A new study looked at which jobs promote the most physical activity in your time off—and which ones sap your motivation for getting to the gym after work

By Macaela Mackenzie
Updated: June 13, 2016
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When it comes to making career moves, you're probably not thinking about how your job impacts your fitness goals (well, beyond negotiating that swanky gym membership as part of your benefits package). But what career you choose may have major impacts on how much exercise you get outside the office, according to new research-and we're not just talking about how active you are in the office. (Psst... Check out The Surprising Work Perk You Get From a Run.)

Researchers analyzed survey data between 2008 and 2014 and found, as published in the latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that regardless of whether they were working a desk job or doing something more active, 43 percent of adults currently aren't getting the recommended amount of exercise, which is at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of intense sweating each week. (And did you know Most U.S. Adults Would Fail a Healthy Lifestyle Test?)

More specifically, they found that adults with more active, physically intensive jobs actually get less physical activity in their off hours: half of adults with production (AKA physical jobs) failed to meet exercise recommendations, whereas only 30 percent of those with professional or managerial jobs (or desk jobs) didn't meet the minimum. They also found a link between education and how many hours you spend sweating it out at the gym. Those with higher degrees-even in production jobs-tend to be more active as well.

The good news: Even if you spend all day chained to a desk, you're not doomed to being totally inactive. In fact, the more sedentary you are at the office, the more likely you are to make up for it with those early morning spin classes and weekend sweat sessions. (FIY, How Much Exercise You Need Totally Depends on Your Goals.)

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