6 Jobs That Can Make You Healthier

From an increased risk of heart disease to more fat around our middles, 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, the author of “Advantage: Business Competition in the New Normal.” He maintains that two companies producing the same product under the same physical conditions can have a radically different effect on employees. “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 jobs that can actually make you healthier while earning a decent paycheck. (Salary information was provided by online salary database PayScale.com.)

Events coordinator 
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 multibillion-dollar industry. Earning certification from the International Event and Wedding Professionals organization can go a long way toward giving you the skills you’ll need to feel less stressed when you’re juggling everything it takes to pull off a successful event.

Stein notes that chiropractors use a range of movements when they’re treating patients. They’re also often self-employed–taking a demanding boss out of the stress equation. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the chiropractic approach to health care 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–patients range in age from infants to seniors–as well as plenty of exercise: demanding treatments often 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 or exercise instructor
Exercise physiologist and fitness instructor Joyce Moore says that people who love exercise should consider making their favorite pastime a career. “You may need to get a certification,” says Moore, but she adds that the health boost is undeniable. Moore says she burns about 200 calories per hour when she’s teaching.

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

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

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

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