Concerned that obesity, cancer, and disease are fated in your future? Here’s a simple solution!
Research has shown that too much sitting has been linked with diabetes, heart disease, and premature death (Corliss. Harvard Medical School). By default Americans are spending more and more time tied to cell phones, computer screens, and cars to get them through the day. Americans also have some of the longest work weeks of developed nations. We’re tired when we get home from work, so then we usually just want to collapse on the couch with dinner and Netflix. Having to work the American schedule probably isn’t going to change anytime soon, so if we want to create opportunities to maintain our health while still paying the bills, we should probably consider our career environment as a means to “work out” regularly.
Walking works wonders towards reducing the effects of sedentary work. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 10,000 steps per day to maintain good health and lower your risk of heart disease (American Heart Association. “Walking”).
I’ve compiled a list of careers that facilitate a lot of walking throughout the day:
- Factory production & manufacturing
- Health trades (doctor, clinician, nurse, etc)
- Personal trainer
- Trades (welding, electrician, plumber, carpenter, etc)
- Pharmacy technician
- Mail carrier
- Professional athlete
- Gym receptionist, franchise owner, or manager
These jobs are great because they require you to do a lot of walking throughout the day. I can speak directly to my work as a chemist – because the heavy, stationary equipment and various chemicals are located all throughout the lab, I have to walk miles throughout my eight hour shift each day. (I actually used to track it with my Fitbit while I was in grad school – I was easily putting in 5-7 miles per day!). I’ve been really enjoying my job, and I’ve actually met a lot of healthy, lithe, older chemists throughout my research and current job experiences. Chemists easily live into their 80s, continuing to work actively in the lab on the experiments that pique their interest. I’ve also found that most chemists who regularly work in the lab maintain a healthy weight and mobility far into their later years. I can imagine this works the same way for any other kind of scientist, technician, technologist, or engineer.
The Fitbit I used in Berkeley to track my steps
If you’d like more information about median salary, job outlook statistics, and details regarding the work duties in each of these and other careers, go to The Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site and type your career of interest into the search bar at the far top right. You can also access Career Exploring Tools on the Web site (click the link to try them!).
Hannah Stringfellow is a freelance blogger and world traveler. She holds an M.S., Chemistry, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests include women’s empowerment, health and wellness, and cross-cultural competency.