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29 Of The Most Active Careers: Benefits, Roles & Salary

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If you love maintaining a busy lifestyle and feel an office job isn’t for you, active careers may suit you best.

But before we get onto our list of exciting active careers, why not begin with the most obvious one? With our range of personal training courses, you can get started on a rewarding career in fitness today!

Find out more about starting on an exciting new path by downloading our course prospectus.

29 Of The Most Active Careers: Benefits, Roles, & Salary

Whether you’re looking for something high energy like becoming a personal trainer or something more low impact like fitness modelling, there are plenty of positions and roles best suited to you!

#1 - Personal Trainer

personal trainer active careers

Average Salary: £28,505

Taking first place on our list of active careers is the personal trainer role. Among many roles, PTs use their fitness knowledge and expertise to create customised exercise plans and training programmes, most commonly on a 1-on-1 basis.

If staying active while inspiring others sounds like your dream job, being a personal trainer is the way to go. 

Plus, with a boom in the health and fitness industry, you can expect a high salary for personal training, with plenty of willing clients looking for a trainer.

list of active careers personal trainer

If you’re interested in becoming a PT, there are plenty of personal trainer courses to get you started. 

For those looking to break their way into the fitness industry, our entry level courses include:

For students with a busy personal life, online personal trainer courses are also an option for those wanting to work towards qualifying as a PT from the comfort of their own home!

By learning with our expert personal tutors at industry-leading prices, you could be qualified for one of the best careers for an active lifestyle in as little as 2 weeks.

#2 - Yoga Instructor

fun active careers yoga teachers

Average Salary: £30,819

Along with the boom in the health and fitness industry, the popularity of yoga has grown substantially in the last decade, making it one of the best active careers to join. 

As a yoga teacher, your role will include:

  • Leading classes through various poses
  • Practising meditation
  • Promoting mindfulness

While there are many types of yoga styles, you will typically teach one, such as Hatha or Vinyasa. However, you’ll still need to be proficient in most forms of yoga to excel in this role and branch out into other teaching opportunities.

physically active careers yoga teacher

For those looking to break into physically active careers, you’ll start by completing a Level 3 Diploma in Yoga, which equips you with everything you need to lead impactful yoga sessions and secure your first role in a studio or gym.

For those who have work and family commitments, an online yoga teacher training course is a great option to help you break into one of the best active careers. This option allows you to study from the comfort of your own home!

Our courses are recognised worldwide, being regulated by Ofqual and endorsed by CIMSPA. This means the course meets industry standards and students can be assured they’re being taught by a credible provider.

 

Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Begin an exciting active career today by enrolling on our Level 3 Personal Trainer Course!

#3 - Fitness Instructor

most active careers fitness instructor

Average Salary: £23,522

What’s a better active career than exercising as part of your job? Even more appealing is that this role is often occupied by those just starting their fitness - perfect if you’re looking to break into the industry!

As a gym instructor, you’ll find employment with gyms and fitness centres by helping others improve their exercise techniques and fitness levels. 

Alongside delivering both group workout sessions and fitness classes, you’ll also conduct gym inductions and show new members the facilities.

Other roles that are often part of the gym instructor job description include: 

  • Demonstrating how to use gym equipment
  • Maintaining equipment and cleaning the gym
  • Performing administrative tasks

fitness instructor active careers

To become a fitness instructor, you will need to complete a Level 2 Gym Instructor Course

However, to gain further employment opportunities, you may consider a Personal Training Diploma. This joint certification allows you to qualify as both a fitness instructor and personal trainer.

Although gym instructor and personal trainer may sound interchangeable, there is a difference in what these roles involve. PTs often work 1-on-1 with clients, creating tailored workouts unique to their goals. Fitness instructors often work with multiple people at once and teach classes with very little 1-on1 interaction. Guidance is more general than that provided by a personal trainer.

However, if you have a passion for helping people reach their goals and want a career with plenty of development opportunities, this active career is certainly the one for you.

#4 - Boot Camp Instructor

physically active careers boot camp instructor

Average Salary: £19,051

If you’re not already aware, fitness boot camps consist of short bursts of intense training and as the military-sounding name suggests, it blends traditional callisthenics workouts with strength and interval training.

These workouts can vary depending on their focus as they may include an intense level of aerobics, speed, and strength training. This makes for an exciting active career without being restricted to a specific branch of fitness.

To embark on this fun and active career, you’ll need to be qualified as a Level 2 Fitness Instructor. You can work for an independent company with this or take it to the next level and start a fitness bootcamp business yourself.

If you love the idea of staying fit while motivating others through intense sessions with plenty of patience and enthusiasm, this active career is ideal for you. 

#5 - Strength & Conditioning Coach

fun active careers strength and conditioning coach

Average Salary: £24,523

If you’re looking for active careers that allow you to live a flexible lifestyle, you should look into how to become a strength and conditioning coach. Think of a strength and conditioning coach as a more specialised personal trainer. 

While a PT may take a slightly more general approach to an individual's fitness, strength and conditioning coaches offer a narrower and more intense service. 

As their work is more specialised, clients are often those whose fitness extends beyond a passing interest, such as athletes. This means they offer plans and deliver sessions that improve athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury.

With this in mind, it makes this a great role for those seeking good careers for active people with a desire to range with athletes from all levels. You may work with anyone from a high school athlete to a college sportstar or even an elite-level Olympian!

You’ll need a deep understanding of the physical characteristics required to excel in specific sports so you can tailor plans to each individual athlete you coach. A CPD in Strength & Conditioning will help build your knowledge in this area and help you work towards becoming a strength and conditioning coach.

So, if you’re looking to make a direct impact on the lives of others, this job is better suited to you than most active careers!

 

Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Begin an exciting active career today by enrolling on our Level 3 Personal Trainer Course!

#6 - Running Coach

active careers that pay well running coach

Average Salary: Varies

Running coaches work alongside runners to develop their skills in this area, such as:

  • Stamina
  • Endurance
  • Resilience

The role of a running coach is to do the planning and thinking, allowing the athlete to simply focus on the training. This means finding the best ways for runners to reach their goals while ensuring they’re protected from injury both during and after training.

Others roles include: 

  • Create tailored workouts for clients
  • Protecting runners from injury
  • Provide advice on strategy, balance, and structure

Although you’ll often work on a one-on-one basis, you may find yourself working with running teams. The qualifications for running coaches can vary, with some having degrees in sports science such as anatomy or physical education, and others studying vocationally.

Regardless of your previous qualifications, backing by UK Athletics (UKA), or British Athletics from 2013, is absolutely necessary for all running coach qualifications. Being certified by undertaking UKA-accredited training makes you a trustworthy running coach.

active careers running coach

Depending on who exactly you’d like to be a running coach for, there are many different qualifications on the British Athletics website for track and field events which you can read about here.

As there’s a limited scope for employment as a running coach, it’s unlikely you will gain full time employment as a running coach. As this is a specialised service for those really passionate about the sport, it isn’t high in demand at most gyms.

This means most running coaches work on a freelance basis. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be struggling to find work. Services such as We-Run allows you to pass your details over to those looking to be coached.

Sites such as these pair you with people who are actively looking for running coaches to help with their training. For example, if you’ve recently completed a CiRF qualification, your details will be passed over to those looking to improve their off-track running experience.

#7 - Athletic Trainer

most active careers athletic trainer

Average Salary: £25,811

Athletic trainers work alongside athletes, rehabilitating them through injuries and working with them to improve their performance. 

Other roles of this active career include: 

  • Assessing injuries
  • Working one-on-one with athletes during their training sessions
  • Creating custom at-home treatment plans for recovery

As athletic trainers are often the first people on the scene when sports injuries occur, either during a competition or simply a training session, you have to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. If a footballer twists their ankle, you’ll be the first one to rush out onto the field.

You’ll need to complete an undergraduate athletic trainer degree to join this physically active career, as you need expert knowledge in anatomy and physiology. If a mixture of physical exercise and biology sounds appealing, this is the career for you!

#8 - Exercise Referal Specialist

most active careers exercise referral

Average Salary: £29,276

An exercise referral specialist is someody who is qualified to create tailored fitness programmes for individuals suffering with a chronic physical condition or illness. The patient may have one or multiple conditions that can be helped with physical activity.

Referral specialists treat a range of different illnessses. They differ from physical therapists as their focus isn't just limited to treating injuries but various conditions such as:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Obesity
  • Asthma and COPD
  • Arthritis

Exercise referral specialists aren't just limited to these conditions - they can treat any illness that negatively affects a patient's health and wellbeing.

active careers I can do

As a referral specialist, you may find both contracted employment or freelance work. If you're seeking contracted employment, you'll find opportunities in places such as:

  • Leisure centres
  • Council-run gyms and exercise facilities
  • Private healthcare

To become an exercise referral specialist, you would need to complete a Level 2 Gym Instructor or a Personal Trainer Diploma to lay the foundations for a career in the industry.

This will be followed by a more specialised Level 3 Exercise Referral Course, which provides you with the certification to work alongside GPs and medical professionals.

If you have an interest in creating exercise plans to help treat a range of conditions, you should certainly consider a career as an exercise referral specialist.

#9 - Dance Instructor

best active careers dance instructor

Average Salary: £32,514

If you have a passion for dance and are looking for lucrative active careers, you may consider becoming a dance instructor.

Professional dancing and choreography require huge levels of stamina, strength, and flexibility, as well as a natural flair for rhythm, making the career challenging yet rewarding.

Depending on your specific interest, you may branch out into providing specialist education, preparing students to become pro dancers, or simply educating them about dance and movement so that they can develop their own creative style of dance.

If you’re looking for a rewarding and high paying fitness career without being stuck behind a desk all day, look no further!

 

Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Begin an exciting active career today by enrolling on our Level 3 Personal Trainer Course!

#10 - Physical Therapist

careers for active people physical therapist

Average Salary: £42,340

When it comes to careers that keep you active, you may not immediately think of physical therapy. While you’ll definitely spend time at your computer creating case plans for your clients, most of the time, you’ll be up on your feet.

Whether you’re physically holding them up during exercises or actively performing them alongside your client, you’ll be doing a lot of physically demanding work.

You can specialise in the type of physical therapy you do too. You can work exclusively with one age group such as paediatric therapy for children, or for specific issues like orthopaedics for bone and joint issues.

#11 - Football Coach

active careers football coach

Average Salary: £28,562

If you want to turn your love of football into a lifestyle, you may be interested in becoming a football coach. Through some hard work and determination that starts with volunteering at your local grassroots club, you can end up with one of the best careers for physically active folks.

As a football coach, your work will be focused on developing the skills of the players while keeping their motivation high. You will also organise and lead the team through their competitions.

Depending on your level of experience and qualifications, you can teach anything from young children all the way up to professional teams. If you want to go to the World Cup, this is one way to help you get there!

Even better, if you’re a former football player, you can take the next step in your active career by having your PFA fitness courses partially funded for you.

#12 - Referee

best active careers referee

Average Salary: £32,141

Referees play a vital role in sports events. Whether in football or boxing, as a referee you need to be able to anticipate play and put yourself where the action is. Concentration and attention to detail are crucial for this

If you have a keen eye for rule violations and love to be involved with your favourite sport without actively playing, this is one of the best careers that are physically active.

Every sport requires a different set of skills to succeed. For one, it may be brute strength and size. For another, it may be agility and speed. 

No matter the sport, you need to be passionate and well-versed in the gameplay, as well as physically fit.

 

Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Begin an exciting active career today by enrolling on our Level 3 Personal Trainer Course!

#13 - Martial Arts Instructor

good careers for active people - martial arts instructor

Average Salary: £32,631

Becoming a Martial Arts Instructor is one of many good careers for active people, especially those with discipline and patience. If you love Taekwondo or Jiu-Jitsu and want to take your practice to the next level, this is a great career move.

Whether you’re teaching children or adults, you always need to put the safety of your students first. While you are primarily teaching self-defence and combat techniques, your job doesn’t end with the instruction.

To become a martial arts instructor, you’ll need prior experience in your chosen style. While you don’t need a black belt to teach, you should at least have a high-level belt. 

However, if you want to teach students all the way up to their black belt, you will need to be at this level.

#14 - Lifeguard

active careers lifeguard

Average Salary: £19,935

Becoming a lifeguard is among the most physically active careers on this list. We see this role across TV and media, and while it may not be as glamorous as it appears on-screen, it can be perfect for anyone with a love of swimming and passion for helping others.

As a lifeguard, you will primarily be based in:

  • Leisure centres
  • Water parks
  • Private clubs
  • Beaches

It’s your job to keep an eye on the public to ensure they’re swimming safely. This means diving in to rescue them if they get themselves into trouble or swim into potentially dangerous waters if an outdoors lifeguard.

Lifeguarding also paves the way for future employment as it gives you plenty of desirable soft skills to help you get into the fitness industry, such as:

  • Self-confidence
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Responsibility

#15 - Swimming Instructor

careers that are physically active - swim instructor

Average Salary: £30,819

Next on our list of active careers is a swimming teacher. This is about as far away from a 9 to 5 as you can get! As every swimmer has different hurdles to overcome, you’ll be faced with something new every day.

The most common type of swim instructor is a children’s instructor. There is great satisfaction brought about by building a beginner swimmer’s confidence in the water. 

This is a great career choice for those with an interest in teaching and a passion for fitness but may not want to teach in a classroom. Teaching is a hugely rewarding experience, especially when kids are involved! Better yet, you’ll be providing them with both a lifelong and life saving skill!

However, you don’t just have to be limited to teaching children. People of all different age groups and abilities should learn how to swim and improve their technique. 

This can include adults who may have a phobia of the water or even professional teams. With further development, you may even consider running your own school with a team of instructors working for you. 

If you have plenty of swimming experience and the skills to match, you should certainly consider this fun and active career.

 

Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Begin an exciting active career today by enrolling on our Level 3 Personal Trainer Course!

#16 - P.E. Teacher

pe teacher best active careers

Average Salary: £33,916

If you’re passionate about sports and helping young people improve their physical fitness or interest in sports, a P.E teacher could be one of the best active careers for you.

As a P.E. Teacher, you’re responsible for planning, teaching, and guiding students through a wide range of physical activities. From badminton to basketball and all activities in between, you need to be prepared to show off your own physical prowess to instruct effectively.

While your day-to-day may look different depending on the age range you are teaching, you can expect to work in a sports hall or gym with varying levels of physical effort.

For this career, a sports related qualification or degree is best, such as: 

This will then be followed by a Post Graduate in Education (PGCE) at the school level you wish to teach at, specialising in physical education. This can take a year to complete if studied fulltime and up to two years if part time.

#17 - Strongman

good careers for active people - strongman

Average Salary: Varied

On this list, it’s likely this is the most difficult career to break into. Although it’s a fantastic career that keeps you active, most of your salary comes from prize winnings and sponsorships.

If you have a strong desire to wake up and train right away, eat healthily, then continue training again, this role may seem too good to be true. However, while it may be difficult to break into, it can happen if you put in the hours.

Keep in mind, you will likely have to supplement your income when you are new by promoting gyms and other strongmen. Although, with a strong gym business plan and a lot of hard work, you could even open your own strongman gym. 

If you’re consistently able to compete at a high level, you can branch out into adverts, podcasts, and even seminars.

- - - - 

Aside from being inspired by our list of active careers, check out these articles below to find out more about getting started in the fitness industry:

#18 - Recreational Therapist

list of active careers recreational therapist

Average Salary: £37,282

Recreational therapy is one of the best careers for an active lifestyle due to the broad range of activities involved in the role. As a recreational therapist, you’ll use leisure activities to help people recover from health conditions.

These activities can be anything from sports games and dance to gardening and yoga. The vast majority of the time you’ll be working with groups of patients, so you’ll also need to be good at encouraging socialisation through group activities.

Depending on your level of experience, you can expect to work in places such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Nursing facilities
  • Correctional facilities

Recreational therapy differs from occupational therapy as it focuses more on leisure activities than everyday physical assistance.

#19 - Paramedic

physically active careers paramedic

Average Salary: £36,082

Being a paramedic is one of the most rewarding and active careers on this list. You will be expected to rush to emergency situations and patients that require assistance, lug heavy equipment around with you, and run up and down multiple flights of stairs.

To do this job effectively, you certainly have to maintain a high level of physical fitness. If going to the gym is part of your daily routine, this is certainly a role to consider.

Of course, the bulk of your role will be providing medical assistance to those in need. To join this physically active career, you’ll need to complete a paramedic science degree approved by the Health and Care Professions Council. 

The most common route is to study a paramedic science degree, which typically takes 3 years.

 

Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Begin an exciting active career today by enrolling on our Level 3 Personal Trainer Course!

#20 - Kickboxing Instructor

kickboxing instructor active careers

Average Salary: £25,774

If you’re into kickboxing and have a favourite style such as Muay Thai or Sanda, it might be worth looking into teaching opportunities. Kickboxing instructors work in a wide variety of settings, including fitness centres and health clubs.

You have to know the style you want to teach first-hand before you get a certification to ensure you’re getting the right one. You may require a CPR certification as well, as this role is related to health and wellness.

If you’re looking for fun, active careers, this is a great choice! You’ll traditionally teach large groups as creating a positive social dynamic is also part of the role, using boxing class ideas to help design innovative and engaging workouts. 

If you love kickboxing and keeping other people motivated and high-energy, this is the career for you.

#21 - CrossFit Coach

careers for active people crossfit coach

Average Salary: £29,447

CrossFit Coaches run specialty CrossFit classes. You need to become a CrossFit coach through one of their four training programs. Levels 1 and 2 are classed as entry-level, whereas 3 and 4 are gained through tougher examinations.

To succeed at this career for active people you have to be able to teach and work with a wide range of ages and athletic abilities. 

You’ll be expected to plan and teach your own strength and conditioning training, following the CrossFit official structure.

If you want to earn money while doing what you love and feel the gratitude of students whose lives you have transformed, you should consider this active career.

#22 - Acrobatic Dancer

best active careers acrobatic dancer

Average Salary: £29,608

Acrobatic dance combines classical dance techniques with precise acrobatic movements to tell a story or express an idea. It’s one of the best active careers that pay well, with the average salary being significantly higher than that of a dancer - £5,000 or more on average.

What makes this a good career for active people and dancers in particular, is the step up from your standard dancing job. You’ll need to combine the skills of the acrobat with the art of dance to pull off challenging moves.

As an acrobatic dancer, you should be ready to perform on stage, such as for broadcasting or video recording. You should have a solid knowledge on styles such as street dance, contemporary dance, and ballet as a starting point.

#23 - Stunt Performer

active careers stunt performer

Average Salary: Varied

If wild car chases, jumping from buildings, and setting yourself on fire sounds like your thing, you’re probably used to searching for careers for physically active people. However, you may not have considered being a stunt performer!

Being a stunt performer requires a commitment to staying in tip-top shape, both in order to perform quality stunts and ensure you’re safe when on set. Networking through gyms and fitness centres is also one of the best ways to seek out opportunities.

It’s a tricky line of work to get into though, so make sure you develop your skill set so you can be as employable as possible. 

Specialising in tumbling stunts or swordplay is fantastic, but having proficiency in other areas is a must.

 

Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Begin an exciting active career today by enrolling on our Level 3 Personal Trainer Course!

#24 - Fitness Model

active careers that pay well fitness model

Average Salary: £25,812

Becoming a fitness model is an increasingly popular career for active people. The job involves modelling athletic equipment and clothing, as well as doing photo shoots or videos. You will also work alongside brands, photographers, and designers.

It goes without saying that you have to commit to a healthy lifestyle and maintain an impressive physique to be a fitness model. 

However, you’ll also need to find and book clients, post consistently on social media, and actively perform in commercials and promotional materials. 

While you have to put a lot of effort in, this is definitely one of the more fun active careers out there. The more successful you become and the more travelling you do, the larger your paycheck and scope of opportunities!

#25 - Tour Guide

careers for physically active - tour guide

Average Salary: £23,754

If your passion for an active lifestyle is mirrored by your passion for travel, you may want to look into becoming a tour guide. It’s a varied role, and could see you working in places such as: 

  • Castles
  • Art galleries
  • Gardens

Tour guides need to be fit and healthy to keep walking and talking for hours on end. This career also requires confident and energetic individuals to keep the mood of the tour up. 

Granted, it’s not the most active career on this list. However, if you’ve ever done a walking tour, you’ll know how tiring it can be. Now imagine doing that walk for 8 to 10 hours straight, over and over!

If you have a flair for history and travel but want to maintain your active lifestyle, this is a fantastic career choice.

#26 - Exercise Physiologist

active careers exercise physiologist

Average Salary: £30,310

An exercise physiologist creates customised fitness programmes for patients who need assistance with:

  • Body composition
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Flexibility

Most people in these active careers work full-time and are self-employed, meaning they’ll periodise and plan client workouts, as well as manage their business and finances.

You’ll need in-depth knowledge to provide your patients with the scientific basis of what you’re telling them, so you’ll typically require at least a bachelor’s degree in a science or health-related subject such as:

  • Anatomy
  • Nutrition
  • Biology

If you’re looking for active careers that pay well, this may be a good option. The demand for exercise physiologists is expected to rise in the next 5 years as professionals begin to emphasise it as a preventative care.

#27 - Landscaper

fun active careers - landscaper

Average Salary: £20,193

Landscaping is one of the best active careers for those who would rather be surrounded by greenery than four cubicle walls. And if you’ve ever spent a weekend pulling weeds in the garden, you’ll be fully aware of how physical it is!

A survey by Bark of over 40,000 professionals across 43 sectors revealed landscaping to be the ‘happiest job’ in the UK. 

As research has shown, gardening has many positive effects on mental health, making it an appealing active career.

Landscaping is never mind numbing, either. Whether you’re working on pristine greens or private grounds, bringing beauty to a property is as creative as it is challenging.

 

Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Begin an exciting active career today by enrolling on our Level 3 Personal Trainer Course!

#28 - Soldier

best active careers - soldier

Average Salary: £29,263

While the most common reason people join the military is to serve their country and fulfil a sense of duty, getting physically fit is also a reason people embark on this career. 

A career in the military allows you to live and work in nature too, making it a great choice for those wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

As you’re required to carry heavy equipment across large distances and be both mentally and physically strong, being a soldier is incredibly physical work.

To become a soldier, you have to complete and pass tough military training. However, the good news is you’re essentially being paid to exercise! So, if you love physically active careers, the military could be a perfect fit for you.

#29 - Firefighter

most active careers - firefighter

Average Salary: £33,586

Last on our list of active careers is the firefighter profession. A famously physically active career, many associate firefighters with carrying people out of burning buildings and running into dangerous situations. 

However, while this isn’t every aspect of this job, you’ll certainly need high levels of stamina and strength for this role. Similar to the previous career in the military, you’ll have to pass a physical fitness test as part of the selection process. 

This means you’ll need to develop and maintain: 

  • Aerobic endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Muscular strength and endurance

Becoming a firefighter is one of the best careers for an active lifestyle if you want a rewarding job where you’re literally saving people’s lives while maintaining an active lifestyle and physical fitness.

Before You Go!

After reading our list of active careers, you’re sure to have settled on the most suitable one for you!

But why not check out our range of personal trainer courses, specifically our Level 3 Personal Trainer Course, to begin an exciting career in the health and fitness industry.

Download our course prospectus to find the best one for you or leave your details below.

References

  1. Thompson R. Gardening For Health: A Regular Dose Of Gardening. Clin Med (Lond). 2018 Jun;18(3):201-205. doi: 10.7861/clinmedicine.18-3-201. PMID: 29858428; PMCID: PMC6334070.

Written by Erin McDonough

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Erin holds a BA in English Language and Linguistics, which she attained whilst studying at Bangor University. Whilst studying, she found a passion for editing and writing, and has worked with writers from the Wirral and Liverpool area over the past 3 years. Erin also has a keen interest in strength training and yoga, often incorporating mindfulness techniques into the latter. Outside of work, Erin can be found gaming, catching up with the newest book releases, or song writing.

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