Needing Physically Active Job
October 15, 2012 7:45 PM   Subscribe

Hi -- looking to retire soon but am planning to continue working. Interested in a job that is more physically active -- most likely part time and in the AM. I searched for similar questions in the archives -- this one comes very close. Working in a bar or at UPS probably not for me -- hoping to find something that keeps me moving -- perhaps walking 2-3 miles per day. Any suggestions? Thanks!
posted by gilast to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Where are you located, roughly? Might influence answers. City? Suburbs? Rural?
posted by ocherdraco at 7:54 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

We have several retired persons working as pages and shelving books in the library. They move around more than anyone else in the building. Alternatively, I used to rack up the walking miles working in a big box retailer. That's contingent on working the sales floor though—a lot of new retail hires get stuck behind the registers at first.
posted by carsonb at 8:11 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

The security guards where I used to work were all of "retiree" age, and they all walked so much they became quite slim, trim and fit. A lot of graveyard shifts, though.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:13 PM on October 15, 2012

do you like dogs? dog walking can be a great part time job, for the right person.
posted by lia at 8:19 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

If it were me, I would think about gardening.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:22 PM on October 15, 2012

Ocherdraco -- I live in the suburbs -- S/E USA...

Lia -- I love dogs -- I would probably get attached to the dogs and then get upset when the job is over! So probably can't do that...

Thanks for answers so far!
posted by gilast at 8:23 PM on October 15, 2012

How do you feel about coffee? Baristas walk around a lot and also move and lift heavy bags of espresso and flavor powders
posted by spunweb at 8:26 PM on October 15, 2012

As a realtor, you'd be walking around showing people houses all day. It pays good money with flexible hours, too, from what I've heard.
posted by daisystomper at 8:51 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Check into whether you'll get a reduction in benefits if you continue to work after retiring. This may influence what sort of work you look into doing to stay active, healthy, and connected.

A lot of retirees around here volunteer as docents at the zoo, the art museum, and historical preservation sites.

My uncle does a lot of yard work and car maintenance for people--mowing, plowing, raking, shoveling, oil changing, detailing, etc. I think he finds it to be a rather zen experience.
posted by xyzzy at 8:51 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was thinking any kind of retail involves a lot of standing, lifting, etc. Not necessarily *walking*, but definitely physical, and a great chance to talk to lots of people (if that's your thing) about whatever interests you.

After retiring from HUD, my grandfather worked in a video rental shop and *loved* it.
posted by colin_l at 8:52 PM on October 15, 2012

Wow...I thought of the dog thing as well..... only because I put on about 6 miles a day (at 64 y/o) just walking the husky. Don't discount this thought because of getting attached to the pups. There are a number of dogs I interact with on a regular basis, and, yeah, I'll miss them at some point, but the joy of being around them is worth it in the long run....
posted by HuronBob at 8:56 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you have a local grocery store chain that offers carry out service, you could bag and cart groceries to customers' cars.

I always assume that'll be my retirement job, should I live so long. It's active, shift work, and as social or as non-social as you want.
posted by rainbaby at 10:18 PM on October 15, 2012

I disagree with an earlier poster that real estate involves day-long walking showing houses. Maybe in some urban markets, and if you're an especially active agent with a staff to handle all the paperwork end, but mostly real estate tends to be a lot of sitting around the office, and driving if you're out.

And to answer the question: maybe start a cut-rate courier service? Slow speed, extremely local would be your niche...maybe something involving mail pick-ups. Door-to-door sales or polling/canvassing could definitely involve lots of walking. And for a twist on dog walking: baby walking! Take kids out for a spin in their stroller to give moms a chance to take a break (or vacuum, or nap, or whatever). Depending on age/time of day/disposition, many babies would just fall asleep - pretty easy for the walker.

One other note, don't discount UPS without checking it out. Working in a hub does tend to involve a lot of standing in one spot, but it's pretty physical work. It can keep you in shape if you don't slack. Of course you might be able to get on as an auditor or something; more walking around the facility and less handling packages.
posted by attercoppe at 11:21 PM on October 15, 2012

When my granddad retired, he got a gig as a meter reader for a local utility company. I'm not sure if that's even still a thing that exists in much of the country, but it definitely kept him pretty active on a part time basis for years and years.

(He also drove grain trucks for a nearby farmer and generally probably did more physical work than he had for a lot of his career as a county extension agent.)

I know some people at or near traditional retirement age who do custodial stuff for public schools.
posted by brennen at 11:30 PM on October 15, 2012

Any attractions nearby that have tour guides? That keeps my father fit as well as mentally active!
posted by insomniax at 11:49 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Newspaper Delivery
posted by mannequito at 11:50 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

On a trip I was picked up and brought to my rental car by a former bank president that took on this part time job as a retiree. He helps with luggage and makes the runs to and from the airport or where ever a few mornings a week. He loves the constant movement and chatting with interesting people.
posted by readery at 5:44 AM on October 16, 2012

Oh, and my dad drove a local taxi a few mornings a week, I bet for the same reason but I didn't think to ask.
posted by readery at 5:46 AM on October 16, 2012

Bookstores, if you can find one that's still open by the time you retire. A lot of them hire people to come in and shelve in the mornings.
posted by BibiRose at 5:59 AM on October 16, 2012

Try National Park Service or state parks departments. They would certainly have some volunteer work at least.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 6:03 AM on October 16, 2012

For something active but slightly less strenuous than UPS --- check out the U.S. Postal Service. They hire temporary employees locally - their term is "casual" employment - to cover for vacationing carriers & clerks in summer and also to assist with high-volume mail & shipping times like Christmas holidays. The positions only last 3 months at a time but you can be rehired into casual employment multiple times. Duties can include: indoors sorting mail and packages, outdoors actually delivering the mail, or running the register at the cashier window. If delivering, you could be walking with a mailbag, supported by a truck or a relay route; or you may be on a driving route with stops to deliver packages & get signatures for certified mail. The best way to get these jobs is just to ask at your local Post Office - the postmaster will let you know if there are any casual positions available there, or can refer you to a larger PO or sorting facility where there will be jobs. You can also check the's Job Search database - use keyword "casual" or "temporary".
posted by Ardea alba at 9:14 AM on October 16, 2012

After my mom retired, she did a two-year florist certificate and now works three days a week as a florist. The job is physical and keeps her active, moving trays, doing arrangements. She's not so enthusiastic about floor sales, and is not great with a register, but she can manage most things. The owner loves her because she's so reliable and has good management skills, from her previous job.

Mom's lost a fair bit of weight now that she no longer sits all day, and she's probably got more energy now at 73 than she did at 65. The second career has been great for her, and she is doing something she has always wanted to do.
posted by bonehead at 9:17 AM on October 16, 2012

Wow -- thank you all SO much for your responses. I wish I could thank each of you personally. These are all great ideas and make me feel like I have lots of options. Great to read what other folks have done. Thanks again -- I'm impressed!
posted by gilast at 4:35 PM on October 16, 2012

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