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.

How to Improve Your Health With Proper Breathing Techniques


image of a couple using breathing techniques to live a healthier lifeTake a deep breath; go ahead. Feel your lungs slowly expand as your diaphragm rises. Once you’ve reached capacity, hold that breath for a moment. Suspend all motion. Focus only on the air in your lungs. Then slowly exhale.

How do you feel? Relaxed?

Breathing is something so natural and simple to life that most of us do it without much conscious thought. As a result, some may be surprised to know that the average person breathes an estimated 23,400 times a day — that’s about 16 breaths each minute.

In this week’s piece, we’re covering how to make the most of your air intake. In fact, by adopting some powerful breathing techniques into your life, you may even increase the quality of your mind, body and soul.

The Science of Breathing

Have you ever considered what’s in a breath — one single, seemingly insignificant breath?

Well, there’s oxygen, a simple element found in the natural world beyond your front door. But despite what the internet and TV shows have told you, oxygen only accounts for roughly 20% of the air you breathe. At 78% saturation, the gas you mostly breathe in is nitrogen.

Both gases play vital roles in your ability to stay alive. Oxygen is one of the most critical driving forces behind your metabolism; due to the process of cellular respiration, oxygen helps to break our cells down into usable energy and water while filtering waste out of the body as carbon dioxide. Nitrogen is a vital component of amino acids, an organic compound that is responsible for creating the proteins that your muscles and skin need to survive.

The Importance of Proper Breathing Techniques

Since breathing is typically a subconscious activity, many of us don’t consider the quality at which we inhale. For instance, the average lungs of a healthy adult hold 0.5 liters of air per breath; this is how much air we take in when our bodies are at rest. When we become active, or when we consciously focus on our breathing patterns, our lungs can hold as much as 4-6 liters of air per breath; that’s as much as 12 times more than the average subconscious lung capacity!

Those who take in more air, whether from frequent exercise, meditation, yoga or other means that require focused breathing, benefits include increased lung capacity and stamina, as well as improved filtration of lactic acid from the muscles.

So why not try to breathe a little bit better throughout your day? There are many different types of breathing techniques for various needs: focus, stress, sleep, etc. Here are several breathing techniques you can test out on your own.

1. Abdominal Breathing

Yes, yes, we know what you’re thinking: “My lungs are in my chest. How can I possibly breath from my abdomen!?”

This is a real method known as breathing from the diaphragm.

In order to measure this technique, lay down flat on your back with your body facing upward. Now place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Next, take a breath as you normally would. Which hand rose upward when you inhaled? If it was your stomach hand, then you breathed through your abdomen. If your chest rose, try breathing again while focusing on expanding your stomach instead of your chest.

Once you have mastered this method, try it while sitting or standing; abdominal breathing is a great way to reduce stress and stabilize breath patterns.

2. Alternate Nostril Breathing

Coveted by yoga participants, alternate nostril breathing can be achieved by sitting up with your back at a 90 degree angle. Close your eyes as you gently lay your pinky finger over your left nostril, effectively blocking off this airway. Inhale slowly through your open right nostril and hold your breath. Then adjust your hand by removing your pinky finger from your left nostril, followed by placing your thumb over your right nostril. Exhale your breath through your open left nostril. Now repeat, this time starting with your thumb still over your right nostril, inhaling, adjusting your hand to only cover the left nostril and exhale.

This form of meditation is said to help you quiet your mind by bringing the right and left sides of thought into harmony with each other.

3. Guided Breathing

There are many different styles and lengths of guided breathing techniques that can be found online. Recently, however, popular fitness brands, such as Fitbit and even Apple Inc., have recognized the importance of breathing.

Both companies offer their own take on guided breathing, built directly into the latest update for Apple Watch and Fitbit’s Charge 2. Whether or not these mainstream interpretations of guided breathing are as up-to-par as other breathing techniques remains to be proven; however, it is refreshing to see commercial brands take an interest in customers’ physical and mental health.

The Purpose of Adopting Breathing Techniques

Whether or not you feel the need to participate in one of the breathing techniques above, or if you feel comfortable simply taking in a series of deep breaths, the entire idea is to make you more conscious of the way you breathe. By doing so, your mind will focus less on the complexities of life, helping you overcome your stress by achieving a balanced mind, body and soul. You may even be able to improve your overall health and decrease the cost of your life insurance policy.

So as we come to the end of this article, we invite you to take a deep breath. It may just change your life.

The Dangers and Consequences of Lying on Your Life Insurance Application


man fills out a life insurance application with a penYour mother may have told you one time or another that a white lie never hurt anybody, as long as your intentions are good. Unfortunately, lying on your life insurance application to save a few dollars every year can cause you more harm than good.

The Dangers of Lying on Your Life Insurance Application

In the eyes of insurance providers everywhere, fibbing on your life insurance application isn’t only unethical; it’s an act of fraud that is punishable under state law. If caught, the penalties you potentially face are largely dependent upon the degree of the lies that you have told; disciplinary actions include paying a fine, being placed on probationary period and even serving prison time.

Most detrimental, however, are the consequences you face if your lies remain hidden until after you pass away. For instance, if you lose your life to a disease that you formally claim to not have, a portion of your life insurance claim may not be paid out to those who are expecting to receive it, leaving them without any restitution for your absence, thus eliminating the entire purpose of life insurance. This would also mean that the premiums you’ve paid over the years would have been for naught.

How will anyone know if I lied on my life insurance application?

For those who may have told a fib on their applications, it may be worrisome to learn that one of the many tasks entrusted to the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) it to detect such cases of fraud.

How, you may ask?

Some cases are fairly simple to solve. If the MIB finds that you have passed away from an illness that you claim to not have had, an investigation will be opened up in your name. During such an investigation, the MIB will search your medical history to see how long you have been formally diagnosed with the life-ending condition in question. If they find that your life insurance application was submitted after you were diagnosed, your payout amount may be withheld.

Most Frequent Life Insurance Application Lies

Now that we’ve defined the importance of being truthful on your life insurance application, here are five of the most popular fibs that can get applicants in trouble:

  1. Smokers who claim to not smoke.
  2. Withholding information regarding dangerous hobbies.
  3. Falsely denying to suffer from a life-threatening disease, such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer.
  4. Masking the use of legally prescribed or illegally ingested drugs.
  5. Failing to disclose mental health conditions, such as anxiety and/or depression.

Reversing Life Insurance Fraud

Okay, so you’ve made it this far into our article, and you suspect that there may be a lie or two that you’ve told on your original life insurance application. What do you do now?

To begin, you will need to have a fresh life insurance quote drawn up by the Mutual Fund Company; this is your opportunity to ensure that all of the information you provide is accurate and up-to-date. After this has been complete, we will find the best insurance provider and policy for you, based on the data you offered. Once we have found the proper fit, you will swap your old life insurance policy out for your new one. At the same time, you will need to cancel your previous life insurance policy to ensure that you aren’t paying additional premiums.

Finally, remember that the Mutual Fund Company is here to help you. It is possible to correct any mistakes you have made on your current life insurance policy. Reach out to the Mutual Fund Company with any questions or concerns you may have; we’re ready to help you.

Why Life Insurance for Extreme Sports Enthusiasts is Hard to Come By


man skydiving, not considering the cost of life insurance for extreme sports enthusiastsMost people don’t need to consider how their hobbies will affect their likelihood of acquiring life insurance. Building model airplanes, taking a jog around the park or strumming a guitar for countless hours isn’t exactly dangerous.

But what about those who prefer to take their free time to the next level — particularly 2,000+ feet off the ground?

The trust is that life insurance for extreme sports enthusiasts can be hard to come by. Here’s why…

Determining Your Life Insurance

When applying for life insurance, your provider will need to determine these three points:

1: Mortality

In an attempt to predict how long you may potentially live, your mortality rating is a combined average of your physical health and your chosen lifestyle. Naturally, those who lead dangerous and unhealthy lives will score the lowest on this estimation while healthy non-risk-takers will receive the most affordable benefits.

2: Interest

In order to effectively pay out life insurance claims, providers will often invest the premiums you pay into various stocks, bonds, etc. If your mortality score is low, providers will require that you pay a larger premium so that they can invest more in you in the shortest period of time. Those with a positive mortality score are less likely to need life insurance funds soon, therefore, they are able to pay smaller premiums over a longer period of time.

3. Expenses

This third measurement defines how well the life insurance provider has invested its assets. If the provider is able to keep up with its customers’ payout demands, life insurance rates will remain steady. If the provider is struggling to meet payout demands, rate prices will be reevaluated for all participants, including those who are mortally sound; however, customers with low mortality will take the brunt of these premium increases.

Life Insurance Determinations vs. Extreme Sports

When it comes to obtaining life insurance for extreme sports enthusiasts, positive results can be somewhat difficult to determine.

On one hand, many who participate in extreme sports have to maintain a healthy physique in order to control their bodies during activity. On the opposite hand, extreme sports are oftentimes dangerous and even life-threatening. In this case, the risk that accompanies extreme activity vastly outweighs the physicality integrity of the participant, ultimately lowering an otherwise healthy individual’s mortality rate.

Consequentially, this also means that an extreme sports enthusiast who decides to permanently discontinue such activity can file for a life insurance re-evaluation and potentially lower his/her policy.

Activities That Will Ruin Your Mortality Score

By this point in the article, we have discussed how life insurance for extreme sports aficionados can be expensive, but we haven’t discussed what types of sports are considered “extreme.”

For many, wing suit base jumping is the ultimate thrill. Relying on only thin strips of cloth to steer and/or slow the decent, gliding through the air with virtually no restrictions is an adrenaline rush like no other. It also happens to be one of the most dangerous activities any person can participate in.

Other activities that may land you a higher life insurance rate include:

  • Mountain climbing
  • Motorsports / Racing
  • Skydiving
  • Hang gliding
  • Bungee jumping
  • Bull riding
  • And more…

Want to know where you rank?

To wrap up, we encourage you to ask yourself a few questions: “What types of activities do I enjoy most? Can any of them affect my life insurance premiums? Are higher premiums worth continuing this activity?”

Only you can determine these answers. As for your options, leave that part to us!

The Mutual Fund Company is able to review a state-wide range of life insurance providers to ensure you invest in a policy that fits your needs and budget. Get started here with a free life insurance quote, and let us do the research for you. Yes, it really is that easy.

Fitness Fiends Part 3: Five Ways to Burn Calories without Exercise


young woman with shopping bags walks up stairs; burn calories without exerciseOver the last several weeks, we’ve discussed the monitoring power of fitness tracking devices and some fun ways to use these devices to meet your fitness goals.

In this final edition of Mutual Fund Company’s Fitness Fiends, we’re taking health one step further. We’re not talking about strength training or preparing for a 5K. Instead, we’re discussing the five ways that you can move a little more throughout your day and toward a happier, healthier you.

 

A Moment of Truth

You will only achieve your goals if you set the proper exceptions for yourself. For instance, not every person – or even everyone reading this article – would call themselves a “fitness fiend.” Not all people want to run a marathon, or lose 60 pounds, or have a chiseled physique. Not everyone wants to exercise.

Some people just want to lead a longer, healthier life; period. That’s what today’s article aims to address.

The Bad News: Building a fitter version of yourself will take time.

The Good News: You can do it simply by being a bit more physically conscious throughout your day, every day.

 

For starters…

    1. You may want to wear your favorite fitness tracker. While these devices aren’t necessarily required for this program to work, they can certainly help you monitor your progress. Remember, if you don’t own a fitness tracker, your smartphone may be able to monitor your activity instead.
    2. Get your head in the right place. You will not succeed in this goal if you are not both mentally and physically present.
    3. Don’t give up! This process will take time, but as you continue with this program, you will begin to feel its health benefits.

Fitting Fitness into Your Daily Life

Just like we previously discussed how your body keeps track of every calorie you consume, it also knows how many calories it needs to burn to keep you alive — that means every time you take a step, itch your arm or even blink your eyes, you are expelling energy. Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that increasing your frequency of motion will help you burn more energy.

Five Ways to Burn Calories Without Exercise

1: Breathe

Yes, breathe! In addition to carrying more oxygen to your brain and increasing your level of focus, “Oxycise” is said to help break down fat molecules into carbon dioxide and water that can then be filtered out of the body.

2: Sleep

Not only does getting more sleep limit the amount of waking hours you have to eat, a new sleep study suggests that the less sleep a person receives, the more calories he/she will consume in a single day. If you’re not sure how much sleep you currently get each night, or if you are concerned with the quality of sleep you are achieving, we can offer some deeper insight here.

3: Leave your car behind.

More than 111 million people drive to work each morning. In contrast, only 4.6 million people walk or ride their bicycle to work — that’s nearly 28 drivers for every 1 walker/rider. By taking a more physical means of transportation, such as bicycling, roller blading or even skateboarding, you will save money in gas, reduce your carbon emissions footprint, and most importantly of all, you will burn some excess energy.

4: Going up?

We’ve all asked ourselves this question at some point: “Should I take the stairs or the elevator?” Knowing which one is better for us, many of us choose the latter option anyway. Needless to say, this is where you will benefit most from being mentally and physically conscious of your decisions. Avoid elevators and escalators at all costs; climbing stairs is the only option that can improve your body.

5: Go out of your way a little every day.

If you’ve ever lived in a storied apartment, or if you’ve moved items from your basement to the main level of your home, you know the importance of taking only one trip — you fill your arms to the brim, hoping that you can support the sheer weight of it all, as you trudge toward your destination. Instead, sacrifice a bit of efficiency for improved health; carry only what you can comfortably hold, and make more trips between your starting point and your destination. Remember to check your fitness tracker as your steps rack up!

“Easy” isn’t always “better.”

Sure, many of these solutions seem rather straightforward and simple; you would be right to think so! The biggest problem with moving a little more throughout the day, however, is one’s commitment to do so.

As human beings, we like “convenience.” We like our lives to be “easier.” But this program doesn’t work by following the easy route. Instead, we’re asking you to literally go out of your way just a little bit each day. Over time, these results will begin to add up.

Celebrate Your Results

Finally, don’t forget to put your new healthy lifestyle to good use. Dive into Mutual Fund Company’s #FitnessFiendChallenge!

To get started, obtain your free life insurance quote here; this will help you understand your current health ranking among the life insurance market. Then, start living each day by following a combination of the five tips above. After 6-12 months have passed, have another life insurance quote drawn up, and compare its results with your original quote; this will help you see how much your healthier lifestyle has impacted your available life insurance rates.

If your body is already in great shape, we would also like to invite you to see how much you can save on life insurance with a free quote. Your options may be more affordable than you realize.

Fitness Fiends Part 2: Five Ways to Keep Your Body Healthy with Fitness Tracking Devices


group using fitness tracking devices while runningIn our last article, we discussed the various types of data that fitness tracking devices collect and how this information can be understood by comparing results with average human metrics.

As promised, this week, we’re tackling the various ways you can put your fitness tracking devices to work for your body. Let’s dive in…

Clearing up Initial Misconceptions

Misconception #1: fitness trackers are only for walking and running.

While fitness tracking devices are very capable at monitoring running and walking, this is not the only skill these wearables possess. Many of today’s industry leading trackers are fairly adept at detecting other forms of activity, but more on that in a moment.

Misconception #2: fitness trackers are accurate.

While we’d like to believe everything our fitness tracking devices tell us, this unfortunately is not realistic. The average consumer tracking device can be off by up to 1,000 daily steps, whether that number is more or less than your actual results. The good news is that some devices, such as Fitbit’s line of products, Garmin’s wearables and the Apple Watch, can be calibrated to better understand your stride length. Upon checking your device’s official website for calibration instructions, you will most likely see improvements in your step and calorie accuracy once calibration has been complete.

Misconception #3: fitness trackers will help me lose weight.

Yes, and no. It all goes back to what we previously discussed about understanding your body: if you desire to lose weight, the number of calories you eat cannot exceed the numbers of calories you burn. While fitness tracking devices can help you monitor how much energy you expel each day, you will need to add a calorie tracking app – such as MyFitnessPal or Lose It! – to your daily regimen. Remember, your body keeps track of the calories you eat, even if your mind doesn’t, so make sure you log everything.

Five ways to keep your body healthy with fitness tracking devices

Okay, now we’re on to the good stuff.

1: Set (and beat) your goals.

Fitness trackers, although not medical-grade monitoring tools, are still great motivators. The makers of Fitbit, Jawbone and Garmin (just to name a few) offer free mobile applications that serve as your digital exercise diary, recording your activity with each passing moment. It is here where you establish various goals, such as how many steps you intend to take each day, how many calories you would like to burn and even how much sleep you hope to achieve every night. These goals can vary based on your body and needs. If you would like some help deciding which goals are right for you, click here.

2: Start putting “steps” on the board.

While most fitness tracking devices use steps as the primary metric of activity, there are many other ways to burn calories that don’t necessarily involve walking. Using an internal sensor known as an accelerometer, your fitness tracker is mostly just checking to see if your body is in motion. As long as you are moving, you are expelling calories and raising your heart rate. Such activities that may be recorded as active steps include walking/running, playing sports, dancing, yoga, weight lifting and even going for a swim (if your device is waterproof or water resistant; check your manufacturer’s website before diving into a pool of water with your tracker on).

3: Eat right.

There’s not much to be said here. The right fuel for your body will produce better results. The wrong fuel — not so much. While every body has different dietary needs, it’s generally wise to eat as cleanly as possible; doing so may even add valuable years to your life.

4: Get some rest.

Every person has different needs when it comes to sleep; some people can live on only 6 hours of rest per night while others need 9 hours. Nevertheless, adequate sleep is important to maintaining an active lifestyle. Not only does it give your muscles a moment to relax, a good night’s rest will also heal your mind and improve the way your body processes calories.

To see how much rest you get each night, simply wear your favorite fitness tracker to bed. Most trackers now come equipped with automatic sleep tracking capabilities; others require the user to tap a manual button to indicate when the user is intending to sleep (if you’re not sure if your device tracks sleep, refer to your manufacturer’s website). Then once you wake up, sync your fitness tracker with your phone to tell the device that you are finished sleeping; now is also a good time to review your night to see how well you rested and if any improvements can be made.

5: Repeat.

Setting goals, staying active, eating right and getting enough sleep are all great ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle; however, this way of life only benefits your body if you keep it up. Each day is a new opportunity to conquer yesterday’s goals. Each night is a chance to recharge better than the night before. In the eyes of your fitness tracker, every day starts over at 0; it’s up to you to push those numbers beyond their limits.

What if I don’t own a fitness tracker?

So, you like everything you’ve read up to this point, but you don’t own (or want to purchase) a fitness tracker. That’s okay! You can still have a healthier life! Many modern smartphones can track your daily steps and estimate your burned calories simply by keeping it on your body throughout the day. That’s right; your favorite mobile companion also happens to be a fitness tracking device.

Put your healthy lifestyle to good use.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle promotes a healthier you, which means that life insurance won’t cost you an arm and a leg, plus a vital organ. But don’t just believe what we’re saying; see it for yourself!

If you believe the steps listed above can help you live a healthier life, we recommend that you try the Mutual Fund Company’s #FitnessFiendChallenge. When you are ready to begin, start by getting your free life insurance quote here; this will help you understand your current health ranking among the life insurance market. Then, start living each day by enforcing the five steps discussed in this article. After six months have passed, have another life insurance quote conducted, and compare its results with your original quote; this will help you see how much your healthier lifestyle has impacted your available life insurance rates. Continue living by this program for another six months, and file for one last life insurance quote. You may be surprised by the results you’ve earned.

If your body is already in excellent shape, great! Congratulations on being in tune with your body’s needs. We also invite you to see how much you can save on life insurance with a free quote. Your options may be more affordable than you realize.