It’s no secret physical activity is advantageous to your health and overall quality of life, but how far do its benefits extend?
As you lose weight, build stamina, and boost your mental health, you do more than just change your appearance and self-perception.
Research shows getting active can lengthen your lifespan, which can affect even your everyday finances, including the rates you pay for life insurance.
We’ll highlight some of the benefits of exercising below, as well as pointing out a few sports you can get involved with today to improve your quality of life.
Sports with Major Health Benefits
Getting active in any capacity is good for your mind, body, and soul.
Maybe you have a passion for gymnastics, baseball, or rowing.
Whatever your sport of choice is, regularly participating in physical activity goes a long way.
Whether you’re a fitness fanatic looking to up your game or a couch potato with an overdue New Year’s Resolution, below are a few sports you might want to consider jumping into.
Love it or hate it, hitting the pavement has a plethora of healthy benefits, and it ranks as one of the easiest recreational activities to participate in.
Running can take you anywhere from your treadmill to the track to more mountainous terrain if you’re feeling adventurous.
Statista reports over 55 million people reap the benefits of running regularly in the US each year.
While joint damage is an oft-cited concern with regard to running, studies imply that recreational runners tend to have better joint health than sedentary people and ultra-runners alike.
Running strengthens your body, boosts your mood, burns fat, and reduces the risk of cancer.
Ultimately, all of these positive results of running lead to a lower risk of mortality, with research suggesting runners live about three more years than non-runners.
Running 10 miles on race day is good for you, but can the same be said of running 100 miles or more?
Ultrarunners are individuals who take running to the next level, defined as anything beyond a normal marathon’s 26.2-mile distance.
While ultrarunning is not for the faint of heart, the sport is on the rise, with a reported 88,000 people finishing ultra races in the last year.
Ultrarunning is not without its risks, though most of them are non-life-threatening and subside on their own on race day.
The risks are outweighed by the benefits of the vigorous exercise, which apply whether you run a single marathon or triple the length of one.
If you prefer an activity with more pedaling and less negative impact on your joints, cycling could be the ideal sport for you.
More than 47 million Americans reported cycling regularly last year.
In addition to boosting your brain power, improving your bone density and joint health, and lowering your cardiovascular and cancer risk, you could lengthen your life by cycling.
Your cycling habits could also have a major impact on the environment.
As evidence, one of the UN Climate Committee’s most recent reports found London’s concerted efforts towards bike-sharing have resulted in a 20% CO2 emission reduction across the city.
With lakes, creeks, pools, ponds, and the deep blue sea, there’s no shortage of places to go swimming.
The CDC states 91 million individuals reported swimming in the last year, nationally.
Like any sport, swimming comes with its own risks, most of which are easy to avoid with sound safety practices in the water.
Along with the general benefits of exercise highlighted above, swimming comes with a major advantage thanks to the nature of water.
Arthritic swimmers could see a decrease in joint stiffness and pain, and individuals with injuries and other chronic illnesses can benefit from this buoyant form of fitness.
If your pick of the aforementioned activities is all of the above, you might want to consider competing in a triathlon.
Triathletes benefit from cross-training, working different parts of their bodies as they vary between swimming, cycling, and running.
As such, triathlon training and competing provides you with a full-body workout while simultaneously protecting you from over-exerting your joints and bones.
It’s a win-win.
In addition to the benefits above and more obvious ones like weight loss, triathlon training can reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer, fight depression, and lead to a longer life.
If you’re up for a challenging endeavor that blends a number of different exercises, you can find fulfillment and an amazing community in the world of triathlons.
So, Then, How Do Sports Affect Life Insurance?
When it comes to both life insurance and sports, risk is brought up frequently.
Read on to see how the risks and rewards of physical fitness play into the risk assessment of life insurance providers.
Sports and Risk
It’s true. The sports above, especially at the endurance level, are rightly linked to some health risks.
While these sports each come with their own handful of concerns, the rewards far outweigh the risks in this case.
And when you start engaging in activities that improve your health and lower your risk of dying, you could be impacting your finances, too.
Because life insurance and the rates you pay for it are rooted in risk assessment, being active could alter your access to a life insurance policy and the premiums you’re responsible for paying.
Life Insurance and Risk Evaluation
When you apply for life insurance, you go through a process known as underwriting.
During the underwriting stage of the life insurance journey, the insurance company takes a hard look at your health, lifestyle, and other factors to determine how much of a risk you’ll pose to the company if they choose to insure you.
They then use this risk analysis to directly calculate how much you have to pay for coverage.
Most of the risks associated with the sports above are short term, like muscle cramps, dehydration, and even broken bones.
In other words, they aren’t the fatal type of risks life insurance providers are concerned with.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the main risk factors underwriters take into consideration:
- Weight: Using the BMI, underwriters will examine your weight to determine your overall health. Obesity can be detrimental to your access to coverage, but so can a drastic recent weight loss. To get the best rates, you need to maintain a steady, healthy weight goal, as you’re likely to do with the activities above.
- Heart health: Cardiac disease is deadly, making it a major red flag for insurers. When you frequently run, swim, cycle, or do all three, you boost your heart health, prevent plaque from accumulating, and decrease the risk of heart-related death.
- High blood pressure: Hypertension is another high-risk condition underwriters will take notice of. Frequent activity can help to lower your blood pressure, and managing your condition with medication and routine checkups can help to reduce your risk as well.
- Cholesterol: Underwriters pay attention to your HDL, good cholesterol, and LDL, bad cholesterol, alike. If you run, swim, cycle, or compete as a triathlete, you can improve these numbers and impress underwriters.
As you can see from the list, participating in any one of the activities above helps make you less risky where it counts the most.
While the risk factors above are within your control to an extent, others are not. Underwriters will weigh your sex, age, and family health history to further explore your risk factors.
Likewise, they’ll look at any additional health conditions you have to take a medication to treat.
Last but not least, the company will look into your lifestyle choices, checking into your hobbies, profession, and even your driving record to see just how risky you are.
Can Sports Save You More Money On Life Insurance?
The jury has spoken: leading an active healthy lifestyle lessens your chances of early mortality, which can help you to make your way into a better life insurance category.
In some cases, participating in sports and other activities can take it a step further. One platform helping healthy clients to get the rates they deserve is Health I.Q.
The site asks you a series of questions to gauge your level of involvement in sports like the ones listed above, potentially asking for verification of your activity level.
With your answers in mind, Health I.Q. aims to secure you rates that reward you for your smart choices.
The platform uses your active lifestyle to lessen the blow of some of the risk factors out of your control, like high blood pressure or family health history.
Another new platform, Sproutt, gives you a quick assessment, called the QL Index, which inquires about your quality of life to gain a sense of your risk factors.
It then provides you with targeted suggestions to help you get healthier and gain access to the best life rates.
The site’s quoting tool can put you in touch with great providers who reward you for your hard work and commitment to fitness, too.
An active lifestyle is beneficial in more ways than one.
While you may hear about various risks associated with more intense physical activity, these sports are far less risky in the long term than staying sedentary for life.
Whether you’re looking for self-confidence, strength, or a shrinking waistline, start moving today.
You won’t regret it, and your wallet won’t either when you set out to buy life insurance for your family.