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Wellness Best and worst jobs for your health

Blue-collar or white-collar, indoors or out; creative or mundane every profession has its health risks

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A healthy job is about more than just avoiding hazards, like dangerous material and machines.

Employees need respect, benefits, wellness incentives, and control over their work. However, here are some jobs that are good for your health.

Blue-collar or white-collar, indoors or out; creative or mundane every profession has its health risks. Some have dangerous working conditions, while others can slowly chip away at your mental and physical health with long hours, high stress, and depressing work environments.

We rounded up a few of each type, but these jobs aren't hopeless, when a company really invests in the wellbeing of its employees, almost any job can be made significantly healthier.

Best Jobs

Fitness Instructor

It makes sense that careers that require exercise would be among the healthiest. Monster.com’s list of 10 healthy professions, for example, includes yoga instructor, choreographer, running coach, and personal trainer. These jobs offer positive interactions with others, creativity, and flexibility with your schedule,

Software engineer

Staring at a computer all day might not seem healthy, but software engineers are doing something right. The position topped both CareerCast.com's Best Jobs list (software engineer) and CareerBliss.com's Happiest Jobs list. Those are the places people want to work, the Googles, the Intels, the more progressive companies that hold their workers accountable for the work they produce, not necessarily the hours they spend in the office.

Sitting all day can have drawbacks. Some companies are experimenting with standing desks and conference rooms, and treadmill workstations.


Florists earned a spot on Monster.com's healthy professions list. Being around plants and nature has been shown to reduce stress and blood pressure. It can be tremendously rewarding, to make a lasting impression on your customers at important moments in their lives.

Allied health professional

Several of CareerCast.com's top jobsare in the health field: Medical records technician took first in the Least Stressful Jobs list, followed by medical laboratory technician in fifth place and dietitian in eight, while dental hygienist and occupational therapist were fourth and seventh on the overall Best Jobs list.

These people unlike hospital doctors and nurses often work in office environments or labs with more regular hours and predictability. And because their careers focus on some aspect of health, they're more likely to implement healthy habits into their own lives.

Government employees

Federal, State, and Local government workers often have generous benefits packages compared to those in the private sector, including holidays off and ample vacation time. And because government offices are often responsible for implementing wellness programs and initiatives, their workplaces and employees are often among the first to take advantage of them.

Administrative assistant

Office administrative assistants and support staff had the fewest reported injuries and illnesses in a University of Georgia 2012 study. There is certainly a level of control that comes with the predictability of a job that's in an office setting, where you come in and you leave at the same time every day and pretty much know what to expect every day. However, overuse injuries from typing, back pain from sitting, and weight gain from an inactive lifestyle are a risk.

Small business employee

A big company can have perks, benefits, advancement, resources but may feel impersonal and uninspiring to some. For these people, small businesses may be more fulfilling.

A 2012 study found that countries with more locally owned businesses are healthier overall lower mortality, obesity, and diabetes rates than those with larger companies. Working for a small business can be good for morale. Entrepreneurial, highly energetic owners may be dedicated to their own health and the health of their employees, although it can be challenging for very small businesses to provide benefits and wellness programs.

Worst Jobs

And these positions aren't for everyone; prone to overwork and under-appreciation, they can trigger depression.

Firefighter/Police officer

Both of these professions have high rates of injuries, illnesses, and on-the-job fatalities, also emergency responder jobs are very stressful. More firefighters actually die of heart attacks on the job than they do from going into burning buildings. It's the unpredictability, having to go from zero to 100 on very short notice; you have to be on high alert at all times."

Long hours, sleep deprivation, and poor eating habits at work also threaten the health of these workers.

Desk jockey

Nine-to-fivers may not face the immediate danger of say, the police officer, but a growing body of evidence suggests that the sedentary, indoor lifestyle of office workers is still among the top threats to long-term health and wellness.

Sitting all day has been linked to back pain, repetitive stress injuries, obesity, an increased risk of heart disease, and a shorter lifespan even among people who squeeze in exercise before or after work.

What can you do? Protect yourself by taking frequent breaks during the day and getting outside for a brisk walk and some fresh air.

Manual laborer

Jobs working with heavy objects or machinery are risky. There were 65,040 cases of injuries and illness among laborers, stock, and material movers in 2010, a higher number than any other job.


Lawyers have higher rates of stress and depression than the general public. A 2007 survey found only four out of 10 lawyers would recommend the career.

Lawyers bill by the hour, which promotes longer days and less time for rest. Young professionals don't have much autonomy if they can even get a job, he adds.

Healthcare shift workers

Ironically, those who are tasked with keeping the rest of us healthy often aren't in positions to easily do the same for themselves. Shift workers nurses and ER doctors, for example face threats including sleep disorders, elevated stress hormones, and increased risks of diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome and heart disease.

In a 2012 study published in the Journal of Nursing Administration, about 55% of nurses surveyed were obese. Those who worked long hours, and those whose jobs required less physical activity, were at greatest risk.

Enlisted soldier

This profession, named the Most Stressful Job for 2012 byCareerCast.com, involves extreme physical demands, life and death decisions, and long periods of time away from family. That puts active members of the armed services in an unhealthy position.

Bullying and psychological abuse from peers and supervisors happen more frequently in the military than in other industries.

Soldiers can also be prone to post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems; a 2012 study found suicide rates among active Army soldiers rose sharply between 2004 and 2008.

Transportation workers

Transit and intercity bus drivers had the highest rate of injuries and illnesses of all occupations and truck drivers weren't that far behind.

Bus, truck, and taxi drivers face long hours behind the wheel, often breathing in exhaust fumes or eating unhealthy fast food.

Sleep problems and on-the-job sleepiness are common among transportation professionals (which can include pilots and train operators). And then there's the biggest threat of all: Motor-vehicle accidents are consistently the leading cause of workplace fatalities in Nigeria

Not all jobs fit neatly in a category. What makes you happy also contributes to your overall health, one person's happiness is another person's misery. Even red flags, like long hours and stressful environments, may be just fine for people who thrive on the energy.

Find the right position to suit your personality and take care of yourself both on and off the clock to be a productive, happier, and healthier employee.


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