One Thing Insurance Customers Can Do To Drop Rates And Live Longer, Healthier Lives

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One hundred fifty minutes is all the typical insurance customer needs in a week to drop their rates and live a longer, healthier life. That’s the recommended amount of time that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends for adults regarding physical activity.

Break that down over seven days and you’re left with approximately 22 minutes per day. Twenty two minutes out of 1,440. But as many get older, it becomes more of a chore to find two minutes each day, let alone 22.

Still, one puts it off at their own risk, according to WHO. Their numbers show that physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor in global mortality, only bested by high blood pressure (13 percent) and tobacco use (9 percent), notes the Insurance Information Institute’s Claire Wilkinson. Inactivity carries the same level of risk as high blood glucose (6 percent).

The WHO estimates that 3.2 million people die every year because they are too inactive. “Globally, one in three adults is not active enough,” adds Wilkinson.


A Global Problem

While America bears much of the brunt of inactivity statistics, the problem isn’t confined to the West. In fact, officials at the World Health Organization believe it’s quickly taking its place as a major killer among noncommunicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, across the globe.

WHO states that individuals who are not active enough register with a 20 percent to 30 percent chance of premature death compared to people who work out a minimum of 30 minutes per day with moderate intensity.

High-income countries were also revealed to be at a higher risk of being inactive compared to low-income countries. In the high-income regions, 41 percent of men and 48 percent of women weren’t active enough to be out of the danger zone. Meanwhile, in low-income countries, only 18 percent of men and 21 percent of women came up short.

“Low or decreasing physical activity levels often correspond with a high or rising gross national product,” the WHO report stated.


What’s Causing It?

The World Health Organization suspects that the decline in activity is being caused by “inaction during leisure time and sedentary behavior on the job and at home,” Wilkinson notes. Similarly, an increase in use of “passive” modes of transportation — automobiles and public transportation, for example — contribute to the dearth of activity.

(WHO defines physical activity as any movement of the body that is produced by skeletal muscles. This requires an “energy expenditure” and can describe anything from carrying out household duties to traveling, recreation, working, and playing. It would also include regular physical exercise, but that’s not the form it has to take.)

The best thing that individuals can do to make this work to the benefit of their health and their insurance rates is to start young with around 60 minutes of moderate to intense activity each day (for children, adolescents, and teenagers).

For individuals over the age of 18, the number falls to 150 minutes of moderate to intense activity each week.

It’s also been suggested that the more time you spend on your feet, the better off you will be in avoiding diseases such as colorectal cancer. That’s why many office workers and others in sedentary professions have moved to the standing desk. You can find a number of these online for anywhere from the low $100s to the thousands of dollars, or you can just use boxes and other materials to raise the elevation of your computer while working from a standard desk. Stack high enough and it’s possible to find the right adjustment for no extra money. It may look silly, but the difference could be life-saving.


In Summary

Technology has taken over the menial parts of many jobs. It’s simplified so much, but an unforeseen consequence of this, is that it’s kept workers off their feet and more at risk for leading unhealthy lives. Since quality of health is tied directly to health insurance rates in many cases (as well as life insurance rates), any improvements that one can make to their physical health is an improvement they make to their insurability. And it can all start with a single step.

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