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10 gigs that lose the desk

From Rachel Zupek

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( -- Your eyes are burning, your back is aching, your head is pounding and you're positive your rear is getting bigger with each passing minute -- and you haven't even left your desk all day!

Chair-bound workers across the country are suffering from work-related ailments like these, among many more.

Researchers link desk jobs to increased cases of back pain, eyestrain, colon cancer and obesity, say Michael Farr and Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., co-authors of the new book, "175 Best Jobs Not Behind a Desk."

In fact, one study found that men who sit at their desk for more than six hours per day were almost twice as likely to be obese as men who sit for less than 45 minutes. Another survey found that women who worked at a sedentary job for 14 years gained 20 pounds more than women who worked in the least sedentary jobs.

But in an economy that heavily depends on office workers, are there any good jobs that allow you to be out of the office?

"Fortunately, there are plenty of high-activity jobs for people who prefer them. And these are not just menial jobs that are likely to be phased out as soon as someone invents the right kind of robot to do them," Farr and Shatkin say. "Many active jobs have good earnings and are expected to have good job opportunities. They allow you to use your brains as well as your muscles and involve the kinds of people and problems that can keep you interested in your work."

Here are the 10 best overall jobs for people who want to get out from behind a desk and be active:

Registered Nurses

What keeps them active: Moving, lifting and wheeling patients; pumping meds, operating medical machinery, visiting each patient's room.

Annual earnings: $58,600

Physical Therapists

What keeps them active: Testing and measuring patient's strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration and motor function.

Annual earnings: $64,200

Physician Assistants

What keeps them active: Examining patients, ordering/interpreting lab tests and x-rays, suturing, splinting and casting patients with minor injuries.

Annual earnings: $80,600

Elementary School Teachersexternal link, except Special Education

What keeps them active: Planning, assigning and evaluating assignments; writing on the chalkboard, supervising extracurricular activities, preparing, administering and grading tests; overseeing study halls and homerooms, supervising extracurricular activities, accompanying students on field trips.

Annual earnings: $45,600

Radiologic Technologists and Technicians

What keeps them active: Producing x-ray films, positioning patients for appropriate x-rays, measuring parts of the body to be radiographed.

Annual earnings: $46,900

Kindergarten Teachers, except Special Education

What keeps them active: Using "hands-on" activities to facilitate learning phonics, numbers and letters, supervising young children.

Annual earnings: $43,900

Occupational Therapists

What keeps them active: Assisting clients in performing activities of all types, instructing them how to use adaptive equipment including wheelchairs and increasing strength and dexterity.

Annual earnings: $56,800

Secondary School Teachersexternal link, except Special and Vocational Education

What keeps them active: Grade papers, prepare report cards, meet with parents and school staff to discuss a student's academic progress or personal problems, plan, evaluate and assign lessons; prepare, administer, and grade tests; listen to oral presentations; maintain classroom discipline.

Annual earnings: $45,000

Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers

What keeps them active: Directing traffic, chasing down suspects, catching traffic violators.

Annual earnings: $55,000

Veterinariansexternal link

What keeps them active: Diagnose animal health problems, vaccinate animals against disease, treat and dress wounds, perform surgery.

Annual earnings: $76,000

Salary data provided by for CB Salary.

All salaries are total cash compensation: includes bonus, profit share, commission, and base salary, but does not include equity compensation. Salaries are for experienced (>5 years) employees: pay varies substantially with experience for all positions. Salaries are for experienced (>5 years) employees: pay varies substantially with experience for all positions. For executives, pay varies widely based on scope of responsibility: company size, budget managed, etc. Salaries above are typical for small to medium sized companies (20-200 employees).

Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

© Copyright 2007. 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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