15 Surprising Jobs That Will Keep You Healthy in Retirement

Americans over 65 are employed at the highest rate in 55 years. Some of these folks continue to work out of necessity, while others want to remain engaged and productive, both physically and mentally. Many realize that choosing a new career after retirement can be a way to keep feeling young and fit. One man in such a situation described it as being retired, but not retired.

Here is a list of 15 jobs to help you stay active during retirement. As you’ll, see many of these jobs offer flexible, part-time schedules and provide strong physical and mental benefits.

1. National park employee

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National park

Who wouldn’t want to work someplace like Yellowstone National park? | lucky-photographer/iStock/Getty Images

If you enjoy the fresh air and exercise associated with being outdoors, consider seasonal or year-round employment at a U.S. national park. Jobs that open up include park rangers, tour guides, researchers, custodial workers, and more. This could be a healthy opportunity to enjoy the beauty our national parks have to offer after sitting behind a desk for 30 years! To get started, check out the National Park Service employment site where you can view jobs by state.

Next: A job that boosts the body and mind

2. Yoga instructor

Yoga posture

Doing yoga is a great way for seniors to stay fit. | natalie_board/ Getty Images

Yoga refreshes the body and mind alike. If you enjoy the benefits of doing yoga, why not consider teaching it? Not only are yoga classes run at gyms, but they’re also provided by libraries, park districts, and senior centers. Yoga teachers help students become flexible, build physical strength, and grow emotionally. If you’re interested, you can become certified in as little as three to five months. Courses are available in both at-home and on-site settings. For those bit by the travel bug in retirement, a cruise ship yoga instructor job is always an option.

Next: Stay active and make a furry friend.

3. Dog walker

Dogs sniffing each others' butts

There’s never a dull moment in the world of dog walking. | maljalen/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re looking for a little extra cash right in your own neighborhood, consider being a dog walker. There is a demand for this type of gig in many areas where working couples are away from home for long hours. For retired folks, it’s a nice diversion to your day. Pick up as many clients as you see fit. You’ll get fresh air, plenty of exercise, and lots of time with canine friends.

To get started, put fliers in mailboxes or in grocery store bulletin boards. If you’d rather advertise online, try Craigslist. Salary-wise, dog walkers can charge $15 to $25 an hour, per dog.

Next: A huge, refreshing change for many

4. Nonprofit worker

Working for your favorite nonprofit is a great way to spend your post-retirement years | Thinkstock

Often, both men and women alike want to do something meaningful with their lives in retirement. This can be a hugely refreshing change after decades of sitting behind a desk or punching a timecard. If you have always found fulfillment in helping others in need or promoting arts and culture, a non-profit job in retirement may be for you. To get started, pick an organization and set up an informational interview. Consider volunteering to get your foot in the door. Check out nonprofit job sites like Bridgespan, Idealist, NonProfitJobs, or Encore.

Retiree Archie Elam, 61, was working on a third career transition in 2016. He completed a four-month training program for a career in the nonprofit sector for professionals over age 50. “The stuff you volunteer for, you care about, you do for free, and then one day you realize you can get paid to do something you care about,” he said. “How cool is that!”

Next: Those with a green thumb should apply.

5. Gardener

Gardener Jude Evans inspects a Tulip

Turn your green thumb into a second career. | Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

If you have a green thumb and enjoy gardening, there are many ways you can make some money doing it. If you have a large garden, consider renting space at your local farmers market. Many who shop farmers markets swear there’s nothing finer than biting into a juicy, home-grown tomato. If you grow perennials that need to be split each year, the next time you split them, you can sell the extras to other gardeners. Are you into growing herbs? You could dry them and sell them in packets. If you’re crafty on top of it, you could make and sell pillows filled with lavender you’ve grown.

Next: Retire at the happiest place on earth.

6. Disney cast member

If you’re relocating to Florida or California, why not work for Disney? | Mariah Wild/Disney Parks via Getty Images

  • Everyone who works at Disney in any capacity is called a cast member.

Speaking of gardening, how about putting those skills to good use at the happiest place on earth? Disney hires gardeners for tasks like landscape maintenance. Starting pay for one recent such position was listed at $17.78 per hour. Other Disney gardening opportunities you may find include horticulture specialist and landscape architect. Another possibility to keep active while working at Disney is to work as a greeter. While it doesn’t involve moving around too much, you’ll still be on your feet and walking throughout the day. Peruse Disney’s list of part-time jobs for more ideas.

Next: Cash in on a trend during your retirement.

7. Massage therapist

massage therapist

Becoming a massage therapist has never been easier. | iStock

As the older population grows, so too will the demand for massage therapy services. More people will be looking to relieve aches, pains, and stress on the body. A good time to make money on this trend might be in your retirement. You can set your own hours, making it either a full-time or part-time endeavor. Becoming certified often isn’t too costly, and you’ll have a variety of job settings to choose from. Some of the more fun places you can take your skills include spas or even cruise ships.

Next: History buffs and art lovers should apply.

8. Tour guide

Tour guide speaking to group in front of blue door

Fans of history could put their knowledge to work. | ablokhin/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re a history buff or art lover with a knack for public speaking, a tour guide job in retirement may be right for you. Tour guides are needed for museums, wineries, breweries, and more. If you prefer to be outside, tour guides are hired for places like gardens and monuments. This job isn’t for everyone; it often requires climbing stairs and walking for miles a day. But if you’re up for that and want to stay active by moving around quite a bit, this may be a great opportunity. Hourly tour guide pay ranges from $8 to $18 per hour.

Next: Sports fan retirees can become part of the action.

9. Sports referee

You won’t be in the big leagues, but umping is a great job for aging sports fans. | Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Calling all retirees who are sports enthusiasts: If you’re looking for a fun way to earn some money with your newfound spare time, consider being an umpire or referee. This type of job will usually keep you walking, or even running. The downside? You may have to endure less-than-ideal weather – and possibly even worse, the ire of angry parents when you blow the whistle. But if you’ve got a thick skin and enjoy being part of the action of a sports game, this could be a rewarding opportunity. As an umpire or referee, you can make $30 to $50 per game. You might earn a bit more — $50 to $75 per game with an independent league or private travel team.

To get started, contact your local umpire association or state athletic association. You could also contact your local leagues for more information.

Next: Cruise around the world with this job.

10. Cruise ship staff

A mature, smiling woman prepares to move a large chess piece on a cruise ship

Cruise ships are always looking for employees. | EdwardVisserPhotography/iStock / Getty Images Plus

If you’re bitten by the travel bug during retirement, there are plenty of jobs to keep you active on a cruise ship. If you’re an avid golfer or scuba diver, ships regularly need instructors for these activities. And as mentioned earlier, massage therapists and yoga instructors are regulars on most cruise ships.

Next: A fun trend among retirees

11. Workamper

North Cascades National Park

If you love the great outdoors, try workamping. | NPS.gov

Workamping is working combined with camping. A workamper is someone who works part-time or full-time while RV camping. They typically receive wages and a free campsite to park their mobile home, in exchange for working at parks, campgrounds, amusement parks, or resorts. Although it’s a lifestyle chosen by those of all ages, retirees are known for it in particular. More than half of all Workampers say they do it to supplement retirement income while being able to travel.

The term workamping was coined by a website of the same name. Visit workamper.com to learn more and see sample workamping job listings.

Next: A job that keeps you in top physical condition.

12. Ballroom dance instructor

Buckingham palace dining room

If you feel at home in a place like this, you should teach ballroom dancing. | SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images

If you have always loved to dance and have some experience in ballroom dancing, consider teaching it for a fun post-retirement job. While the vigorous movement will keep you active, ballroom dancing is scientifically proven to boost your mental, physical, and emotional health. It can even help prevent Parkinson’s Disease.

Ballroom dance instructors can work on cruise ships. Once such teacher is Carolyn England, 65, who took up ballroom dancing after raising her sons and retiring from a 22-year career with the post office. “I would live on a cruise ship if they would let me,” England said. “I’ve been on 17 cruises in 12 years.” A list of open ballroom dance instructor jobs can be found on the employment site Indeed.com.

Next: Another opportunity for retired sports enthusiasts

13. Athletic coach

Head coach Sam Wyche of the Cincinnati Bengals watches play during Super Bowl XXIII

Coaching keeps older sports fans in the game. | Mike Powell/Getty Images

Another job for retired sports fans that keeps you active is that of an athletic coach. Maybe you coached little league or other sports back when your children were younger. If you have some experience and the right amount of knowledge, an athletic coach job could keep you busy and earn you some money in retirement. Schools typically pay between $3,000 to $5,000 per season for coaching positions. Many employers do require their coaches to have played the sport they are coaching. Some schools may also require a bachelor’s degree.

Next: A job for those who like to clown around

14. Clown

clown wearing outsize

No really, the world needs more clowns. | iStock.com/Amanda Lewis

If you’ve always enjoyed clowning around with kids, why not make some money doing it? Being around little ones for an hour or two a couple times a week can be a boost for the heart and soul. In addition to kids’ birthday parties and school functions, you could also volunteer at a pediatric hospital. This may be a good time to pick up a job like this, as a national clown organization reports a shortage of clowns. The World Clown Association said membership declined 28% between 2004 and 2012.

15. Funeral Assistant

Baton Rouge police funeral

Funeral assistants do a lot of good. | Bill Feig-Pool/Getty Images

This may have been the last job on your mind, but consider this: Working as a funeral assistant could bring emotional fulfillment to a retiree who lends an ear and provides comfort to grieving families. If you’ve retired from corporate America, this could be a rare chance to put your compassionate side to work. One man started this job a year after retiring as a high school principal. Jerry Beddow, 75, works three to four hours a day as a funeral assistant. In addition to talking with families, he gets some physical exercise positioning caskets and carrying flowers. “It keeps me off the streets,” he said, laughingly.

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