Fitness Fiends Part 1: Understanding Data Measured by Fitness Tracking Devices


couple exercising while wearing fitness tracking devicesToday’s vast array of fitness tracking devices offer many features to help you be more aware of your physical health. Everything from the amount of miles you’ve walked, to the calories you’ve burned and even your heart rate are all feasible from a variety of fitness tracking devices you wear on your wrist.

However, when it comes to deciphering what this data actually means in real-world results, fitness tracker manufacturers like Fitbit, Jawbone and Garmin don’t provide much more insight.

 

Understanding fitness metrics

Consider this: your favorite fitness tracker says your resting heart rate is at a solid 68 beats per minute, you usually take around 7,000 steps a day and you burn nearly 3,000 calories while doing it. Great, right? Maybe.

The truth is that numbers without context aren’t very useful. It’s when you weigh these results against hard facts that things begin to make sense. For instance, did you know that the average healthy person is expected to:

  • Walk 10,000 steps (equivalent of 5 miles) every day.
  • Exercise for 30 minutes each day.
  • Have a resting heart rate between 60–100 (the lower, the better).
  • Seldom exceed the body’s maximum heart rate (calculated by subtracting your age from 220).

Note: many fitness tracker manufacturers warn that their devices are not intended to serve as medical-grade monitoring equipment. All measurements taken with a consumer fitness tracker are subject to minor discrepancies based on the user’s physical composition and the environment the device is operating in. Recorded results are simply designed to motivate you to move more.

 

Understanding your body

Knowing how your recorded metrics stand up against aggregated data is only half of getting the most from your fitness tracking devices. You also have to know how your body handles calories and physical activity. While every body is different, these rules generally apply to most:

  • One pound equals 3,500 calories.
  • It takes 20 steps to burn one calorie.
  • The body burns an estimated number of calories per day simply by keeping you alive (3,050 for the average man, 2,400 for the average woman). These are known as inactive calories.
  • Active calories are the additional expended energy that occurs with exercise.

Keeping the above in mind, a person wanting to lose one pound per week would need to burn 500 calories more than he/she takes in each day.

 

Putting these metrics to good use

Maintaining a healthy body — from the foods you eat to the exercise you endure — can greatly impact the results of your life insurance health exam and even lower the cost of the life insurance policies available to you.

So let’s put everything you learned above to work! In part two of Fitness Fiends, we will discuss some fun ways your favorite fitness tracking devices can be used to burn calories, monitor your progress and even shed some pounds.

Keep an eye on our blog and social media channels to be the first to know when part two becomes available.

Five Simple Foods That Prolong Life


Whether you are the type of person who eats three meals each day or six, it is oftentimes easy to consume foods without really thinking about their overall affect on your body. Are you eating foods that prolong life and supercharge your body?  The answer may surprise you.

close up of a nutrition labelNot many people know what butylated hydroxytoluene is (in addition to residing in various foods, it is also found in products such as jet fuels and embalming fluid). An ingredient that sounds as unassuming as Yellow #5 has been known to contain cancer-causing lead and fatal traces of arsenic. Even a product as simple as soybean oil can wreak havoc on human health. At this rate, it’s a wonder we’re all still alive!

The truth is that many processed foods are endangering the lives of mankind with each and every voluntary bite we take.

The good news is that there is something you can do to reverse the trend of unhealthy eating. Today, the Mutual Fund Company is arming you with some options that may actually make your life more enjoyable while prolonging your years on this earth.

 

Five Simple Foods That Prolong Life

When it comes to good, wholesome food, less ingredients are worth more than a slather of hard-to-pronounce words on a label – “simplicity” means “pure,” “safe” and even “healthy.” Here are some unique superfoods you will want to keep in your pantry (and your belly):

Fats

Yes, fats! There is a big difference between the types of fats that your body craves and the types that can cause you harm. Foods high in monounsaturated fats, such as nuts, olives and various oils, including olive, canola, peanut and sesame, have the power to lower your cholesterol and drastically reduce your risk of developing atherosclerosis.

Watermelon

When it comes to good, wholesome food, less ingredients are worth more than a slather of hard-to-pronounce words on a label – “simplicity” means “pure,” “safe” and even “healthy.” Here are some unique superfoods you will want to keep in your pantry (and your belly):

Wine

Commonly known for its heart-conscious qualities, red wine has often been touted as a worthy way to lower cholesterol and improve the overall function of your cardiovascular system. There is a caveat, however: men are recommended to have no more than two glasses of wine each day in order to reap these benefits; women are only allowed one glass in this same timeframe. Please indulge responsibly.

Fish

Possibly the cleanest member of the meat family, fish such as salmon, herring and trout are known to contain large amounts of omega 3, a fatty acid responsible for lowering cholesterol, reducing body inflammation, and decreasing the risk of cancer and heart attacks. Other foods that contain omega 3 include flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans and spinach.

Cranberries

With autumn quickly approaching, cranberries will be in peak season. Known most commonly for their ability to fight off and prevent urinary tract infections, this fruit may also help to prolong the life of those who consume it. Sorry, Thanksgiving lovers; processed cranberry sauce does not count here, nor do sugary cranberry cocktail juices. This fruit is most beneficial to your body in a raw or dried-out state.

 

Heed before you feed

When it comes to the foods listed above, there is one distinguishable theme among each of them – they are simple! There are no additional ingredients or artificial chemicals to get in the way of the main job food is designed to do: nourish your body.

So the next time you frequent your favorite restaurant or step into a supermarket, consider the purity of the items you plan to invest in. Ask yourself, “Am I choosing foods that prolong life or shorten it? Which option is worth more to me and the people who care about me?”

With this method of thinking, you can start to reel back any bad eating habits you have picked up over the years while reinforcing the good habits you have already adopted into your lifestyle. Eating right may even help you score better on a life insurance health exam, thus decreasing the rates you pay on insurance.

Altogether, these simple tips can not only add years to your life, but life to your years with a strong and healthy body.

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?


how much life insurance do I need?

If you have decided to get life insurance for you and your dependents, congratulations! You are on the right track. But the question of how much insurance to get is often overwhelming. Check out our guide below for some tips to help you figure everything out.

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need and Other Questions to Ask Yourself:

1. How much debt do I have other than my mortgage?

If you have any other debt, you are spending more than you earn. If you have debt, you need more life insurance so it can be paid off in the event that you pass away.

2. How much do I spend each month?

Using an online tool like Mint can help you track your budget. Or you can view your past few bank transactions and calculate your spending accordingly.

3. Do I have children?

If you have dependents, you will likely want them to have coverage until they are independent. Independent may mean when they turn 18 or after they finish college. Every family is different.

4. How much money do I need for the future?

Are you saving enough to fund your kid’s college, cars, and spouse’s retirement?

Your life insurance should provide enough for your family to function if you were to pass away suddenly. If you are a stay at home parent, your work still has economic value. Think about how much day care, cooking, or cleaning will cost if you are not around.

If you are not sure where to begin, apply this rule of thumb: 20 times your yearly income when you are 30 to 40 years old, 15 times your income when you’re 40 to 50, ten times your income when you’re 50 to 60, and five times your income when you’re 60 and up. But you may need to adjust this according to the specific needs of your family.

It is important to talk to an expert to make sure you are not under-covered or paying for more than you need. Contact us today for a free evaluation.

4 Reasons to Get More Sleep Tonight


We are told our entire lives how important sleep is for our health. But, do we know why it’s so important? Studies show that sleep doesn’t just make us feel better and keep the eye circles away, but it contributes to almost every aspect of our lives. We pulled together a few significant sleep benefits so you can see what a little extra shut-eye can do for you. If you’re getting less than seven or eight hours of sleep a night, make it a top priority to get some more Zs.

4 Ways Sleep Benefits Your Life More Than You Know

1. Lengthens Your Life

Getting too little sleep can shorten your life. Less sleep leads to more inflammation and stress, as well as weight gain. Inflammation may lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging, which decreases longevity.

2. Keeps Weight Off

If you are thinking about going on a diet, add an earlier bedtime to your goal list. One study says that dieters who were well-rested lost more fat (56% of their weight loss) than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle mass. The hormone leptin helps make you feel full. When you don’t get enough sleep, leptin levels drop. If you’re overtired, you may also have less time to work out or eat well.

3. Increases Mood

Getting enough sleep won’t allow you to have a positive mood, because it affects your emotional regulation. When you are exhausted, you are more likely to be irritable, snappy and in an overall bad mood. Do yourself and those around you a favor and get a good night’s rest.

4. Helps Your Memory

When we sleep, our brains process and consolidate our memories from the day. If you don’t get enough sleep, those memories cannot be adequately stored. In turn, you may have that “foggy brain feeling” all day.  Sleep also helps you retrain skills learned while you are awake. For example, if you’re trying to learn a new language, you’ll perform better after a good night’s rest.

As you can see, sleep is so important to your overall health and happiness. We take health very seriously and believe all our customers should live long and happy lives. Remember, when you purchase life insurance you often have to undergo a health exam.  In this case, being healthy can make a huge difference in price. Make sure you take sleep seriously and get an extra good night sleep the night before your exam!

How to Lengthen Your Life


lengthen your lifeAlways wishing you had more hours in the day? Dreaming of retirement? People have been searching for the Fountain of Youth since the beginning of time. While there is no time machine or magic spell to help us live forever, there are a few small ways to help lengthen your life. Not only will these tips help add to your longevity, but they can make your life more productive, happy, and full.

4 Ways to Help Lengthen Your Life

1. Quit Smoking

Smoking is not just bad for your lungs, it’s detrimental. It also affects your heart and all-around health. It’s so hard to quit, but taking the plunge could add about seven years to your life. It can also help lower your life insurance rates!

2. Meditate

High stress can contribute to the process of aging. Meditation is a proven technique to help reduce stress and teach you how to relax. 1A study at the University of California-Davis found people who regularly practice meditation have higher levels of telomerase. Telomerase is the enzyme responsible for lengthening the telomeres at the ends of your chromosomes, which affects aging. Meditation is a non-invasive way to help increase your longevity and make your life more enjoyable.

3. Get More Sleep

To stay mentally and physically healthy, you need at least 6-7 hours of sleep each night. Surprisingly, not getting enough sleep is worse for your life span than smoking, alcoholism, or obesity. Try cutting back on the caffeine and exercise a little during the day, which in turn may help you sleep better and earlier at night.

4. Try New Things

You could live longer if you try new things and stay active. Take up a new hobby, volunteer, or join a gym. You’re never too old to learn or do something new. You want to embrace every day you have.

For many, taking that first step towards a healthier life is the hardest part, but we believe in you! Get up and try one of these to help add years to your life!
The Guardian

Insurance products offered through TMFS Insurance Agency, LLC, an affiliate of The Mutual Fund Store, in states where licensed. TMFS Insurance Agency, LLC is under common ownership with The Mutual Fund Store. The Mutual Fund Store is a nationwide system of registered investment advisers, which include affiliated companies and independently owned and operated franchises. Individual Stores are SEC or state registered investment advisers. Each Store can offer investment advisory services to prospective and existing clients in the state where the Store is located, while a number of Stores may also offer advisory services in nearby or other states. The Mutual Fund Store and TMFS Insurance Agency, LLC are separate but affiliated companies. They are not responsible for each other’s services or policies. Each entity is its own separate entity that provides services for its client independent from the other. Prospects or clients may directly retain the services of The Mutual Fund Store or TMFS Insurance Agency, LLC.

What You Need to Know About Term Life Insurance and Depression


life insurance and depressionIf you have clinical depression, you might be concerned about qualifying for affordable term life insurance. But don’t worry, there are options for you to consider. Some insurers are open to offering policies to individuals with managed depression.

Life Insurance and Depression

Depression is a serious illness and one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, affecting close to 6.7 percent of the adult population. If you have a life-threatening condition, your insurance options might be limited. However, depression can be treated and managed, so some companies no longer consider it a high risk condition.

The Signs of Depression

Depression can vary from person to person, but some of the signs include:

  • Weight gain or loss

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Trouble sleeping, insomnia, or fatigue

  • Excessive guilt or worry

  • Lack of concentration

  • Feeling of hopelessness

If you have some of these symptoms and are concerned you may have depression, talk to your doctor. If you are worried about getting diagnosed and increasing your life insurance rate, put those worries behind you. Your number one priority should be seeking treatment and getting better.

If you are already diagnosed with depression, the insurer will want to know about past and present treatments, the success of these treatments, and whether or not you follow your doctor’s medical directions.

Choosing a Policy

Don’t try to hide your medical history. It is better to offer as much information as you can to show that you are taking your condition seriously.  An otherwise healthy person who has depression can certainly get insurance at a low rate. It varies case to case, so we always recommend talking to an insurance agent to see what will be best for you.

Got questions about term life insurance or what to do if you have a medical condition such as depression? Contact us today—we’re happy to help!

How Positive Thinking Can Prolong Your Life


positive thinkingA positive person typically is more happy, healthy and satisfied. They believe they can overcome any obstacle and difficulty and look on the bright side of all situations. To be a happy person you have to know how to adjust your attitude and be emotionally and mentally cheerful throughout the day. In turn, you may, in fact, live a happier, healthier and longer life. A 30-year study of 447 people at the Mayo Clinic found that optimists had a 50 percent lower risk of early death than pessimists. So how can you start embracing positive thinking and turn your negative thoughts around?

Positive Thinking Techniques

 

Surround yourself with positive people.

Positive and negative thinking are contagious! We are affected by those around us, so make sure you are not surrounding yourself with negative or toxic people.

Smile!

Just smiling can increase your mood. Don’t believe it? Check out this article that covers many studies on smiling alone.

Reroute negative thoughts.

Once a negative thought enters your mind, take notice of it and replace it with a positive thought. Over time you will eventually teach your mind to think positively, and to ignore negative thoughts without even having to replace them.

Try meditation.

Meditation is a wonderful way to calm the mind and eliminate unnecessary negative thoughts. It leads to increased mindfulness, purpose, and better health overall.

Count your blessings. 

Every morning make a list of five things you are grateful for in your life. Do this every day for a month and see how it makes you feel. It is guaranteed to help you start your day off on the right foot.

Watch what you say. 

Challenge yourself to go one week without complaining or criticizing anything, yourself, and anyone. You may instantly notice how much negativity you are thinking and spreading. Try it for at least two weeks to make it a habit.

De-stress.

One of the most common explanations for those who longer is less stress. Stress is known to trigger inflammation, which speeds up the aging process and leads to more health issues. Do what you can to de-stress whether it’s through meditation like mentioned above, picking up a hobby, exercising or practicing yoga.

These simple techniques can become some of the best habits you’ve ever adopted, and may even add years to your life. Pick at least one to try this week and start smiling!

Life Insurance for People with Health Problems


Life Insurance for People with Health ProblemsBuying life insurance is simple when you are healthy, which is one of the reasons we recommend starting a policy when you are a young adult. Life Insurance for people with health problems is possible, but it’s important you know everything there is to know about life insurance and your condition(s). Just because you have a health problem does not mean you will have a problem with life insurance. It simply means you might have to work a bit harder, or do more to prepare for the process in front of you, than others.

Factors that are considered for life insurance:

  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Financial Status
  • High-Risk Activities
  • Lifestyle
  • Health

Life insurance for people with health problems and a few major health issues: 

High Blood Pressure or Heart Disease

Heart disease or high blood pressure is a red flag, because the severity and progression of heart disease can be difficult to document and also difficult to insure. Talk to your doctor, get a pro involved, and figure out not only an action plan for your health but for your insurance.

Diabetes 

You can get life insurance if you have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and if your diabetes has been under control for for at least several months. Note that you can also get life insurance if you are insulin dependent. If your diabetes is not under control you still may be able to receive coverage with special options.

Asthma

The concern with the chronic condition of asthma relates to the severity of each person’s case and how well it is managed. For the most part, those with asthma just need to make sure they are doing what they can to treat their condition in order to receive a normal policy.

Obesity

Since obesity can lead to many other health concerns besides itself, this is a top concern for insurers. Those overweight face a higher risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, stroke, arthritis and more. If your policy requires a medical exam, your doctor will calculate your body mass index, or BMI, to determine your risk class.

Cancer

Just as each cancer case is unique, every insurance company will underwrite the disease differently. When you are diagnosed with cancer, each company will handle it differently depending on your situation. This is not a predictable disease,and can be difficult to plan around until you are able to learn more details of your situation.

Depression

Depression can drive up your life insurance rates. Since severe depression can lead to suicide or hospitalization, it is not rated favorably by some companies or insurable. If you have depression it is best to seek help that is documented and work to manage your disease.

Purchase Life Insurance While You Are Healthy

If there’s one insurance lesson that should be learned from those with health issues, it’s that it’s wise to purchase life insurance when you’re still healthy. This is the best preventative method to avoid costly rates after getting diagnosed with an illness, an injury, or simply aging. If you have a pre-existing condition and would like to learn how you can save money on life insurance, a chat with a life insurance agent may be just the solution you need to help plan for your future.

In some cases, before you purchase a life insurance policy, you have to undergo a life insurance health exam.  In this case, being healthy can make a huge difference in price. Be sure to check out our tips on having a successful life insurance health exam.

If you have any questions about your health or life insurance rates, we are happy to help. Contact us today for any questions or a free life insurance quote!

Grad School and Life Insurance


grad school and life insruanceAre you in grad school? Most likely life insurance is far from your mind or to-do list. We understand you’re mostly worried about paying your bills, your job, and school work. Some students don’t know that grad school and life insurance go hand in hand and could save you from trouble in the long run.

While grad school can be a great next step to boost your career, the only problem with it is that it’s so expensive. If you have to take out student loans, you are not alone. Almost all students have to take out loans at some point, and may not ever consider ways they can help protect the financial security of their loved ones if the responsibility of the loan were to ever transfer over.

Grad School and Life Insurance For Different Stages

1. Did you have a co-signer? If you’re single and need a co-signer for your student loans, that debt would likely fall to your co-signer if you were to die

2. Are you married? If you are married, your loans are now potentially the responsibility of your spouse. If you were to pass, they would take on your debt.

3. Do you have children?  If you have children, life insurance is a must. The payoff to your beneficiary is part of your the long-term commitment to pay a mortgage, their tuition, and the loss of your income if you are working.

4. Are you single? Even though you are young and single, and no one else would be left with your debt if you were to pass, you may still consider life insurance. When you are young and healthy life insurance is the most affordable. You can lock in on a plan before you get older and get married, and your rates may stay low.

What Happens to Student Loan Debt When You Die?

Sudden death is something no one wants to have to think about, but it’s important to be prepared for the worst.  Evaluate the types of loans you have or need to get and what happens to them after you pass. You should always know what would happen to your debt if you were to die, whether you’re married with financial dependents or single. If the student doesn’t get any loans consigned, there is no need for insurance to protect his family. If you have Federal student loans and pass away, the loans are automatically discharged. But private loans are a different story and policy goes case by case.

The point of insurance is to protect people that possibly depend on you. In the case of a student, it’s to protect your family and cosigners from the burden of your consigned debt. In addition, it’s also cheaper to start younger in life than to wait later.

Have you considered taking out insurance to protect your family from your debt? Contact us today for any questions and a free quote!

High Risk Sports and Life Insurance


MAUI, HI - JANUARY 16 2016: Professional surfer Francisco PorcelDon’t worry thrill seekers, most likely your sport or adventures lifestyle won’t cause you problems when purchasing life insurance. But, there are a few hobbies or careers in particular that may have you running into bumps when you start researching life insurance policies. High-risk sports and life insurance don’t always go together, but with the right insurance partnership, you will find a plan that meets your needs.

High- Risk Sports That May Increase your Life Insurance Policy

1. Base Jumping

Base-jumping is illegal in the U.S. unless it’s being performed by a professional at an event. But, if you are traveling and are a base jumper or even a performer it may still be hard to get covered.

2. Ice Climbing

Ice climbers are in constant danger of causing a self-inflicted stab wound from one of their razor-sharp crampons, as well as the risks that come with regular mountain climbing. Ice climbing is a highly dangerous hobby or career. If you are one that spends a good amount of time pursuing the adventures of an ice climber you may have trouble getting insured.

3. Surfing

By surfing, we are talking about the dangerous big wave surfing, the ones that masters travel around the world to catch. Riding 50-foot waves for a career can make it hard for you to be insured. Big wave surfing can lead to drowning, broken bones, and more; making for a high risk policy, indeed. 

4. Cliff Diving

There is an old cliche, that it’s not the fall that hurts but the landing. The most dangerous part of diving so high into water is the landing. If you hit the water the wrong way, or rocks below you could seriously injure your spine, hip, collar bone, or worse.

5.Street Luge

Did you know riders on luge can reach up to 70 miles per hour? Think how dangerous it is just to be in a car going that fast. Now remove several thousand pounds of protective steel and air bags and imagine the potential for fatal injury.

So how do you get the best rates, without giving up your sport?

1. If you are a professional or serious about your sport, take safety training and certification courses. Training from a credible professional company may reduce your life insurance rate and make your sport more credible. You can also purchase highly-rated safety equipment to see if that helps lower your premium. It couldn’t hurt and may even save your life!

2. If you only engage in a dangerous sport every so often make sure this is clear to your insurer.

3. Shop around policies to find one that fits your lifestyle. Even the biggest thrill seekers have term life insurance options.

There is a difference between being a thrill seeker and taking unnecessary risks. Even those who like living on the edge should talk to a professional about term life insurance.  Contact us today and we’d be happy to help with your insurance policy needs.