The Importance of Life Insurance for Expecting Mothers


 ​life insurance for expecting mothersWhen it comes to starting a family, there are many things that may be running through any expectant mother’s mind: the unborn baby’s health, furnishing a nursery, buying necessary items, such as clothing, diapers and baby wipes.

Something that may not be on a mother’s mind, however, is life insurance, yet, a good policy may be the single most important investment a mother could make.

This week, we’re discussing the importance of life insurance for expecting mothers. Let’s begin…

Life Insurance for Expecting Mothers

Motherhood is undoubtedly an exciting time in a woman’s life. For mothers everywhere – whether you’re a single mom or you have a spouse/partner to join you – embarking on this next chapter with a brand new baby can be both intimidating and exhilarating. You want to know that your little one is always taken care of, even in the face of disaster — part of doing so involves purchasing a life insurance policy that’s hefty enough to take care of the expenses of raising a child. This includes having the funds to pay for food, clothing, shelter and education, just to name a few.

That said, your absence is about more than making sure your child is taken care of.

Life Insurance for Mothers + a Spouse/Partner

If you’re leaving behind a spouse or partner, he/she will need funds to ensure your funeral costs are covered, along with the additional money required to make up for any income you brought to your household. Finally, your spouse/partner may need grief counseling to help him/her manage the emotional stress of raising a child as a widow – an expense that life insurance can help manage.

Life Insurance for Single Mothers

If you’re a single mother, financing your baby’s upbringing may be your main priority, but you may also want to consider how your life insurance policy can support your child’s guardian – be it a relative, friend or adoptive parents. This way, you can ensure your child and his/her new family is well off enough to enjoy the sweeter things in life with your little one, like family vacations, extravagant birthday celebrations and more.

Facts About Life Insurance for Expecting Mothers

Unfortunately, being an expecting mother who wants to invest in a life insurance plan isn’t as cut and dry as it may sound. Consider these facts before you pursue a policy of your own.

  • Pregnant women can only purchase life insurance during the first two trimesters of her pregnancy.

  • Complications caused by pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, may raise your policy rates.

  • If a pregnant woman is denied life insurance due to any pre-existing or arising medical conditions, her spouse/partner can take a life insurance policy out on him-/herself for his/her family instead.

Start Your Journey Today

Investing in a life insurance policy is about hoping for the best in life but preparing for the worst – putting a contingency plan in place to ensure your burgeoning family is taken care of if the unspeakable happens.

If you have any questions about investing in a life insurance policy, or if you’re ready to start the policy process, reach out to us for guidance. Our team is available to ensure you receive the best rates for your budget and situation.

CPY19264

How to Quit Caffeine (and Lessen Withdrawal Symptoms) in Three Steps


image of a tired woman in front of a cup of coffee — how to quit caffeineCaffeine is the lifeblood of many adults – in fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration, 80% of Americans consume caffeinated beverages every day.1 With major coffee chains, soft drink conglomerates and energy drink manufacturers continuously pushing the benefits of a caffeine boost in a can, it’s no wonder that four out of five Americans require a caffeine kick in order to start their day.

Unfortunately, caffeine contains many hidden dangers that are rarely acknowledged but are important to understand. Once you’re aware of these dangers, you may be interested in reducing or maybe even eliminating your caffeine consumption. Join us as we discuss how to quit caffeine safely and effectively.

What is caffeine exactly?

First and foremost, it’s important to understand caffeine for exactly what it is: a stimulative drug.2 And like many drugs, it comes with a list of short-term and long-term side effects. Also, like many drugs, quitting caffeine isn’t as simple as choosing to not drink it anymore, thanks to its addictive properties.

Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal

For consumers who have a solitary cup of caffeine every now and then, caffeine withdrawal will likely not be an issue. For those who have relied on this drug for an extended period of time, however, there are some symptoms you may experience if and when you choose to eliminate your caffeine intake: headaches, fatigue, lack of concentration, irritability, nausea/vomiting, anxiety/depression, dizziness and even heart rhythm abnormalities.3

As you can see from this shortlist of symptoms, caffeine withdrawal can be harsh on the body, but these side effects are necessary to endure if you want to escape the hidden dangers of caffeine consumption.2

How to quit caffeine safely and effectively

Now that we’ve discussed the power caffeine holds over the body and some of the sensations you may feel if or when you decide to kick the habit, here are some tips to help you lessen your withdrawal symptoms and take control of your body once again.

1) Wean off caffeine

Depending on the amount of caffeine you typically rely on each day, quitting cold turkey may not be the best option for you. Instead, reduce the effects of withdrawal by gradually decreasing the amount of caffeine you consume over the course of several months. This way, your body doesn’t feel the immediate shock of caffeine missing from your bloodstream.

2) Add supplements

Just because you are eliminating caffeine from your body doesn’t mean you can’t use less-addictive supplements to weaken the effects of withdrawal. For instance, you can take pain relievers to manage headaches. There are also many over-the-counter medications that can treat nausea, dizziness and anxiety/depression. Before pursuing any of these medications, however, it is important that you check with your doctor first.

3) Take care of your body

Removing an addictive drug like caffeine from your system can be stressful on your body. As a result, it is imperative that you take care of yourself as you navigate this detoxing process. That means ensuring you eat well, drink enough water and sleep at least eight hours each night. By taking care of yourself, you can help make sure that your body has the energy it needs to heal from the difficulties that can accompany caffeine withdrawal.

Ditching caffeine can lower your life insurance rate

Although the journey to caffeine elimination may not be easy – but depending on how much of the drug you currently consume, clearing caffeine from your body can have many beneficial effects, such as lowering your stress levels, decreasing your blood pressure, waking up feeling energized and more. By facilitating a healthier version of yourself, you may even be able to lower the rate on your life insurance policy — a win for both you and your wallet!

 

1 Medicines in my Home: Caffeine and Your Body. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved March 20, 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/resourcesforyou/consumers/buyingusingmedicinesafely/understandingover-the-countermedicines/ucm200805.pdf

2 (27 October 2016). 10 Interesting Facts About Caffeine. Live Science. Retrieved March 20, 2017, from http://www.livescience.com/56603-interesting-facts-about-caffeine.html

3 Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms: Top Fifteen. Caffeine Informer. Retrieved March 20, 2017, from https://www.caffeineinformer.com/caffeine-withdrawal-symptoms-top-ten

Term Life Insurance products offered through TMFS Insurance Agency LLC, a separate company, affiliated with Financial Engines Advisors, L.L.C. (FEA), in states where licensed. TMFS Insurance Agency, LLC is under common ownership with FEA. Each entity is its own separate entity that provides services for its client independent from the other.

Five Hidden Dangers of Caffeine Consumption


Cup of coffee. dangers of caffeine To many Americans, both hard-working employees and students alike, caffeine isn’t just the best way to wake up in the morning; it’s vital to functioning throughout the day. Coffee, tea, energy drinks, cola — caffeine consumers aren’t picky, just as long as they get their quick fix of energy. Maybe you even started today with one of these beverages.

Over the years, caffeine has become a morning tradition – and to many, a necessity. But when was the last time you stopped to consider how your dependency on caffeinated beverages affects your health, both short-term and long-term? The next time you reach for another helping of your favorite energy-infused beverage, keep these hidden dangers of caffeine in mind.

What is caffeine?

Before we discuss the inherent dangers of caffeine, we must first understand what caffeine is (other than that chemical that wakes us up). In its most basic form, caffeine is a stimulant that is naturally found in coffee, tea and cacao plants.1

Short-Term Dangers of Caffeine

Just about every caffeine drinker is familiar with the short-term effects of this drug: an elevated heart rate, a rush of energy and a heightened level of focus. Unfortunately, however, caffeine isn’t beneficial in all use cases.

For instance, drinking caffeine too late in the evening can keep the consumer awake at night, resulting in decreased quality of sleep. In this case, the consumer may wake up in the morning with less energy than he/she would have received from a caffeine-free night, which in turn often causes the consumer to grab even more caffeine in order to start his/her day.

Long-Term Dangers of Caffeine

Most consumers who enjoy the daily benefits of caffeine seldom consider the effects their favorite uplifting drink has on their bodies throughout the many years of consumption; they’re just concerned about staying awake. Nevertheless, the long-term dangers of caffeine are very real:

1) Decreased Mortality in Men

Possibly the most alarming static on this list, men who down a minimum of four eight-ounce cups of coffee each day are 21% more likely to die before men who do not consume similar amounts of caffeine.2

2) Reduction in Fertility in Women

Women who consume large amounts of caffeine are 27% less likely to become pregnant than women who do not drink caffeine.2

3) Heightened Risk of Heart Attack

Young adults who drink caffeine are three to four times more likely to develop mild hypertension and even suffer from a heart attack.2

4) Increase in Anxiety and Depression

Consumers who rely on heavy amounts of caffeine are more likely to develop depression and anxiety-related conditions over time.2

5) Caffeine Overdose

While rare, consumers who ingest more caffeine than their bodies can reasonably manage have a higher risk of experiencing adverse affects, including caffeine allergies and even death.2

How to Reduce or Eliminate Your Caffeine Consumption

Considering these short-term and short-term dangers of caffeine, you may be wondering how you can reduce or even eliminate your reliance on caffeine. Since caffeine is a real, addictive substance, weaning your body off of it will take some time.

Join us on our blog next month as we explain how you can safely free yourself of caffeine dependence. Until then, consume responsibly, friends.

CPY18369

SITE SOURCES

1 (2016 May). What is Caffeine, and is it Good or Bad For Health? Authority Nutrition. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from https://authoritynutrition.com/what-is-caffeine/.

2 (2017 February). 20 Harmful Effects of Caffeine. Caffeine Informer. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from http://www.caffeineinformer.com/harmful-effects-of-caffeine

Movie Review: Term Life


movie poster for the film, "Term Life," featuring a father looking to take care of his daughter with a term life insurance policy before his life comes to a screeching halt

Photo Credit: IMDB

It’s not every day that a movie is created about the industry you work in – which is why it was exciting when a film aptly titled Term Life was released earlier this year. Featuring a range of familiar faces including comedic icon Vince Vaughn (Nick Barrow), drama veteran Bill Paxton (Joe Keenan,) and rising star Hailee Steinfeld (Cate Barrow) the cast was entwined in a battle of life, death, betrayal and the pursuit of the truth throughout the film.

Plot

“A guy wanted around town by various hit men hopes to stay alive long enough for his life insurance policy to kick in and pay out for his estranged daughter.” — IMDB

The film begins by diving directly into Nick Barrow’s heist-planning business. In Nick’s mind, there is a three-person process to getting a job done:

  1. “Bottom Feeders” find potential jobs that are handed to a “Designer.”
  2. A “Designer” – the role Nick plays – makes the criminal job doable. He plans the timeline, acquires any necessary access information and ensures that the job can be carried out as smoothly as possible.
  3. The “Buyer” essentially purchases the job from a Designer and executes the plan. The Buyers are considered the risk-takers of the operation, but they also stand to make the most money if the job is a success.

Through Nick’s interior monologue, we learn that he has a daughter, Cate, who he loves from afar. Nick believes he is protecting her from his business decisions by staying out of her life; and this theory remains mostly true until Nick’s latest job goes awry.

When the son of a cartel leader, Viktor, is killed by crooked detective, Joe Keanan, Nick’s life is placed into immediate danger. Viktor begins to pursue Nick, believing that it was he who orchestrated his son’s death following a heist.

With a cartel lord hot on his tail, Nick decides to make sure Cate would be taken care of in the event that Viktor catches up to him. Nick files for a term life insurance policy with Cate’s name listed as the sole beneficiary. Unfortunately, it is this same term life insurance policy that exposes Cate’s existence to Nick’s enemies.

The pace of the movie kicks into high gear as Nick races to keep himself and his estranged daughter out of the hands of all who threaten their lives, including Viktor, Detective Keanan and an array of other burgeoning adversaries.

Spoiler Alert: The End

By the end of Term Life, Nick and Cate are able to work through the 16 lost years between them, ultimately leading Cate to save her father’s life by striking a deal with those who originally sought to kill them.

It is in the last ten minutes of the film that Nick receives a “better payout” than he would have received from his term life insurance policy: He gets to keep his life, spend more time with his daughter and his name is cleared of all charges framing him for two murders he did not commit.

Final Thoughts

While Term Life may not win an Oscar in February, the film does highlight the lengths a father will go to protect his child, such as investing in a term life insurance policy to ensure his daughter is financially taken care of once his questionable career has caught up with him.

To learn more about how you can financially protect your family from a life-ending event, read our official Term Life Insurance page.

 

Term Life Insurance products offered through TMFS Insurance Agency LLC, a separate company, affiliated with Financial Engines Advisors, L.L.C. (FEA), in states where licensed. TMFS Insurance Agency, LLC is under common ownership with FEA. Each entity is its own separate entity that provides services for its client independent from the other.

Top Five Health Benefits of Owning a Pet


image of a man with his pet dog — benefits of owning a petCompanionship is a necessary aspect of life; humans crave it! Unfortunately, having a person to spend active time with, hash our problems out to, or binge-watch a series on Netflix with isn’t always attainable. Instead, enter man’s (and woman’s, respectively) best friend — a furry friend!

Here are the top five health benefits of owning a pet.

1. Reduce Stress

According to a study conducted by Hypertension back in 20011, individuals with high blood pressure who became pet owners were able to reduce their blood pressure without taking any medications. The same study suggested that pet owners who suffered a heart attack were more likely to live longer, due to the companionship their pet offered.

2. Promote An Active Lifestyle

Pets can keep us active, if we allow them to. According to PetMD, the average dog should be physically active between 30-120 minutes each day. For many owners, that means being active alongside their favorite furry friend. For the benefit of your health, as well as your pet’s, consider trying out some pet-friendly exercises, such as running, rollerblading, playing fetch or even getting in a yoga session.

3. Teach Owners How To Love

Any pet owner knows what unconditional love looks like; our pets offer this to us every day! Consider the way a dog greets its owner at the door: excessive panting, tail wagging and a burst of energy that would make any owner believe his/her pet has been waiting all day just for him/her to return home. This never-ending display of love from our pets inadvertently teaches owners how to treat their pets with the same admiration and love they receive.

4. Proponents of Mental Health

Truthfully, pets may not realize the affect they have on their owners. Nevertheless, studies have confirmed that owners who suffer from depression and/or anxiety are able to cope with their symptoms better than similar patients who do not own pets. Some patients may even be able to eliminate these symptoms altogether.

5. Pets Can Save Lives

While this is not a skill all pets possess, specialized domestic animals can detect illnesses and diseases in humans. For instance, service dogs have been trained to determine when a diabetic’s blood sugar has dropped below reasonable levels or if an epileptic patient is about to experience a seizure2.

The Strength of Pet Companionship

At the end of the day, the unconditional love a pet offers to its owner compares to nothing else on this earth. From the moment a pet bonds with its caretakers, an unbreakable relationship is forged. Oftentimes, this connection will remain for as long as the pet will live. For the human on the other side of that relationship, however, the attachment may transcend the pet’s lifespan, leaving its owner with loving memories that can last for ages.

 

1 Hypertension, Pet Ownership, but Not ACE Inhibitor Therapy, Blunts Home Blood Pressure Responses to Mental Stress, October, 1, 2001

2 National Geographic News, Seizure-Alert Dogs Save Humans With Early Warning Signs, February, 11, 2004

 

Term Life Insurance products offered through TMFS Insurance Agency LLC, a separate company, affiliated with Financial Engines Advisors, L.L.C. (FEA), in states where licensed. TMFS Insurance Agency, LLC is under common ownership with FEA. Each entity is its own separate entity that provides services for its client independent from the other.

Three Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress


image of girl suffering from holiday stressAs great as the holiday season can be for decorating the house, baking delicious treats and spending time with loved ones, it can equally be a time of turmoil — holiday stress is a very real side effect of these next six weeks.

To combat rising blood pressure for the remainder of 2016, you may want to consider adopting some stress-reducing habits that will keep your mood grounded while freeing your up emotions to enjoy the season! Here’s what you can do…

Three Ways to Reduce Stress

1. Get Moving

In our recent blog series, Fitness Fiends, we discussed the many ways exercise can positively influence the human body. In fact, raising your heart rate for a minimum of 30 minutes each day is vital to maintaining a long, healthy lifestyle. It also happens to be the top natural deterrent of stress, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

So the next time you feel your blood beginning to boil, step outside for a quick jog, throw around a basketball or find some other way to get your heart pumping. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel afterwards!

2. Take Deep Breaths

Breathing is a fundamental aspect of life, but like we discussed in our blog article, How to Improve Your Health With Proper Breathing Techniques, not everyone knows how to draw air into their lungs properly. By adopting an abdominal breathing technique, anyone can enhance his/her body’s cellular respiration capabilities, thus increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood, which ultimately minimizes stress.

If and when you begin to feel overwhelmed this holiday season, find a quiet space and try some of the simple breathing techniques outlined here. If you want to boost the stress-reducing power of breathing even more, combine these breathing techniques with your favorite exercise routine.

3. Start a Fun Hobby

If exercise isn’t for you, and better breathing isn’t enough to curb your stress, you can always try to shift your mind away from the stressors in your life. By adopting a hobby, you give your mind permission to focus on activities that are less goal-oriented and more in line with the simple things in life that make you happy.

To get started, consider the things you enjoy outside of your work or home life. Maybe you like to draw or write? Maybe you enjoy watching a bit of TV or diving into a good book. Whatever hobby satisfies your mind, dedicate a bit of time to this task each and every day; you will feel more fulfilled and more stress-free.

Electronic Cigarettes Are Just As Dangerous As Conventional Cigarettes


image of a man smoking electronic cigarettesThe dangers of smoking tobacco cigarettes have long been known to the American public. Statistics show that cigarettes can cause an array of diseases, such as bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer. To help ween smokers off of tobacco, nicotine alternatives have flooded the market in the form of patches, chewing gums and lozenges. Even electronic cigarettes, a fairly new smoking apparatus, must be better than the inhaling tobacco leaves and tar, right?

Not so fast.

The truth is that while electronic cigarettes may not possess the same dangers as conventional cigarettes, they do come with their own health risks that can negatively impact your life insurance rates. Let’s take a look…

Diseases

Contrary to popular belief, conventional cigarettes are not the only tobacco product that causes widespread disease. According to the Food and Drug Administration, electronic cigarettes contain high levels of toxic chemicals that are still capable of inciting cancer. As a result, the FDA has yet to approve a single electronic cigarette as a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes.

Illnesses

Many electronic cigarette users believe that the vapor created by these devices and inhaled into the lungs is harmless. Unfortunately, that is not true. Since electronic cigarettes have grown in popularity, there have been a significant number of related cases involving vapers experiencing lipoid pneumonia, irritation throughout the respiratory system and even an increased chance in developing asthma. These illnesses subsided once the patient(s) in question discontinued the usage of electronic cigarettes.

Addiction

This one should be a given, but most electronic cigarette smokers fail to see the correlation until the damage is already done: To put it simply, it doesn’t matter how tobacco is introduced to the bloodstream, — smoking, chewing, vaping, etc. — each of these products are accompanied by significant doses of nicotine. Nicotine is a stimulant, similar to caffeine, that possesses certain addictive properties. Unlike caffeine, however, nicotine is a toxic substance that is often used in pesticides to keep insects away from farmers’ crops. When ingested in large doses, nicotine can harm a smoker’s autonomic nerves and disrupt the functions of skeletal muscle cells.

Tobacco Cessation

As a paying consumer, the way you treat any form of tobacco products should be simple: If you haven’t used them, stay away from them. If you have used them, try to ween yourself off of them using an FDA-approved method as quickly as possible. Prolonged exposure to tobacco can destroy your body and shorten your lifespan. In contrast, removing any traces of tobacco from your system will improve your health, raise your quality of life and reduce the rates on your life insurance policy — it’s a win, win, win.

Healthy Eating And The False Negatives About Carbs


image of wheatAnyone trying to stay in shape or lose weight have probably heard the horror stories: Carbs are bad for you! They expand your waistline! Bread is just sugar in disguise!

We are here to say yes and no. Remember the good old days when carbohydrates were the absolute most important piece of the food pyramid? While this may no longer be the case, carbs are still a vital part of healthy eating. Let us show you…

The Truth About Carbs

Spoiler alert: not all carbs are created equal! Just as light and darkness are opposites of one another, there are such things as good carbs and bad carbs. The power these two foot items have over your waistline revolves around your ability to tell the difference between them and ultimately choose the option that increases your likelihood of developing healthy eating habits.

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

Let’s begin by defining these two categories of carbohydrates and how you can easily identify which is which.

Good Carbs

Good carbohydrates, commonly referred to as complex carbs, possess three or more different types of sugar molecules and are rich in fiber. Because good carbs have a more intricate chemical makeup, they take longer to digest than their “bad” carb counterpart; because of this, complex carbs provide a longer energy burn that will sustain your body for an extended period of time before refueling is required.

Real-world examples of complex carbohydrates include whole grain products (wheat, oats and brown rice), soybeans, skim milk, and an array of fruits and green vegetables.

Bad Carbs

Bad carbohydrates, known as simple carbs, contain less than three sugar molecules. The simplicity of these carbs are easier for the body to digest, resulting in a much faster burn of energy that ultimately leaves the body craving more sooner. That means you will have to eat more of these more often to keep your energy reserves topped off, a habit that can negatively impact your waistline.

Real-world examples of simple carbohydrates include white bread, table sugar, syrups, honey, naturally sweetened soft drinks and candy.

Healthy Eating Begins With You

Heathy eating habits begin with making healthier food choices. That means instead of having pancakes for breakfast, maybe eat a bowl of unsweetened oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon and a glass of skim milk. You could make your lunchtime sandwich with wheat bread instead of white. How about for dinner, cook up a lean meat and serve it with a side of greens? All it takes are the right combination of ingredients to improve your overall wellbeing.

As this article comes to a close, we would like to remind you that healthy eating promotes a healthier lifestyle, which can help you lead a more fulfilling life!

So what are you having for dinner this evening?

Top Three Insurance Fraud Crimes Committed By Policyholders


image of person holding a sharp knifeHalloween is a time of excitement, trickery and the occasional case of boldfaced deceit. But despite the good-natured fun many trick-or-treaters pursue on the 31st of October, some people take the act of deception away from the harmless fantasies of Halloween and inject it directly into their daily lives.

Here are the top three spooky cases of insurance fraud committed by policyholders.

1. Play Dead

There are a multitude of reasons why a person would fake his or her own untimely demise: escape a marriage, evade financial debt, or in some cases, a person would rather “die,” claim his/her life insurance payout and start a new life with a new identity elsewhere.

That said, the chances of faking one’s death and riding off into the theoretical sunset with cash in tow is not only unrealistic; it’s highly improbable! Not to mention, such crimes are accompanied by jail time, fines or probationary periods, depending on the convicting state.

2. Sign here, please…

Some criminals don’t believe they have to fraudulently die in order to become someone else. In life insurance fraud cases involving forgery, the criminal in question often signs a document intended to be signed by the individual it is established for, such as a spouse, parent or grandparent. Life insurance fraud cases involving total identity theft are also common. In other cases, fraudsters have been known to steal payouts directly from other beneficiaries.

Regardless of the route taken to complete this crime, forgery is a felony that, when prosecuted, can be punishable by means of jail time, restitution and/or probation.

3. Lights Out

The cruelest form of life insurance fraud involves the most unspeakable crime known to the human race: murder.

Not only is murder wrong on a moral level, the advantages gained by committing such a crime are in the negative; with the help of modern forensics, taking another human life and getting away with it is virtually impossible. This means that once the killer has been identified (hint, hint, the individual who just miraculously received a large life insurance payout from the deceased will be at the top of the suspect list), life insurance funds collected by the killer will inevitably be seized and held for further investigation.

Finally, let it be noted that premeditated murder is one of the most fiercely pursued crimes by prosecutors. Punishments range anywhere from life in prison to death, depending on the convicting state. Either way, the killer’s life as he/she knows it is over.

Bring An End To  Insurance Fraud

Insurance fraud is a lie, plain and simple. In the realm of life insurance, it may possibly be the worst kind of lie one could tell — the kind that destroys people’s lives.

If you suspect someone you know is committing insurance fraud of any kind, help put it to an end. Report any suspicious activity to these options outlined by the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. Your help is graciously appreciated.

Healthy Breathing Techniques For Your Favorite Exercise Routine


man running while using healthy breathing techniquesLast week, we talked about useful breathing techniques that you can use to relax your body and center your mind. Today, we’re diving even deeper into the ways you take in air, this time while exercising.

Running

Depending on your level of health, many of us have experienced mild shortness of breath while running or during a long-distance walk. While there are many causes for breathlessness during exercise, the way you take in air plays a large role in your body’s performance.

Recall the abdominal breathing technique we discussed in our last article. This is a skill that all successful runners implement in order to maximize air intake and maintain control of their breathing patterns.

It is also important for you to achieve an inhale-to-exhale rhythm so that your blood remains saturated with oxygen throughout the duration of your exercise. Depending on your movement pace and the landscape you’re navigating, 2:2 ratios (inhale for two steps, exhale for two steps) and 3:3 ratios (inhale for three steps, exhale for three steps) are most common.

When all else fails, the most important thing is to ensure you are taking in air and exhaling it out — it doesn’t matter whether you rely on your mouth or your nose to complete this process; however, using your mouth is highly recommended.

Weightlifting

While there are many different types of weightlifting styles, the breathing technique for each of them shares many similarities with the a runner’s. For instance, it is important to achieve a rhythmic pattern; this way, your body can process oxygen and carbon dioxide properly. Typically, this rhythm is based largely upon what weightlifters refer to as the concentric phase (the point when muscles “shorten” to support the weight, such as during a benchpress, when a loaded bar bell is lowered onto the chest) and the eccentric phase (the moment when muscles lengthen, such as when pushing that same bar bell up off of the chest.)

It is generally advised to inhale during the concentric phrase and exhale on the eccentric phase, although there is no evidence stating the importance of this breathing order. It has been noted, however, that breathing in on the concentric phase creates a higher level of stability for the lifter by bracing the muscle to engage in the lift. If given the opportunity, safely experiment with your breathing techniques to see which one works best for you.

High-Intensity Sports

Aside from the rhythmic predictability of running or weightlifting, high-intensity sports, such as baseball, basketball, football, tennis, etc. are a bit more unpredictable. As a result, they require a combination of the aforementioned breathing techniques.

For instance, football and basketball players do a great deal of running throughout the course of a game, therefore the running technique is best. Baseball players are used to lifting a bat, bracing for the pitch, and engaging muscles to swing, similar to a weightlifter’s breathing regimen.

But regardless of the sport, there are times when players are blindsided, such as when a football player is blitzed during the snap or a basketball player gets elbowed in the nose while shooting a layup. In these moments of disarray, the main objective for the player is to continue inhaling and exhaling from the chest; this will help him/her maintain breath control, giving him/her as much power over his/her mind and body as possible.

Post-Exercise Breathing Cool-down

The objective of most physical exercise is to strengthen the muscles and raise the heart rate. After successfully doing so, a cool-down breathing exercise is recommended to help expedite the recovery process. Remember: muscles rely on oxygen in the blood to filter out harmful lactic acid, so you want to make sure you’re supplying your limbs with enough of it.

A cool-down rep is simple: Try the one outlined here, or you can use any of the breathing techniques we discussed last week. Again, just ensure you are inhaling with your diaphragm.

And above all else, just get outside and move! The more you exercise, the healthier you will be. The healthier you are, the less money you’ll pay on services like life insurance.