There are lots of reasons to take out life insurance. From giving you the security and peace of mind that your family are protected, to covering specific debts such as a loan or mortgage, there are many benefits to putting the right protection in place.
Now, a new survey has also revealed that taking out life insurance can also encourage you to change your lifestyle. A study of 2,000 adults found that a fifth of people who arranged life insurance then opted for a healthier outlook.
Keep reading to find out how life insurance can encourage you to change your outlook, and the health benefits of taking these steps.
Drinking more water
The survey found that, of the people who took out life insurance, a third (32%) had started to drink more water.
Considering the human body is 60% water, drinking more can bring many health benefits. It can lubricate your joints, keep your mouth clean, and help avoid your skin becoming vulnerable to disorders and premature wrinkling.
Dehydration can affect brain structure and function and can lead to digestive problems including constipation and heartburn. A lack of water can also cause blood to become thicker, increasing blood pressure.
Finally, drinking lots of water may also help with weight loss, if you replace fizzy drinks with water. “Preloading” with water before meals can help prevent overeating by creating a sense of fullness.
Lowering your BMI
A quarter (24%) of people who had taken out life insurance changed their lifestyle by lowering their body mass index (BMI).
Your BMI is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy. The BMI calculation divides your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared. For most adults, an ideal BMI is in the 18.5 to 24.9 range.
If your BMI is too high, you might want to consider losing some weight. The NHS say that “most people who need to lose weight can get health benefits from losing even a small amount (about 5%) of their weight if they keep it off.”
Losing weight and reducing your BMI reduces the risk of:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Back pain
- Some types of cancer.
The best way to lower your BMI by losing weight is to make small, realistic changes to your diet and to become more physically active. This brings us to…
Joining a gym
The NHS recommends that adults between the ages of 19 and 64 should do 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity.
In the survey of people who had taken out life insurance, a fifth (21%) said they had then improved their lifestyle by joining a gym.
Joining a gym is a great way of becoming more active. Most gyms have a range of activities and equipment, which means you can do a range of different types of exercise:
- Strengthening activities that work muscle groups in your legs, chest, arms, shoulders, back and abdomen
- Brisk walking, jogging, or riding a bike
- Aerobics or gymnastics
- Martial arts
- Spin classes.
Book yourself in to a couple of weekly classes as this will help you incorporate exercise into your routine. And remember that some exercise is better than none, so even just a quick session on a treadmill or exercise bike is worth it.
Going vegetarian or improving their diet
According to the survey, 16% of people who had bought life insurance then improved their lifestyle by becoming a vegetarian. One in three improved their diet after getting insured.
Becoming a vegetarian can have a range of health benefits - as long as you eat a balanced diet. You should get plenty of unprocessed grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Studies show that predominantly plant-based diets may be a healthier way to eat. If you have high blood pressure than becoming vegetarian might particularly benefit you, as studies show a lower incidence of elevated blood pressure in those following a vegetarian diet.
In addition, a balanced vegetarian diet contains less saturated fat and more folate, fibre and protective antioxidants including vitamins C, E, and carotenoids. You’re also likely to exceed the recommended “five-a-day” of fruit and vegetables.
Eating more plant-based foods rich in phytonutrients may help protect against age-related conditions including those affecting the eye such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
We’ve talked a lot about how healthy eating can support your health:
- 10 practical ways you can improve your bowel and digestive health today
- 10 foods that can reduce your diabetes risk
- Obesity and coronavirus – why it’s important to keep a healthy weight
- 12 foods that are brilliant for your heart
Of course, becoming a vegetarian can also have environmental benefits as they typically use fewer natural resources.
Giving up smoking
After taking out life insurance, the survey found that more than a quarter of people (27%) stopped smoking.
Half of all long-term smokers die early from smoking-related diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. So, giving up smoking can have transformative health benefits.
For example, men who quit smoking by the age of 30 add 10 years to their life. People who kick the habit at 60 add three years to their life.
There are also shorter-term benefits. Your lung capacity improves by up to 10% within nine months of giving up smoking, while your blood circulation will improve within two to 12 weeks of quitting. This makes all physical activity, including walking and running, much easier.
Giving up alcohol
Of the people who bought life insurance, a fifth (21%) then improved their lifestyle by giving up alcohol.
There are many reasons why giving up drinking can benefit your health:
- Alcohol has a detrimental effect on your brain function. Research has found that having five or more drinks in one night can affect your cognitive function for up to three days.
- It prevents your body from absorbing important vitamins and minerals. Alcohol kills the cells in your stomach lining and intestines that facilitate the body’s absorption of nutrients.
- Giving up alcohol can reduce the amount of fat in your liver. Quitting the booze for just one month can lead to a 15% decrease in the amount of fat in your liver.
- Alcohol raises your blood pressure, and excessive consumption over a long period can lead to high blood pressure, which is one of the main causes of heart disease.
- It can help you to lose weight. A large glass of wine has the same number of calories an ice cream. A pint of cider has the same calories as a doughnut.
If you don’t want to give up drinking for good, give your body a break by participating in a charity event such as Dry January or Sober October.
So, you’ve seen that protecting yourself with the right life insurance can not only give you peace of mind but can also prompt you to make better lifestyle choices.
And, with life insurance starting from just a few pounds per month, it won’t break the bank either.
We work with dozens of the UK’s leading insurers to help you get the cheap life insurance you need. Compare life insurance quotes online now, or please get in touch
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