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Running – Save Money on Life Insurance
There are simply too many health benefits of running to list them all here. They could (and have) literally fill a book. So we’ll just hit a few. Plus, we’ll give you reasons life insurance companies like these benefits and how this can save you money on your term life insurance policy.
A Healthy Heart – Running benefits your heart by strengthening heart muscle, which increases the amount of blood your heart can pump with each contraction. Running also reduces your risk of coronary heart disease by 4.5%, according to a new study published by the American Heart Association (AHA).
Why Life Insurance Companies Like This – Heart health is a primary concern for the company when reviewing your application for coverage. They typically look for any signs of heart disease by evaluating cholesterol levels, blood pressure, resting heart rate, medical records and family history. In older applicants or applicants requesting a large amount of insurance, the companies will often require an EKG or a treadmill test be completed.
Lower Cholesterol Levels – Running has been found to reduce blood cholesterol levels. The AHA study showed runners are 4.3% less likely to have high cholesterol than non-runners.
Why Life Insurance Companies Like This – Life insurance companies factor your total blood cholesterol level and your cholesterol/HDL ratio into their review. High numbers in either are a warning flag for current or potential problems and will cause the policy cost to increase.
Controlled Blood Pressure – Running reduced the chances of having high blood pressure by 4.2% according to the AHA study.
Why Life Insurance Companies Like This – Blood pressure readings are another key factor in the company’s review. They will look at both your systolic and diastolic numbers and anything outside of normal ranges will increase the policy cost. However, some companies will allow a Preferred rate if you have blood pressure that is currently controlled with medication.
Weight Control – A study published in April of this year in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows running provides greater improvements in body mass index (BMI) than walking.
Why Life Insurance Companies Like This – Your build, or height/weight, is a key factor in determining your eligibility for coverage. Using our quoting system, just add 20 pounds to your weight and see how much your premium increases.
Reduced Risk of Some Diseases – Most experts agree that running reduces the risk of many diseases and medical conditions such as depression, diabetes, certain cancers (breast, colon and lung), osteoporosis and stroke. For example, a study by the National Cancer Institute shows that women who exercise vigorously (including running) had a 30% lower risk of breast cancer than women who did not exercise vigorously.
Why Life Insurance Companies Like This – All companies take past and current medical conditions into consideration when reviewing your application. Conditions such as depression, diabetes and certain cancers can result in a more expensive policy or in being declined for coverage.
Reduce Stress – Many runners claim to experience a ‘runner’s high’ during and after runs, that leaves them more relaxed and less stressed. This euphoric feeling is thought to be caused by the body’s release of endorphins and other brain chemicals. A study by the University of Georgia appears to back up this theory. Subjects who exercised for one hour were shown to be up to three times less stressed than those who rested for one hour.
Why Life Insurance Companies Like This – Stress manifests itself in many different ways in the human body. Many experts agree that stress increases cortisol levels in the bloodstream. Increased blood cortisol has been shown to have negative effects on cognitive performance, blood sugar levels, blood pressure levels, immune function and other areas.
How to Get Started Running and Saving - Walking and running are the most popular aerobic exercises in the U.S. It’s both easy and inexpensive to get started. All you really need are a good pair of running shoes (a decent pair will work to start) and 10-15 minutes a day. Runner’s World offers this great article on how to get started today.
The keys to success are starting slowly, developing consistency and remaining persistent. Anyone can do it! And if you can find a way to make it happen, you could also save yourself some money on your term life insurance policy — maybe even enough to buy those fancy running shoes you will eventually want!
See some real world examples of those that used running to lose weight and improve their health and overall quality of life.
Meet David Johnson
It was 1993. Every evening, after walking the dogs, David Johnson would come back to his house coughing and wheezing. He'd sit down in his reading chair and place a mask over his mouth and nose. As he tried to draw deep breaths from the oxygen tank sitting next to him, he would gaze at the clock and wonder how long it would take this time for his breathing to return to some semblance of normality.
"I was a severe asthmatic," says Johnson, who was 39 at the time and taking a dictionary of drugs--prednisone, theophylline, corticosteroids--to help with the breathing problem that left him feeling like a deep-sea diver running out of oxygen. "The intake of air in my lungs--my peak flow rate--was just about 50 percent that of a normal person," he says. "My whole existence centered on getting a good breath. I would be at work and have to concentrate on something, but instead I'd be thinking, 'Breathe deep, breathe deep. Get some air into your lungs.' "
Then one evening on his walk, Johnson decided to pick up the pace. He ran for about 5 minutes before he had to stop and double over, hacking like someone with a three-pack-a-day smoking habit. But later he noticed a partial clearing in his lungs.
It was a lightbulb moment. "I decided right then to unmedicate myself," he says. "I decided I would run instead." He set modest goals for himself: 2 miles. Then 4. Then 6. "After six months of running, I'd stopped wheezing after runs," he recalls. "I had quit using my nebulizer, weaned myself off prednisone and reduced the oral inhaler treatments."
Today, Johnson, 44, an account director for a life insurance company in Chattanooga, Tenn., runs 45 to 55 miles a week. He's completed four marathons. And, he says, "I am virtually asthma-free.
"Running, quite simply, has changed my life," he says. "It saved me from what can be a devastating disease. Now I have a decent, normal life."
Meet Ann Mooney
It got so Ann Mooney could see the crashes coming. She would be so high that she couldn't sleep, wouldn't eat. Then, the world that had seemed like such a big, bright, wonderful place suddenly would shrink into her own dark, living hell. "I went from soaring highs to crashing lows," Mooney recalls. "I would get lonely, frightened, paranoid. No one could tell me anything--I didn't want to hear it. The only solution, I thought, was to go back in the hospital again, go back on drugs."
Mooney suffers from manic depression and, eight years ago, had almost resigned to the fact that her life would center around the revolving hospital door. She was young, still a sophomore at the State University of New York at Binghamton. Was this what life had in store?
Then one day a friend took her running. "At first I couldn't even manage a mile," she says. "But something inside me clicked when I ran, so I set myself the goal of completing a 10-K."
After that first race in June 1995, she felt something more. "The race gave me such a feeling of accomplishment that I felt at that moment I was crossing over from being sick to being well," she says.
Today, Mooney, 28, who works as a youth advocate in a Big Sister Program in Newburgh, N.Y., still faces her affliction. But she has a new ally. "Running has given me courage to fight, and to trust in myself," she says. "It's a way of giving my mind a break. I can relax and not think manic thoughts. All in all, running keeps me on an even keel."
And it's better than drugs. "I don't need a prescription," she says. "I don't get dry mouth, gain weight or suffer from diarrhea--the side effects of the drugs I was taking. Instead I get increased self-confidence and self-esteem.
"Running has made me a whole person again."