Tier One: Live Long and Prosper from Your Life Insurance
At Life Insurance Strategies Group, we see our HNW clients use life insurance for a mix of estate planning and investment wealth transfer. Usually, the longer the insured lives, the larger the income-tax death benefit will be for policies which are properly funded and maintained. Of course, not only does the policyholder and/or their beneficiaries benefit from an insured’s longevity, so does the life insurance company which can continue to earn fees on an active policy while delaying the payout of the insurer’s portion of the retained death benefit. Longevity, it seems, is important on both sides of a life insurance policy purchase.
Recognizing this, many carriers have put in place programs to promote longevity and the healthy habits which support living longer. John Hancock’s Vitality program is probably the most recognizable one of its kind in the U.S. By reducing policy costs and giving other rewards, John Hancock is able to experience lower claims, higher margins, positive selection and lower lapses. The insureds participating in the Vitality program tend to be healthier, have improved productivity, fewer healthcare costs and greater longevity. In this month’s blog, let’s look at a look at one key to longevity – exercise.
Exercise is For More Years
It is well established that regular exercise is linked to healthier living and living longer. According to a September 2021 New York Times article written by Gretchen Reynolds, plenty of research already suggests that people who are active outlive those who seldom move. A 2018 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concluded that about 10 percent of all deaths among Americans 40 to 70 years old are a result of too little exercise. But how much exercise, and what kind, contributes to increased longevity?
The article referenced two recent studies. One study focused on steps taken daily, scientists noticed a strong association with step counts and mortality. Those men and women accumulating at least 7,000 daily steps when they joined the study were about 50 percent less likely to have died than those who took fewer than 7,000 steps and the mortality risks continued to drop as people’s step totals rose, reaching as high as 70 percent less chance of early death among those taking more than 9,000 steps.
In the second study, researchers estimated that people exercising for 2.6 hours a week, or about 30 minutes most days, would accumulate around 7,000 to 8,000 steps most days between their exercise and daily life, while those working out for 4.5 hours a week probably would be approaching a 10,000-steps threshold most days.
Both studies pinpoint the sweet spot for activity and longevity at somewhere around 7,000 to 8,000 daily steps or about 30 to 45 minutes of exercise most days. Doing more may marginally improve your odds of a long life, but not by much, and doing far more might, at some point, be counterproductive.
These studies appear to match the recent Centers for Disease Control recommendation that American exercise for 2.5 hours a week, broken up into multiple sessions of cardiovascular exercise and strength-training.
Translating to longevity, Researchers at Brigham Young University who studied the DNA of nearly 6,000 adults found that the telomeres, the end caps on chromosomes that shorten with age, were longer in people who were active compared to those who were sedentary. This correlated to about a 9-year difference in cell aging between those who were active versus those who were inactive. Translated into aging, 150 minutes of exercise or more each week increased life expectancy by about 7 years over those who didn’t participate in regular moderate exercise. This benefit was seen regardless of weight, age, sex and health conditions.
Benefit from Living Longer
While we want our clients to live longer to increase the benefits from their life insurance, we also want our clients to reap the additional benefits from exercise:
It is anti-inflammatory. Inflammation of muscle and other tissues in the body are associated with aging. Exercise can lessen this effect.
It boosts your mood.
It improves your sleep.
It improves your cognitive function and helps reduce memory loss.
It improves your immune system.
It improves your digestive function.
If you want to know how healthy habits, including exercise can impact the cost of benefits of your life insurance, reach out to us at www.lifeinsurancestrategiesgroup.com
Since its inception, Life Insurance Strategies Group has solely focused on the individual high net worth life insurance market. We do not sell products. This allows us to offer unbiased, pragmatic advice. Visit us at www.lifeinsurancestrategiesgroup.com.