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Health and Wellness

How to Exercise at Home and Actually Like It

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I’ve never been someone who likes to exercise at home. I like the accountability of training with other people, the adrenaline-pumping vibe of a fitness class packed with people I can silently compete with, and the focus that comes with putting your phone in a locker and just tuning into your body for the next hour.

But there’s nothing like a deadly pandemic to shift your perspective.

I live in New York City, and all of our gyms and fitness studios shut down in mid-March to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. That included both the boxing gym I go to twice a week and the communal gym in my apartment building that I use a few times a week. Similar restrictions are rolling out around the country, so if your gym hasn’t closed yet, you can expect it to soon.

And that’s a good thing. If we can learn anything from how other countries have handled the new coronavirus pandemic, it’s that small tweaks won’t cut it—we need as many people as possible to stay home (physically separated from anyone but their immediate household) as much as possible and as soon as possible in order to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases.

I get that this sucks all around. It sucks for gym owners, employees, trainers, and group fitness instructors. And it sucks for your fitness routine. It sucks for mine too. One of my big intentions this year was to find a fitness community where I felt both at home and challenged, and I finally found that…right before everything changed. I finally felt like a regular at my boxing gym, I had a training schedule down, and gloving up after work was the highlight of my week. But then I had to stop going into the office for work—and going to the gym—and, well, you know the rest.

So here we are. Sidelined by a pandemic in more ways than one and trying to find some semblance of normal life in a situation that is anything but normal. I realize that thinking about your workout right now might seem silly or inappropriate. It certainly does to me. It’s easier to think about all of my friends working in hospitals, all of my colleagues on the front lines, all of the people who have lost jobs and businesses and money, and all of the people dying from this virus all over the world. But that’s the thing about a global crisis: What you can do often feels so small and insignificant, but if we all just did what we could do, we’d be a lot better off. And right now, for most of us, that’s staying home.

While doing your part by social distancing, you can still exercise at home if that’s something you need in your life in order to feel normal (I do).

1. First and foremost, support your local gym and trainers if you have one.

There is no question that this pandemic will have far-reaching consequences on so many businesses—gyms included. So, if you belong to a gym that you want to continue supporting and you’re in a position to do so, consider keeping your membership going or buying gift cards or swag to use later. Any incoming revenue would be greatly appreciated right now—especially as many gyms are offering up completely free virtual programming for you in the interim (which I’ll get to in a second).

The same goes for personal trainers. If you were previously paying a certain amount in personal training each month and you’re able to continue doing that, consider continuing to pay your trainer during this time. They may even be able to train you remotely over FaceTime or Google Hangouts, or even write programming for you to follow at home.

2. Stream workouts from some amazing gyms and trainers.

I was pumped to see my boxing gym, Gloveworx, immediately pivot to virtual workouts—both on YouTube and on Instagram Live every single day. Of course it’s not the same as being in the gym with them, but there’s something special about still being able to work out “together” while apart. So many gyms and trainers are taking a similar approach right now, which means you can try out a “class” that you may never would have been able to otherwise.

Health and Wellness

A Complete Guide to Health Insurance for Senior Citizens

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health insurance seniors

Ageing is a fact of life, and as we begin to see the wrinkles and other signs, it makes us wonder how these physiological changes are beyond our control. The risk of illnesses also increases as we grow older. It is, exactly, why those having elderly parents or grandparents at home need to be cautious and take measures to access quality medical care. Medical inflation is yet another reality that one cannot overlook. As medical treatments have become expensive, getting health insurance for senior citizens is a wise move. This customised health cover would give your loved ones the financial assistance to manage the expenses arising when dealing with age-related illnesses.

With so many insurers now offering senior citizen health insurance in India, it is not easy to get the right health cover unless one has done thorough research. Also, if you are opting for a senior citizen health plan for the first time, going through the following guide will help choose the best health policy.

  1. Look for High Sum Insured

Older adults face higher health risks. If one is dealing with an illness, it is essential to be financially ready to deal with hefty medical bills. Medical treatment at private hospitals, including advanced surgeries, can all increase the health care expenses. So, make sure to choose a health cover with a higher sum insured. While you get a high coverage amount, it does not necessarily imply high premium costs. You can get affordable coverage by comparing various senior citizen health insurance plans in India and calculating the premium costs using an online premium calculator.

  • Consider Waiting Period for Pre-existing Diseases

There is a likelihood of your elderly loved ones having a pre-existing disease. Hence, when you are reviewing different policies, make sure to check the waiting period on pre-existing diseases. Usually, it may be two or four years, depending on the insurer. Also, you must read the policy terms and conditions to know if the disease is covered or not. It will help you make a better decision and avoid any hassle when filing a claim.

  • Check the Co-payment Clause

Policy buyers should check the co-payment clause before finalizing a health policy for senior citizens. Co-payment is a feature wherein the policyholder has to bear a part of the claim amount. Most senior citizen plans include a co-payment clause, and the percentage may range between 10 and 30. Often, the premium reduces if one chooses a higher co-payment percentage. So, it is essential to consider these aspects when deciding on a health cover.

  • Find Alternative Treatment Cover

Insurers, nowadays, offer health insurance for senior citizens with alternative treatment cover. The popularity of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy) is growing by the day. As compared to allopathic medicine, these treatments are safe and are known to benefit people dealing with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. So, select a plan that includes alternative treatment cover.

  • Know about Pre-policy Medical Check-up

Insurance companies ask senior citizens to undergo medical tests at the time of buying the policy. However, getting health insurance for senior citizens without a pre-policy medical check-up is now possible. Moreover, one can get a health cover online, which is faster and convenient and reduces paperwork.

  • Go for Cashless Hospitalisation

Nowadays, many insurers offer the cashless hospitalisation facility wherein the insurer pays the medical bills directly to the hospital on behalf of the insured. This facility is available only at a network hospital empanelled with the insurer. When picking a health policy for senior citizens, go for an insurer with a wide hospital network. For instance, Care Health Insurance has 11,000+ cashless healthcare providers.

Conclusion

In addition to the points mentioned above, one should also check the policy wordings and understand the sub-limits, exclusions, etc. Overall, the best senior citizen health policy should provide affordable and comprehensive coverage with the following benefits:

  • In-patient Hospitalisation
  • Pre and Post Hospitalisation
  • Domiciliary Hospitalisation
  • Day care Treatment
  • Ambulance Cover
  • Alternative Treatment
  • No Claim Bonus
  • Annual Medical Check-up

Further, senior citizens are eligible for tax deductions on the premium, up to Rs 50,000, according to the Income Tax Act. Considering these benefits, health insurance for senior citizens proves to be crucial financial support during one’s retirement years.

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Health and Wellness

How Can Critical Illness Insurance Save You From Financial Burden?

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The rising risks in today’s fast-paced and stressful world are almost undeniable. Today, life-threatening diseases like cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular diseases, to name a few, are responsible for a majority of deaths that occur in India.

Many policyholders are often under the impression that a standard health insurance plan is fully covering them. However, when faced with life-threatening diseases, exorbitant treatment and medical care costs become more than what their insurance plans can cover. At times like these, it becomes very stressful to arrange for emergency funds while keeping your long-term investment portfolios and savings intact.

When major illnesses strike, it means hefty bills, which creates a financial burden on the patient to pull out of it and survive. It is where a critical illness insurance plan comes in the picture, and in times like this, it might be precisely what you need.

What benefits can you get from critical illness insurance?

There are many benefits of critical illness plans, which make them ideal for a term insurance policy. Some of the benefits that make critical illness insurance a perfect cover to back-up your term insurance policy are:

  • The coverage provided in critical illness insurance is for over 36 life-threatening diseases.
  • The sum assured can be used as a form of income replacement.
  • Critical illness insurance provides accidental death benefit and protection against disability
  • The claim process is usually hassle-free, fast, and very convenient.
  • The benefit payout is 100% when the policyholder is diagnosed with a terminal illness that is covered in the chosen critical illness plan.

Apart from these, you can avail of tax benefits when you opt for this plan. You can follow your financial goals and cover yourself at the same time, with critical illness insurance.

One of the most significant benefits that this plan offers is the tax benefit. The premium that you pay towards your critical illness insurance is eligible for tax deductions. Section 80D of the Income Tax Act of 1961 says that you can claim up to Rs. 25,000 under a critical illness insurance policy. In case the policyholder is a senior citizen, the tax-saving benefit goes up to Rs. 50,000. Further, if your parents are senior citizenscovered under such a policy, you can receive a tax deduction of up to Rs. 50,000 for the premiums you have paid for them.

How Does It Help Save You From The Financial Burden?

Image Source: Shutterstock

The illnesses covered under this policy are life-threatening, and they require extensive care, treatment, and medical assistance. More often than not, these costs end up burning through a medical policy quickly, and the need for emergency funds arises. If you do not have emergency funds handy or a better coverage offering policy, then you may have a hard time paying those hefty bills.

If you have been smart enough to plan for this ahead of time and buy critical illness insurance, then you won’t have to worry about the financial burden. With a critical illness rider added to a term plan, you don’t have to worry about all the high out-of-pocket expenditure you will have to make at the eleventh hour.

Critical illness insurance can pay for all those costs you incur that arenot covered by traditional insurance plans. You can use the lump sum you receive from your critical illness plan towards a variety of expenses or necessities such as-

  1. Paying for critical medical services
  2. Payment for treatments that your traditional policy does not cover
  3. Transportation expenses that may include traveling to treatment centers, running errands for prescription, opting for a wheelchair, etc.
  4. Clearing off your daily living expenses to focus on getting better and not on working to clear the bills
  5. Terminally ill patients who wish to rest or recuperate can use the lump sum to take a vacation of their choice.

Another reason why a critical illness plan sounds appealing is that it does not cost a lot, especially if you buy it at a young age.

The Bottom Line

Medical bills have always been and continue to be one of the biggest reasons for stress and bankruptcy. Hence, protecting yourself against it deserves consideration. You can alleviate your financial burden by opting for critical illness insurance. The lump-sum you receive on being diagnosed with a critical illness can be used for treatment or replace your salary. Insurance plans like these ensure that you have money in hand to lift your financial burdens.

This type of insurance provides flexibility and peace of mind, which ensures that instead of worrying about your finances going for a toss, all you have to do is focus on getting better.

all image credits: Shutterstock

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Health and Wellness

Sleep Aids That Will Help You Sleep Fast

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Poor sleep is common, and many people are suffering from getting any of it. When it is hard for you to get restorative sleep, it becomes a problem for your health. Some of the effects of sleep deprivation are they affect your cognition, memory, and other chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. What could be the issue with people that suffer insomnia? Either it is the noise, temperature of the room, or the amount of light to health conditions that make it hard for them to fall asleep. Although suffering from sleep deprivation is highly individualized, there are some sleep aids like those below that you can try to get a better night’s rest. 

White noise sound machine 

This sleep aid is best for staying asleep, especially for people that are sensitive to noise. If you are this person that even when the floor creaks, you are up. Every time you lay down to sleep on your beautyrest mattress reviews, you need soothing background noise. A white noise sound machine will be of help even when there is the noise, it does not startle you as much even when there is a loud sound. There are soothing sounds that you can pick when you have a white noise machine. Choose which you prefer, from the rainwater sounds to the roar of crashing waves.  

Chamomile tea 

To those after quality sleep, chamomile tea is the best option, and you can choose the organic one as it is the best. Plus, you should include this in your ritual as when you have a bedtime routine. Where, for instance, you take a warm shower, meditate, and have tea as you wind down to sleep. Have chamomile tea as it has an antioxidant that reduces anxiety, and you sleep much better. Many women going through postpartum drink it, and they sleep well. Buy a bag from your favorite store, and you will have one for each night for at least three months. 

Melatonin supplement 

Choose the best melatonin supplement if you want to get sleep at night. If you use them appropriately, they are a good choice. This supplement will help to regulate your circadian rhythm that is normally off most times when you have not slept. Take at least a milligram 3 hours before you go to bed. However, since it is a hormone supplement, it may take time to work, but eventually, it will.  

Unsweetened almond milk 

This is the best sleep aid if you need one that is a non-habit forming way to sleep fast. Drink a warm glass of warm milk before you sleep as it is a natural sleep aid. Since milk has tryptophan, that is an amino acid that makes melatonin. Try out almond milk that also contains magnesium that helps with sleep. Have some milk, and you can give your children too to get them to sleep fast. 

Polarized sunglasses 

Why not invest in polarized sunglasses as they are a good sleep aid for winding down. If you feel like wearing this at night, looks off. Why then wear sunglasses on your way to work when you should not sleep well at night. The sunglasses are great as they help signal to your body that it is night time, and you should prepare to sleep. The glasses are unisex and block out 100% of the UV rays since they have a polarized lens to prevent glare. 

Valerian root 

When you need the best natural sleep aid, the valerian root is a natural supplement that has been in use since ancient times. It is available in many formulations, from teas to supplements. Many people praise it and use it as a tea to help aid in sleep. So choose this if you want to relax and sleep in ease. The antioxidants present appear to have sleep-enhancing and sedative effects. 

In summary, sleep should be a priority to everyone, and if you are not getting enough sleep, it is best to try some of the above sleep aids as they have proven to be effective. In case they have no much difference, consult a sleep doctor to help you on how best you can achieve quality sleep. 

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