Careers That Won't Make You Fat


Want a career that will help you stay fit? Check out these high-energy options.

By Terence Loose    

Do you hate the sound of sitting in a cubicle all day?

Sounds like your ideal job description is low on paper-pushing and big on moving and doing. Let's face it, some people would simply go nuts if they were relegated to a job that didn't let them flex a little muscle.

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Fortunately, there are plenty of careers that will literally keep you energetic types on your toes. And we're not talking pipe dream occupations such as pro surfer or elite stuntman.

So before you end up preparing to pursue a job that has you feeling like a stressed-out desk jockey, check out these highly active careers, perfect for all you movers and shakers.*

Active Career #1: Firefighter

There's a reason there are so many "beefcake" firefighter calendars out there. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, this job is very physically demanding. Even when they aren't battling blazing buildings, firefighters are usually doing something to work up a sweat.

For instance, they are often the first emergency personnel on the scene of traffic accidents and medical emergencies, says the Department of Labor. And there are different types of firefighters.

"Elite firefighters called smoke jumpers parachute from airplanes to reach otherwise inaccessible areas," says the Department.

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Education and Skills: Most firefighters have a high school diploma, according to the Department, which also notes that community college courses or an associate's degree in fire science could "improve an applicant's chances for a job." Completion of firefighting training or academy, and in many cases, emergency medical technician (EMT) certification is required, says the Department.

Active Career #2: Medical Assistant

As a medical assistant, you'll not only be helping others stay healthy, but you'll likely be active enough to also stay in shape yourself. That's because medical assistants are those workers at your doctor's office that seem to be doing a little bit of everything.

First, they're running to show you to your examination room, then they're hurrying back to answer the phone... right before they pull charts and set up equipment trays. Basically, says the U.S. Department of Labor, they perform a variety of tasks to keep doctors' offices running smoothly.

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Education and Skills: Many medical assistants complete a medical assisting certificate, diploma, or associate's degree program in medical assisting, according to the Department of Labor. Courses in anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology could help hone your skills.

Active Career #3: Landscaper

If you like to stop and smell the roses, and then feverishly plant another row of them, landscaping might be your thing.

If so, expect a daily workout tougher than your local Pilates instructor can dish out. The U.S. Department of Labor states that this is "physically demanding work." But that's likely expected from a profession that uses shovels, hand saws, chain saws, and lawnmowers.

All this physical activity and the great outdoors, too. What more could a fitness junkie want?

Education and Skills: There are normally no education requirements for this career, but the Department of Labor notes that a formal education in landscape design, horticulture, arboriculture, or business can help improve your employment chances.

Active Career #4: Food Server

It's been said that everyone should be a waiter once because then they'd never complain at a restaurant again. Why? Because serving food can involve more running than a five-set tennis match.

Specifically, says the U.S. Department of Labor, waiters are "on their feet most of the time and often carry heavy trays of food, dishes, and glassware. During busy dining periods, they are under pressure to serve customers quickly and efficiently."

And since most servers earn the majority of their income from tips, according to the Department of Labor, there's an incentive to run a bit faster.

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Education and Skills: There is normally no minimum education requirement for waiter positions. Employers do like a neat appearance, the ability to work with a team, and an outgoing personality.

Active Career #5: Registered Nurse

Ever wonder why nurses wear those thick, rubber-soled shoes seemingly designed more for track and field than the emergency department? Let's just say, nurses don't sit down much.

In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, "registered nurses may spend considerable time walking, bending, stretching, and standing." Patients in hospitals and nursing care facilities require 24-hour care, which means nurses may work nights, holidays, and weekends, says the Department of Labor. Nurses employed in schools or offices could work more regular hours.

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Education and Skills: An associate's degree in nursing is one popular route towards this career, according to the Department. You'll also need to pass the national licensing examination before you qualify to work as a nurse. Good attributes include being caring, sympathetic, responsible, and detail oriented. Fainting at the sight of blood? That's probably frowned upon.

Active Career #6: Carpenter

Whether it's a small bookshelf or a big house, building stuff makes you sweat. Sawing wood, swinging a hammer, carrying may as well be at the gym.

Not convinced? Just check out what the U.S. Department of Labor says: "Carpenters need manual dexterity, good eye-hand coordination, physical fitness, and a good sense of balance."

As a carpenter, you'll likely put those skills to use to build everything from kitchen cabinets to commercial buildings. Or you could specialize in certain areas such as framing, furniture, or finish carpentry, says the Department of Labor.

Education and Skills: Education of carpenters varies widely, from on-the-job preparation to classroom studies to formal apprenticeships, says the Department. In addition to the skills listed above, carpenters should also be able to solve mathematical problems quickly.

*Careers listed are noted for the level of activity associated with them. Career choice does not guarantee weight loss or an active lifestyle.

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