We’ve all been living that pandemic life for two years now. While some people handled the stress by hitting all their fitness goals, many others of us are less active because of sedentary jobs worked from home.
It might be because the only steps you log now are between your bedroom and your living room, or because you’re dealing with omnipresent end-of-the-world depression.
Luckily, there are ways to incentivize yourself to get more active despite it all. Today, we’ve gathered 21 ways to earn money while living a healthy lifestyle. Because what’s a better incentive than cold, hard cash?
Apps That Pay You to Exercise
If you’re going to set a goal to get more active, you might as well get paid for it! Here are six workout apps that will pay you to either lose weight or get active.
1. A Healthy Wage: Get Paid to Lose Weight
One of the most lucrative apps on the market is A Healthy Wage. This app allows you to bet on your own weight loss goal. Factors that affect how much you can win include how much you want to lose, how quickly you bet you can lose it, and how much you bet on yourself. One of our writers at The Penny Hoarder found she could earn up to $529.41 for losing 15 pounds!
Plus, if you join the team challenge and your team is successful, the prizes are even higher – up to $10,000 for a three-month bet. However, in the team challenges you’re not just betting on yourself; everyone on your team will have to do their part so you can all profit.
2. Evidation: Earn Points by Sweating
Originally this app was called Achievemint, then it was known as the Achievement app. Today, the free fitness app goes by the name Evidation, but functions in much the same way it always has.
Evidations allows you to earn points which you can exchange for real dollars in the form of Paypal payments, direct deposits or donations to charity. You can earn up to 30 points/day by performing up to five fixed activities each day. Activities that earn points can include logging your sleep, your glucose levels, time you spent meditating or logging the numbers on the scale.
You can also earn up to 80 points/day for various variable activities as they’re offered, and extra points for taking surveys or participating in health studies. Each point is equal to about $0.001, which means if you aren’t participating in surveys or health studies, it would take about 91 days to earn $10. You won’t get as rich as quickly as some of the other fitness apps, but you also won’t have to engage in betting.
3. Sweatcoin: A Fitness App Tied to a Hopeful Cryptocurrency
Sweatcoin is an app that encourages you to get your steps with its own, in-app “currency’” called sweatcoins. You can earn one sweatcoin for every 1,053 steps. If you hit Daily Bonuses, you can earn an additional 10 Sweatcoins/day. You can also watch up to three ads/day for potential earnings of up to 1,000 Sweatcoins/day.
Right now, Sweatcoins are just a point system. But in the future, the company hopes to get Sweatcoins recognized as an official cryptocurrency. Like most unregulated cryptocurrencies, the value isn’t tied to anything real, so the value of Sweatcoins goes up and down with a lot of turbulence. Typically, you can count on them being valued at about $0.02-$0.05/each, but it is variable.
You can redeem your Sweatcoins for PayPal Cash or Amazon credit, but there are also high-ticket prizes you can claim like vacations or personal gym equipment.
Because Sweatcoins is attempting to be a cryptocurrency, you might encounter scammers who attempt to steal your Sweatcoins. This is common in the cryptocurrency space, and the best way to avoid it is to not send your Sweatcoins to other users.
4. StepBet: Turn Your Own Money into Extra Money
StepBet is another app that helps you get active by betting on yourself. When you first set up your profile, StepBet will gather data from your existing apps, like Fitbit or Apple Health. Then, it will set a personalized step goal for you. You can enter different betting pools, with the average bet being $40.
If you hit your goal, you split the pot with the other participants. Most bets are six weeks long, with the first, “warm-up” week not counting. StepBet takes 15% of the pot.
5. FitPotato: Walking Toward the Pot of Gold
FitPotato is a pedometer app that operates similar to StepBet, but it’s not as personalized. You typically have to complete three sessions a week, with steps being somewhere around 6k. If you successfully meet the goal, you split the pot.
Because there aren’t as many people using this app, the pot can be smaller, but there’s also less people to split it with.
6. Fitforbucks: Small Prizes for Lots of Steps
Fitforbucks doesn’t pay cash, per se, but the amount of steps you need to take to earn prizes is very low compared to some of the other fitness apps out there.
For example, you can currently get a free coffee from Rainbow Acres for 20,000 steps, a half hour massage for 30,000 steps when you purchase a one-hour massage from Willow Spa, and a free introductory personal session from Arthur Murray for 50,000 steps.
Side Gigs for Health and Money
During the pandemic, remote work has been a great privilege that can help keep you healthy and safe. But it comes with its own issues. Namely, that most remote work happens behind a keyboard.
If you’re looking for ways to earn money while staying active, these physical side hustles mostly happen outdoors. Many of them can even be turned into full-time gigs if that’s what you’re looking for!
7. Lead Fitness Boot Camps
Believe it or not, some people pay good money to be screamed at before dawn. If you’re a fitness fanatic, consider going into business as a fitness boot camp instructor, and get paid to help people get in shape.
To make sure you break a sweat, do the workouts with your clients.
8. Babysitting the Kids
Running after toddlers all day, pushing kids on swings and playing pick-up soccer with all-star nine-year-olds is a great way to get a good workout while earning extra money. Plus, every parent on Earth needs a break right now, so you’ll be doing them a great service by offering your services as a babysitter.
This is especially true if you’re fully vaccinated and boosted, as some children are not yet eligible for the vaccine themselves, leaving them vulnerable to the virus. Hence all the parental stress.
9. Guide Walking Tours
Share your town with visitors, meet new people and get paid to exercise — what’s not to like? If that appeals to you, consider becoming a walking tour guide and sharing your town’s history, nature and heritage.
You can go into business yourself (after obtaining any necessary permits from your town, plus insurance), or sign up with one of several tour companies. In addition to the payments from your guests or tour company, you’ll likely also receive tips for your efforts.
10. Teach Yoga Classes
How’s your downward dog?
If you’re a yoga fanatic, consider becoming a yoga teacher.
Pros need to demonstrate every pose and offer guidance and variations to help students develop their practice. Many instructors can also attend other instructors’ classes for free, which is a great added bonus.
11. Fight Forest Fires
If you don’t mind long days, hard work and a bit of danger, consider going into the field of forest firefighting. These pros can make up to $40,000 during a six-month season while they’re busy keeping the rest of us safe.
Be prepared for hard, physical labor and very little sleep (usually just crashing on the forest floor for a few hours here and there) when you’re working.
12. Teach Ski Lessons
Do you dream of hitting the slopes full time, at least during the winter?
Becoming a ski instructor is a great way to save on skiing or snowboarding. You’ll spend your days on snow and snag a free pass to spend your free time on the slopes, as well — making this a great way to earn and save money.
13. Work as a Ranch Hand
Ever dreamed of working on a ranch? Becoming a ranch hand or wrangler is a summer job to remember.
This job comes with plenty of exercise. Whether mucking stalls, stringing fences or helping guests hop on and off their horses, working on a ranch involves plenty of good old-fashioned exercise.
14. Offer Outdoor Services Year-Round
From tossing mulch to planting trees, this job will keep you moving, twisting, bending and working out. Consider working for a company or branching out on your own (with proper permits and insurance.)
15. Become a Bike Messenger
Pedal your way to fitness and a paycheck by riding around delivering packages and important letters as a bike messenger. While some businesses prefer to use messengers in cars, many use bike messengers, especially in big cities where parking is a challenge.
16. Work as a Farm Hand
Whether you’re corralling livestock, plowing and seeding the fields or throwing hay, working on a farm is definitely a way to get a workout.
While many farming chores are now mechanized, every farm still needs lots of labor to keep it running. You could also volunteer a few hours a week in exchange for fresh produce, which will cut down on your grocery bills.
17. Coach or Referee Sports
Become a coach and spend your workday practicing layups with players, running warm ups, doing calisthenics and offering encouraging words. Coaches can work out right alongside their players, then jump into strategy mode and help the team craft the best path to success.
Or, if you’d prefer to officiate, grab your whistle and become a referee. Whether you choose soccer, baseball, basketball or another sport, there are plenty of youth and adult leagues looking for coaches and refs.
18. Become a Personal Trainer
Work one-on-one with clients to help them carve the chiseled physique they’re after.
Working as a personal trainer involves being able to demonstrate exercises, and sometimes you can do them alongside your client. Another perk of personal training is many of these gigs come with gym memberships, which helps you save money while you make money exercising. You’ll need some training to do this. Check out the requirements to get certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
19. Lead Hiking or Climbing Expectations
Climbing guides get even more exercise than their clients, sometimes covering extra ground by going ahead to set up camp or ropes, and often carrying extra gear.
If summiting peaks is your thing, consider becoming a certified guide and helping people accomplish their bucket-list mountain-climbing goals as you accomplish your fitness goals.
20. Guide Rafting Trips
Navigate rafts and keep your clients safe in raging whitewater as a rafting guide. This job is a great workout, as it takes some strength and finesse to navigate the wily ways of rivers and manage risks out on the water.
21. Make Food Deliveries
This one might not be as active as firefighting or raft guiding, but driving for a company like DoorDash or UberEats can definitely help you get your steps in! So you can work toward your StepBet challenge while earning even more money through the delivery apps.
This side hustle is particularly active if you live in a hilly city where you’ll be climbing a bunch of steps to the front door. But even if you’re living on the plains, this side hustle will keep you way more active than sitting behind a keyboard.
Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Pittsburgh-based writer Brynne Conroy is the founder of the Femme Frugality blog and the author of “The Feminist Financial Handbook.”