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If you know me, you know that I’m no Olympic athlete. I try to keep in shape by running a bit, eating right when I’ve got time, and doing simple workouts every once in a while to keep relatively fit.

I’m not gonna be winning a marathon anytime soon, but luckily, life insurance companies don’t need you to be a gold medalist to get the best price on coverage.

What insurance companies are really looking for when they evaluate your fitness are your blood pressure and your build, meaning the relationship between your height and weight.

If you focus on these two factors you might be able to drop your life insurance price (and maybe even your waist size) down a few notches.

Getting fit for a successful life insurance application

If you’re thinking about buying life insurance within the next year or so, your diet can be a great place to start getting ready. Your build, which insurance companies call the relationship between your height and weight, is a big part of your final price for life insurance.

If your weight is above a certain lines based on your height, you’ll be moved into higher risk classes, which will increase your price. Here’s an example of one company’s weight guidelines for Preferred Plus prices:

HeightWeight (lbs)
4’8”82-138
4’9”85-143
4’10”88-148
4’11”91-153
5’0”94-158
5’1”98-164
5’2”101-169
5’3”104-175
5’4”108-180
5’5”111-186
5’6”114-192
5’7”118-198
5’8”122-203
5’9”125-209
5’10”129-216
5’11”133-222
6’0”136-228
6’1”140-235
6’2”144-241
6’3”148-248
6’4”152-254
6’5”155-261
6’6”159-267
6’7”163-274
6’8”168-281
6’9”172-288

*Numbers shown are examples. Your life insurance application may use different values.

If your weight puts you into a higher risk class, you might be interested in shedding a few pounds to get into a healthier range.

» Learn more: Life Insurance Risk Classes: Will I Be Rated Preferred or Standard?

The best way to lose weight is to adjust your diet. Now, this doesn’t mean to starve yourself – if your body doesn’t have enough energy to run, it’ll begin to eat away at your own muscle mass as well as your fat.

This is bad for your health in the long run, because more muscle mass helps you burn fat easier, as well as making you stronger. For best results, aim for a better body composition by eating foods that fill you up more nutritiously.

A great first step towards a better diet for most people is leaning away from simple carbs and towards protein and fiber. This is because digesting your food can actually burn a little fat if you play your cards right.

Processed carbs, like sugar and white bread, are really easy for our bodies to burn for energy. More complex foods like proteins, on the other hand, take longer for our bodies to process. Our stomachs actually need to use energy to break complex food down to get to the energy inside.

Imagine your stomach as a bonfire. Sugar is like lighter fluid – it’s good for a quick burst of energy, but it goes away quickly. Proteins, veggies and whole grains are like firewood. A big ol’ log of protein lasts way longer, so you need to add less over time to keep the fire burning.

Shifting your diet towards whole grains, lean proteins, whole fruits and veggies, and healthy fats means that your body will actually burn some calories to get the calories inside your food. The upshot of this is that you’ll feel full for fewer total calories.

There are lots of resources available online to help you find healthy meal ideas, so do a quick google search if you want some inspiration.

What insurance companies are really looking for when they evaluate your fitness are your blood pressure and your build.

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Workin’ it out

Once you’ve got your diet set in stone, it might be time to start working out. In addition to your weight, one of the other big factors on a life insurance application is your blood pressure. Just like with your build, life insurance companies have a set of blood pressure ranges that they’re comfortable offering coverage to.

Sample Non-Tobacco Risk Classes
Risk FactorPreferred PlusPreferredStandard PlusStandard
Blood PressureCurrently well controlled with or without treatment, with the average readings in the past two years not greater than 136/86.Currently well controlled with or without treatment, with the average readings in the past two years not greater than 146/90.Currently well controlled with or without treatment, with the average readings in the past two years not greater than 152 / 92.Currently well controlled with or without treatment, with the average readings in the past two years not greater than 156 / 94.

*Numbers shown are an example. Your life insurance application may differ.

A healthy heart is able to move blood more efficiently, which means a lower blood pressure. This means that the best way to try to drop your price is to focus on cardio.

The best way to get your heart into tip-top shape is by moving every day. Take walks, use the stairs, go for a jog – anything to get you up and active.

Your heart is built for endurance, so you don’t need to do sprints or sign up for a crossfit class. Use 20-30 minutes of moderate activity per day as a baseline, and sprinkle in longer sessions or more intense workouts to help mix things up.

Going further for fitness

If you’re also looking to develop your muscles, which will help you burn fat more effectively, body weight exercises are a great way to help you meet those goals without a gym membership.

If you want to start adding bodyweight exercises, planks are a good place to start. Many trainers suggest building up your core strength with planks to help you get your body ready for more complex exercises.

To plank properly, get into a push-up position either on your hands or resting on your forearms, and flatten out your body with your core muscles. Your shoulders should be in line with your wrists, and you should try not to let your hips drop down or stick up in the air.

Hold the plank for as long as possible, and keep track of your time using your phone or watch. Start working your way up to successfully planking for 60 seconds. Once you can plank for a full minute, it shows that your core is strong enough to do other more strenuous workouts with less of a chance of injury.

From there, you can work on adding other bodyweight exercises like pushups, lunges, squats, and rows into your regimen. You can either focus on really working out different groups of muscles each day, or full-body exercises either every day or spaced out with a day of rest in between, depending on what fits your schedule.

This full-body bodyweight circuit from DailyBurn is a great place to start, since it lets you choose how long you want to work out at a time. It also offers lots of ways to change your workout up as you get stronger.

The most important thing is that you stick with your workout plan, so find something that fits into your life. If bodyweight workouts aren’t for you, find a sport you enjoy playing, or go on hikes with your family, or bike around your neighborhood – as long as it gets you up and moving, I won’t complain.

Long story short, getting in shape for your life insurance application doesn’t mean you need to eat only kale and start training for the Marathon de Sables, you just need to focus on your weight and your blood pressure.

If you’re ready to pick up a life insurance policy, we can help. Run a free anonymous quote to see prices from the top-rated life insurance carriers in the country, and apply online to get expert advice from our team of agents. We’d love to help you find coverage.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes 

About the writer

Headshot of Eric Lindholm, a life insurance writer, for Quotacy, Inc. New Year's Resolution

Eric Lindholm

Communications Coordinator

Eric started in Quotacy's sales department, but moved to marketing after helping hundreds of people through their life insurance buying journey. Aside from writing about buying life insurance, he also edits Quotacy's monthly newsletter, runs our YouTube channel and produces Real Life, our podcast. Eric lives in Minneapolis, where his coworkers are trying to convince him to take his humor into the spotlight. Connect with him on LinkedIn.