may not realise just how tiring waiting or waitressing 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.

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8. Police Officer

A male police officer holding a baton and standing in front of a police caria__64 / Depositphotos.com

As a police officer, you will likely spend all day on the go, whether it’s patrolling streets and city centres 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.

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9. Faller

A faller sawing a logGilitukha / Depositphotos.com

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; they also need to manually measure and saw felled logs while ensuring they are harnessed correctly. To put it bluntly, felling trees can be highly dangerous work, and isn’t for the weak.

10. Firefighter

A firefighter walking into a burning buildingdigitalstorm / Depositphotos.com

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).

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11. Dancer / Choreographer

A young woman dancing in pink smoke on a streetAllaSerebrina / Depositphotos.com

Not all physically demanding jobs have to be dangerous; that doesn’t mean they are 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?

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12. Nurse

A close-up of a female nurse taking a patientphotography33 / Depositphotos.com

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.

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13. Fisherman

A fisherman untangling a fishing netlondondeposit / Depositphotos.com

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

A male fitness instructor working with a female client in a gymVitalikRadko / Depositphotos.com

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!

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15. Engineering Technician

An engineering technician climbing an antenna toweraetb / Depositphotos.com

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.

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16. Waste Disposal Operator

A waste disposal operator collecting rubbishkalinovsky / Depositphotos.com

If you get a sense of satisfaction from early morning starts, working outdoors and a healthy dose of physical labour, 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 is also the prospect of moving into management once your back and your knee joints have decided they’ve had enough.

17. Mover

Two male professional movers unloading furniture and cardboard boxes from a vanAndreyPopov / Depositphotos.com

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!

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Even with companies introducing on-site gyms and wellness programmes, 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!