Physically active job ideas?
August 6, 2012 2:50 PM   Subscribe

What are some jobs that I could do in Toronto that would keep me physically active (more than just walking a lot) without requiring going to college?

Here's what I've brainstormed so far and what I think about it:

- Construction: I have a back injury and I think this would be a little too hard labour (although otherwise I am in good shape) and also potential air quality issues
- Landscaping: I am allergic to cut grass otherwise I would like this
- Cleaning: air quality issues from constantly being around dust and cleaning products, which I am sensitive to
- Doggy Daycare / Dog Walking: I would love this and I have applied to a bunch of places
- Film industry production assistant type guy: ?
- Working with kids: I have no experience with this but it could be good theoretically
- Personal Trainer: probably not as much exercise for myself vs the client and I would find this very tedious
- Bike Courier: nope.

If anyone has any ideas for things that I missed, or construction type ideas that will steer me clear of being around a lot of dust and other nasty things to inhale yet still keep me using all four limbs, I'm all ears!

My two main issues are with air quality and my back injury: as long as I will have the option to grab a seat once in a while: being on my feet the whole day would not work. I need some sitting with my standing.
posted by GleepGlop to Work & Money (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Tour guide?
posted by c'mon sea legs at 2:53 PM on August 6, 2012

Delivery driver?
posted by matlock expressway at 3:03 PM on August 6, 2012

Just about anything in retail.
posted by phunniemee at 3:43 PM on August 6, 2012

Orderly or patient transport in a hospital.
posted by Requiax at 4:10 PM on August 6, 2012

If landscaping would have been an option, have you thought about carpentry/electrician/plumbing/HVAC or another skilled trade? There is a training/apprenticeship component, but no college degree and decent pay. You would have to be able to lift heavy things (like you would in landscaping). If you're willing to go a bit outside of Toronto, you could look into park ranger/forestry type jobs.
posted by fermezporte at 4:31 PM on August 6, 2012

Working in a nursery or a garden centre has much of the physicality of landscaping without the cut grass.

My husband worked in an e-recycling facility for a while and it was incredibly physical work (it was in Richmond Hill). Other warehouse work would probably be the same.
posted by scrute at 5:04 PM on August 6, 2012

Set up your own dog walking business. Don't worry about applying to others. I did this in NYC and while it took a while to pick up momentum, once it did it was a great business and kept me in great physical shape.
posted by merocet at 5:31 PM on August 6, 2012

Why no to bike courier?
posted by 256 at 5:34 PM on August 6, 2012

If you need to sit occasionally, working as a film PA is absolutely not for you. 15 hours of being on your feet, rushing from task to task, with a few 30 minute meal breaks is pretty much what you can expect.
posted by mollymayhem at 5:37 PM on August 6, 2012

Seconding 256's "Why no to bike courier"?

Best job I ever had in Toronto: Lots of interesting people to meet (both co-workers and clients), no day is ever the same, you control how much (or how little) you work, you get to know the city incredibly intimately, and the amount of exercise to fun ratio can't be beat.
What could be better than getting paid to ride your bike all day?!

Since couriers are essentially independent contractors, you would be in charge of your own time, and could therefore take a sit-down break whenever your back problems necessitate one. If air quality is a concern for you, you could always invest in something like this.

Don't rule this out! All you need is a decent bike, a smartphone, and good physical fitness. If you're willing to work hard and with the right company, you can make some decent (though not extravagant) money fairly easily in a city like Toronto.
posted by Dorinda at 5:50 PM on August 6, 2012

Airport ramp crew. I did this for a while, and since I love airplanes it was great!

Slinging bags, parking planes, de-icing planes, cleaning planes, lavatories (pumping off of the plane), hooking up heat/ac blowers, etc. Hard physical work, but fun. Not really all that hard on the back (lift with your legs!), and you usually get free flights. And you'll never pack yourself a heavy suitcase again...
posted by matty at 6:10 PM on August 6, 2012

All you need is a decent bike, a smartphone, and good physical fitness.

There are a lot of folks who don't have a bike (decent or no) or a smartphone. (Also a lot of folks who just don't like riding bikes.) If the OP is one of these people, would you be willing to send him money so that he could purchase a decent bike and a smartphone?

It requires training, but lifeguarding seems like it could be an option. You could also ref games at a community center or YMCA. I had active friends in high school who did that for summer jobs, and they seemed to enjoy it.
posted by phunniemee at 6:34 PM on August 6, 2012

There are some great suggestions here that I will look into so far. No to bike courier because it doesn't feel safe for me.
posted by GleepGlop at 6:40 PM on August 6, 2012

Forklift operator. Yes, it requires training and passing the license requirements. Once you have that though, it's basically a construction job that takes place in a warehouse/loading dock/factory environment.
posted by ceribus peribus at 8:20 PM on August 6, 2012

A friend got really strong loading trucks and planes for FedEx.
posted by lab.beetle at 9:42 PM on August 6, 2012

Postal carrier? My cousin worked for Canada Post and got to walk around the city every day delivering mail, and loved the outdoors and friendly aspects.
posted by ldthomps at 8:01 AM on August 7, 2012

I don't know the situation in Canada, but in the US you can get a surveyor's license with just a little bit of classwork (i.e., not an entire degree). You'd be outside all day carrying equipment, so maybe not for you if you're concerned about air quality.

And seconding the warehouse work suggestion. Is there any kind of intermodal facility nearby, or a section of town with a lot of distribution centers? You might be able to pick up daily work by just showing up at the dock area. Truckers dropping off or picking up loads will often pay (cash, probably under the table, but ymmv) for help loading and unloading faster, so they can get on their way.

Is there anything you can do to manage your allergies? I'm also allergic to cut grass, and I do much better at certain times of year if I take Claritin regularly. I've also gotten allergy shots in the past, which helped tremendously. And I've also seen landscaping crews wearing masks, which might also help.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:02 AM on August 7, 2012

I just spent 2 hours yesterday hauling tables and chairs around a cafeteria after an event. So maybe working for a catering or party planning company is a good idea.
posted by CathyG at 8:49 AM on August 7, 2012

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