If your job involves sitting at a computer all day, you probably find yourself getting restless, even tired, from being in one position for so long. You may even catch yourself looking out the window way too often wishing you were outside, moving, active.
Of course the number one reason to keep moving is our health. Since the dawn of the computer age, people have become more and more sedentary, and we all know the grim statistics emerging from that lifestyle: poor heart health and rising obesity and depression rates are three big ones. Add in a healthy dose of fresh air and vitamin D from the sun (in good measure) and the reasons for pushing away from the desk to work outdoors become even more compelling.
In spite of these facts, however, most desk workers like their jobs, salaries, and the inherent security too much to leave. But not all good jobs require you to sit at a computer for eight hours a day. For those seeking a little more movement in their 9-5, consider these job options:
Helping Others While Helping Yourself
Interestingly, many professions that keep people physically active involve helping others. Medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and even teachers, police officers, and firefighters spend limited hours behind a desk and more time doing physical work. These jobs also involve a variety of tasks, as well as updated training, which keeps the mind nimble. And most people in these fields find their work rewarding.
Alternative health practitioners like massage therapists, yoga teachers and fitness coaches also stay healthy while helping others. And if you’re looking for seasonal work, lifeguards and camp counselors fall into this category too.
Such vocations also keep you connected to your community and feeling needed—two major mental health pluses.
Restaurant jobs like bartending, waitressing, cooking, dishwashing and floor managing keep you on your toes while socializing and having fun, although some positions may not pay as well as others, and may be fairly grueling. The same can be said for retail and warehouse work. While such jobs may not offer great security or pay, they do offer a flexible schedule if you are looking for a second job that keeps you moving—perhaps one to offset that desk job you can’t bring yourself to leave.
Working From the Field – Literally
Jobs that take you outdoors may range from working on a farm, which is very physically demanding, to working as a landscaper, land surveyor, park ranger or civil engineer. Jobs at golf courses, retreat centers, horse stables, and nurseries (the ones with plants, not kids) also offer a lot of time outside. And let’s not forget our valued postal carriers and package delivery personnel who get to enjoy decent pay, benefits and security while staying active and avoiding “the desk monster.”
Finding the Middle
This may all sound tempting, but the reality is most people don’t have the freedom to leave their job. So, if you must be chained to a desk, be sure to take that 20 minute walk at lunch, at least a few days a week, if you can’t get to the gym before or after work. Also make it a point to stand up and stretch at least once every hour. And keep in mind there are many ergonomic solutions on the market that can make desk work more body friendly, like standing desks, desk treadmills, computer elevators, and carpal tunnel prevention tools.
Do a search online and you’ll find loads of solutions for curing what ails you, as you stare out that window picturing yourself on a sunny beach listening to a steel drum band…until a co-worker waves a hand in front of your face and snaps you back to reality, of course. Back to work!