What the best construction jobs are for keeping fit

Written by CD, updated May 04 2019 in accordance with our editorial policy.

Is there a job you can do that will help keep you fit? We think there is in construction. Whether your fitness is cardio or muscle strength and endurance, we took a look at what the best construction jobs are for keeping fit.

We found the best construction jobs for keeping fit are bricklaying and carpentry. These jobs top the charts for cardio and require lots of strength and endurance for lifting and reaching throughout the day.

What job keeps up your cardio fitness?

Cardiorespiratory fitness is a measure of how long you can perform an activity for and what keeps your heart rate up.

A recent study shows the job which has the highest heart rate activity over the longest period of time is bricklayers. When studied, they spent more time with a higher heart rate than carpenters, concrete workers, and site supervisors. Carpenters do get a special mention here as they had nearly the same cardio performance as bricklayers.

Some good news for cardio fans is that the study also didn’t find any evidence linking cardio to injury at work. Safety is always important though as there are plenty of other ways to get injured in the short and long term.

How about jobs for muscle strength and endurance?

We found drain technicians and pipe layers to have the greatest ability to stay fit at work, particularly if they’re in and out of trenches all day.

Muscle strength and endurance is how much you can keep using your muscles throughout the day without a break, and how strong you are when using those muscles. Thanks to the variety of their work, from breaking concrete to climbing in and out of trenches, we found drainage work to be a great way to maintain muscle fitness.

Concrete workers are another group doing well for muscle fitness. Running a rake through wet concrete is easy if you’re only doing it once. Doing it for hours at a time is a great way to keep up the muscle fitness.

Carpenters too get another special mention here thanks to their tools. A variety of tools means a heavy tool belt, and you’re carrying that around all day. While you’re carrying that belt you still have to reach, bend, and carry things, further maintaining your strength and endurance.

What other jobs are out there for maintaining fitness?


Putting on a roof often looks like a lot of physical lifting and cardio work involved, but there’s much more to the job than that. Roofing is also about finishings and having an eye for detail. Having the right finish and making sure the roof is waterproof are more important than being able to haul the materials up onto the roof.

Plumbing and electrical

Pipes and cables are heavy. Particularly cables, you’d be surprised. The majority of a plumber’s or electrician’s job however are not moving these around, but rather working with them. While there is also a lot of general physical around and reaching as part of the job, plumbers and electricians typically don’t have the intense movement that concrete workers or bricklayers do.

Roads and rail track maintenance

Working on public infrastructure is a demanding job. Every minute matters when you’re blocking off a piece of infrastructure to look after it. While these jobs are mentally demanding, particularly if you’re doing them on night shift, maintaining rail track or road can often be a lot of standing around waiting for something to happen before you can jump in and do your bit. Rail track workers do have a slight advantage here for maintaining fitness as they often have a lot further to walk; cars can’t always drive up to the track they need to get to.