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Jobs that keep you in shape

  • Story Highlights
  • Sitting all day or working out all day -- depends on your job
  • Painters give their arms and shoulders a work out
  • Childcare workers get in shape chasing kids all day
  • Messengers on foot or bike get great cardio workouts
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By Rachel Zupek
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Over the years, countless magazine articles have promised you could "lose weight at work" or "tone up in 10 minutes at your desk."

The package in the backpack and San Francisco's hill add to this bike messenger's workout.

Such pieces advise employees to bring two soup cans to work to do bicep curls during a conference call, or sit on a medicine ball (instead of your chair) to strengthen your core muscles throughout the day. Mayo Clinic even designed a vertical workstation -- a desk fitted over a treadmill that lets employees walk through their workday, instead of sitting at their desk.

"Easy" as these tasks may seem, when you get down to it, they aren't easy at all. After all, who wants to spend their day trying to balance on a ball or sweating profusely at their $1,600 desk (the approximate cost of the vertical workstation)?

Instead of trying to tone up before, during or after work, why not find a job that is a workout in and of itself? We're not talking about the typical fitness occupations, like a personal trainer or an aerobics instructor. We're talking about childcare workers, painters and messengers (to name a few).

Here are 10 jobs that will give you a great workout everyday:

1. Painters apply paint coats, finishes and stains to houses, buildings and other structures. They also prepare the surfaces by washing, sanding and stripping walls of existing paint or paper.

Workout: If you've ever seen the "Karate Kid", you remember "paint the fence." The fluid up-and-down and side-to-side motion of painting gives your arms and shoulders a great workout.

Average annual salary: $31,603*

2. Landscapers maintain land areas by trimming grass and trees; mulching; fertilizing; planting flowers and trees; building walkways and patios and snow removal in wintry areas.

Workout: You're constantly bending, lifting and shoveling mulch and fertilizer, among other things. Plus, since the job is seasonal, you're working outside in the heat, sweating up a storm.

Average annual salary: $24,191*

3. Childcare workers look after children of all ages. They bathe, feed and supervise kids; take kids to and from activities; and play with them to keep them entertained.

Workout: When asked how they find time to stay in shape, moms usually respond with something like, "chasing my kids around." The same is true for childcare workers. Carrying kids around, playing outside, picking them up and setting them down is a workout indeed.

Average annual salary: $17,630**

4. Construction laborers build everything from houses and commercial structures to highways and infrastructure.

Workout: Almost all of the jobs construction workers perform require physical strength, whether it is heavy lifting, operating machinery or demolition.

Average annual salary: $30,914*

5. Messengers deliver messages, telegrams, documents and packages that need to be sent or received quickly to business establishments and private homes within a local area.

Workout: While some messengers travel by motorcycle, car or public transportation, during nice weather, most deliver by bicycle or on foot, which gives a great cardio workout.

Average annual salary: $21,050*

6. Freight and stock material movers manually move freight, stock and other materials to and from storage and production areas, loading docks and other places. Their specific duties vary by industry and work setting.

Workout: Bending, crouching, lifting and carrying are all in a day's work for material movers. The objects moved are generally heavy, including raw supplies, baggage and cargo, which gives these guys a great workout in their arms and back.

Average annual salary: $10.20/hour**

7. Farm workers perform a variety of tasks depending on what type of farmer they are. General farmers raise both livestock and crops, taking care of related tasks like milking and breeding animals, and plowing and harvesting land.

Workout: Long, hot days in the sun and constantly using your legs and arms to plow, seed, milk, pull and operate machinery (to name a few). It's a total body workout.

Average annual salary: $23,300*

8. Assemblers and fabricators put together finished and semi-finished goods, assembling the pieces and then joining the components into a whole product. They produce such products as entire airplanes to household appliances, automobiles and computers.

Workout: These folks complete numerous physically difficult tasks, like manually tightening massive bolts or moving heavy parts in position. Luckily, the physical demands are made much easier through the use of new technologies and equipment.

Average annual salary: $11.63/hour, though it depends on the product you assemble. **

9. Bindery workers combine printed sheets into finished products such as books, magazines, catalogs, folders and directories. Workers cut, fold, gather, glue, staple, stitch, trim, sew, wrap and perform other finishing processes. They also set up, operate and maintain the machines that perform these various tasks.

Workout: These workers must do considerable lifting and carrying, giving an awesome arm workout. Plus, bindery workers are on their feet a lot, which means their backs and stomachs get a good workout, too.

Average annual salary: $25,570*

10. Camera operators in the entertainment field use huge motion cameras to film television shows, movies and commercials.

Workout: These workers stand and walk for long periods of time while carrying (and sometimes operating) heavy equipment.

Average annual salary: $32,734*

*US National Salary averages based on estimates from
**Based on latest information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority

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