Fitness and Health

Fitness and Health

Physical fitness is a fine-tuning of body and something similar to an engine fine-tuning for smooth and efficient running. Perfect body figure is achieved through regular work out and balanced diet. Regular workout improves the overall working condition of heart, lungs, body muscles, and other important parts of the body.

Advertise with my BlogWhat are the benefits of Perfect Workout?

Fitness and HealthThe human body is a motion machine. Every human body is designed to move and it is meant for it. Each part of our body is designed to do certain functions and actions. Hence, it is necessary to do regular exercise in order to keep body fit and healthy.

Our legs are meant for walking and running not just to keep idle without much movement. If there is no possibility to run or walk in the routine work schedule, then it is better to find some time for a walk and/or leg exercise during free hours. Remember, sitting too long without much activity for legs could weak leg muscles and stamina.

It will also affect overall blood circulation in the body that may leads to many ailments and physical problems later. Fitness and HealthMost people aware about the importance of keeping body fit but they actually do not find time for regular workout. In the modern work environment, we have very little scope for physical movements while carrying out day-to-day activities.

Technological advancement encroached in our daily life. New technologies have made our life easier but badly affect our health as the present work style reduced our physical movements.

Here are some of the most important benefits of regular workout:

  1. Regular workout enhances the efficiency of human body to fight against viruses that spread diseases. Sunlight on skin during exercise  helps body produce vitamin D which is essential to our body. More information: Regular Exercise Benefits.
  2. Regular workout increases oxygen flow that add many benefits to our body and brain. Our memory and metal alertness improves when we work out every day.
  3. Physical Exercise improves human body physically as well as mentally. Regular workout can relieve tension, depression, and anger. Our mental strength and alertness of body improves. As regular workout becomes a part of our routine, we experience progress in general well-being over a period.
  4. Physical exercise improves our immunity system that decreases the risk of falling ill and protect us from many deadly diseases such as cancer, stroke and heart attack.
  5. Regular work out can bring down our blood pressure and bad cholesterol and thereby reduce heart ailments and related diseases. To some extend, by doing regular exercise we can effectively control our blood pressure without the help of any anti hypertensive medicines.

Fitness and HealthOur body slowly loose its strength and stamina when we don’t engage with any physical activities regularly. Research studies shows that each hour of regular exercise can extend our life expectancy for additional two hours. Brisk walking everyday for 30 minutes can really make a change in our life. 30 minutes of moderate activity is beneficial to our overall body health.

Few added benefits of regular exercise

  • Regular exercise keeps our body weight under control.
  • Want to quite smoking? Regular work out can help us in the game.
  • Regular exercise boost our energy level, improve mental strength, self image, and optimism and maintain our independence.
  • Regular work out reduces coronary heart disease in women.
  • Daily workout improves the good cholesterol (HDL) levels in our body.
  • Regular workout on every day can strengthen our bones and reduce bone loss. Our muscle strength increases as we keep exercise every day and our physical strength improves considerably.
  • Physical exercise helps us sleep better.
  • Regular exercise benefits people of all ages. Senior citizens can  safeguard themselves from chronic diseases associated with their age and lead quality life if they engage in simple exercise activities everyday.
Regular exercise for older people

As we get older, maintaining a regular exercise routine can be a big challenge due to illness, concerns about injuries or age related health problems. Many older people has no clue about where to start. They are often get discouraged by their own negative thoughts and concerns build up in their mind as they get older.

Fitness and HealthExercise can energize these old people’s mind, improve immunity, relieve stress and help them manage their illness well. If planned well, they can make regular exercise a fun-filled activity when they do it with family members or friends. Strength training helps to control the symptoms of arthritis and other chronic conditions. Exercise improves their strength, flexibility and posture and that help with balance and reduce the risk of falls and related injuries. 9 Top Gym Etiquette That Everyone Should follow

Tips to get started

  1. Consult with the family doctor before starting an exercise program. Most old aged people have one or other age related issues. In such cases, one needs to get a doctor’s opinion about the activities that these old people can follow and the activities they should avoid in their daily workout routine. It is important to get medical clearance from a doctor first.
  2. Consider present health conditions before deciding on the type of workouts. Get family doctor’s opinion about it. For example, in case of diabetics, they have to adjust the timing of their meal and medication when setting an exercise plan. Keep a watch on their condition during the work out. If they are uncomfortable with any particular type of activity, and if they experience any pain or shortness of breath, then just ask them to stop that activity immediately.
  3. Do not start exercise all of sudden. Start light activities in the beginning and proceed slowly. Warm up before starting exercise and follow the correct cooling down procedures. Drink enough water to prevent fatigue. Make regular exercise a habit. Make their fitness activities enjoyable with some fun-filled activities. Read about common Exercise Mistakes here
  4. The right type exercise should always energize people. In case any particular exercise makes old people lousy, then ask them to stop such activity immediately. If they experience any pain,  short of breath, or any sort of uneasiness, then take them to the doctor immediately.
  5. Focus on short-term goals and maintain a positive mindset. It is very important to keep mentally motivated with positive mindset.

This blog has more than 20 articles posted that carry useful fitness tips. I hope readers find these articles helpful and handy. For any questions or suggestions, post in the comment box below.

9 Top Gym Etiquette That Everyone Should follow


Message to readers:  
This blog is written with an aim to offer few useful  tips on exercise and related areas. I am not a fitness expert but I have done extensive research on this subject and prepared articles based on my studies and experience. I am convinced about the facts mentioned in these articles  however; it is up to the reader to follow them. 
Articles in this blog site are intended to guide people and offer basic tips on fitness and related topics. The author of this blog will not held responsible for any loss caused due to implementation of tips mentioned in this bog without any further research.

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How Much Health Insurance Coverage One Should Look For?

How Much Health Insurance Cover Should You Have?The deduction limit for health insurance premium under section 80(D) has been hiked from Rs.15000 to Rs.25000 for general public and from Rs.20000 to Rs. 30000 per year for senior citizens. It is a good news for tax payers as they can now get tax exemption for higher amount that they would otherwise compel to spend on their health insurance cover.

Medical expenses are gone up in recent years. Especially in India, medical inflation was running higher than the salary hike in the recent past. Studies show that India has the highest medical inflation in the world and that is really alarming! This reality makes more people to buy health insurance for them and family. There is a considerable increase in health insurance premium in recent years due to rising medical inflation rate in India but that has not deterred these people from buying their health insurance policy. It is true that people need to shell out more money now towards their health insurance premium than before and the earlier limit offered under section 80 (D) is not even half of the premium paid by many families for their cover. This could be one of the reasons to rise the limit up to Rs. 30000.

This is a good move indeed and it will definitely attract more people towards paying higher premium for coverage they actually require. To attract customers, health insurance companies has also come up with some unique features that include premium variants and add-on benefits as optional. These services include reimbursement of vaccination expenses, maternity cover, exemption from earlier sub limits and an option to book high end rooms in leading private hospitals. Though these features can be of very useful to many, not everyone need to opt for it for the simple reason that all of us may not use these added benefits every time.

How Much Health Insurance Cover Should You Have?Policy buyers need to be cautious while buying these type of feature rich policies. They need to analyze their health insurance requirements and then make a careful choice rather than buying policies without a second thought. When you buy these feature rich policy, you are actually buying a product that offer many features which you may not require at this stage, instead focus on the main factor – the ideal cover for you and family.

What are the things that you need to consider when you buy a Health Insurance Policy?

As we know, requirements of each individual and family varies. The type of health insurance cover suitable for a family is depend on some of the main factors listed below:

  • Health history of family member : If you want to include your parents or aged members to be included in the policy cover, then prepare to shell out some extra premium. Health history of parents can impact the insurance premium as well especially when parents has a medical history of diseases like cancer, heart attack or stroke etc. Usually, policy will be issued for children of such parents after a medical check up in the beginning. Extra premium will be loaded based on the medical test results and age of the customer. Check on the facilities offered with feature-rich health insurance policy and make a choice carefully. Choose only those features that are useful to you and family.
  • Life style and preferred hospitals of family members: Life style of policy buyers can have an impact in their health condition which in turn affect their health insurance requirements. Consult with a health insurance specialist and make an appropriate choice of feature that are useful to you or other family members.
  • Premium affordability and the ability to bear the extra expenses in case of sub limits: When you buy a policy with all its features on, its premium rate would be definitely high. It is very important to see that what you can afford. Prioritize your requirements and make a decision accordingly. Make a choice for sub limit options carefully and consider your liability towards it.
  • Place of residence: Medical expenses vary different hospitals located in different cities and towns. Especially in larger metros, if one particular treatment is very expensive there then it is appropriate to go for featured policy so that you get medical coverage from the day one.
  • Nowadays, all major health insurance companies have included a coverage restore feature in their existing health insurance policies. This added feature would restore the entire health insurance coverage utilized in that year. This feature is found to be useful when you have aged parents included in your Family health insurance policy. However, this add-on may not find much importance in case only young people are included in the policy cover.
How Much Health Insurance Cover Should You Have?How much health insurance is required for a family?

This depends entirely on factors like age, location, number of members included, family health history and affordability. In case of a young family that consist of a wife, husband and two kids then start with a coverage 3 lakh or 5 lakh. If you are living in a smaller town, then 3 lakh coverage would be fine  but in case you live in any of metro cities then go for 5 lakh.

Analyze your requirements for the comings years. It would be ideal to increase family cover once in every 5 years irrespective of whether you have used your coverage in the past or not. 40% increase in coverage in every 5 years is recommended in metro cities. This is just an indicative figure. The actual enhancement required for your health insurance coverage is also depend on your past claim history and present health conditions of you and family members. Increasing medical inflation that we witness in each year and a need for higher health insurance coverage due to age increase of family members are the basic reasons for seeking enhancement for anybody’s health insurance coverage.

The best thing that you can do is to evaluate defined benefits and top up plans to enhance protection in such a way that the top up cover would get activated only after your base cover is exhausted.

How Much Health Insurance Cover Should You Have?The other option is to go extra coverage for critical illnesses like Cancer, Stroke or any other heart ailments. This top up coverage provide financial assistance over and above basic hospitalization expenses. This option will protect policy holders from financial distress due to illness and loss of income. You can either go for a Critical illness top with your existing health insurance policy or you can buy a fresh Critical Insurance policy from any Life Insurance or General Insurance company.

Under this policy, the affected person is entitled to get a lump sum amount (sum insured) irrespective of the actual medial expenses, after he/she diagnosed with any of the critical illness included in the policy. This product is really worth to consider especially when you seek coverage for your parents.

Always do your homework before making a choice. Include your health insurance expert in the decision making process. Never buy an idea of taking a policy with maximum cover instead get a cover that you and family require.

 

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Your Home Loan Application Got Rejected? Improve Your Credit Score Now!

Your Home loan Application was Rejected? Improve Your Credit Score Now!

Your Home Loan Application Got Rejected? Improve Your Credit Score Now!We often get many home loan and personal loan offers from banks and financial institutions when we actually don’t require them. I get a lot of calls with attractive offers and interest rates when there was no requirement and buying home/property was not in my agenda.

But when we really need a home loan/consumer from the same bank, we experience a lot hurdles to get that approved. You might have noticed that many home loan applications are getting rejected not because of insufficient income but because of the poor credit score.

Where can we check our Credit Score and how can we improve credit score?

Your Home Loan Application Got Rejected? Improve Your Credit Score Now!Once you convinced your bank that you have enough income and ability to repay loan EMI, the next thing your bank will look at is your Credit score. Credit Score is one of the major factor to decide your loan approval and your loan interest rate.

Currently there are four bureaus in India that prepare credit reports and they are : CIBIL, Crif High Mark, Equifax, and Experian. However, I personally experienced that most of the public sector banks rely on CIBIL rating in the home loan approval process. CIBIL rating is considered as the most popular credit rating system by many leading banks in India.

There are many ways you can improve your credit score. Here are few easy ways to follow and increase chances to get your home loan approved.

  • Pay off all your loans as soon as possible. If you have multiple loan accounts, close all those accounts at one go or at least club all loan accounts to one single loan account. This step would really help in improving your credit score.
  • Do you have any credit card dues? Pay them off immediately before applying for home loan. Also check,  all the payments paid towards your credit card bill or personal loan till date are reflected in your bank record. If not, resolve that issue with your bank people first.

I personally experienced this issue when I applied for a home loan. In my CIBIL report, it was showing that a certain amount of credit card payment was due in my HSBC credit card account.  In fact, this credit card was actually cancelled 10 days before my CIBIL report date. All my credit card dues were paid weeks ago and my account was closed before I applied for loan! This error happened because the HSBC bank failed to update its data so the previous status of my account was kept showing up in my CIBIL report. Such things could happen with any bank so better keep a watch on it.

  • Do you revolve credit card dues between cards of multiple banks? That is a very costly affair and you need to keep tab on them. Best thing that you can do is to stop all those revolving dues. At some point, you find that credit card dues are expensive than a personal loan. In that case, take a personal loan at better rate and pay off all credit card dues at one go.
  • Do proper homework before applying for a home loan. Applying for too many banks at different intervals can impact your credit score adversely. Each time you apply for a loan, your bank will check your credentials with the bureau. When too many checkings are made about your account, that will signal that you are badly need of a loan and that image would eventually impact your credit rating.
  • Reduce your unsecured loans and maintain a balanced credit portfolio. Having too many unsecured loans can  affect your credit score. You will notice a considerable improvement in your credit score when you balance your portfolio this way.
  • Last but not the least, prepare well before applying for a home loan. Take  personal loan only when it is necessary.  Never keep your credit card dues unpaid for long after its due date.

 

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Union General Budget 2015-16 : Income Tax Rates

Union General Budget 2015-16 : Income Tax Rates

Union General Budget 2015-16 : Income Tax RatesFinally our budget for the financial year is out. Finance Minister of India, Arun Jaitley presented the Union General Budget for 2015-16 in Parliament. Though there are few changes in the tax structures, the Personal Income Tax rates are untouched. Here is a broad view on the Income Tax rates set for FY 2015-16.

Income up to 250000   Exempted from Income Tax
250001 to 5 Lakhs 10% Tax
500001- 10 Lakh  20% Tax
Above 10 Lakhs  30% Tax

These rates are applicable citizens of both sex who are less than 60 years old.
Senior citizens who are above 60 years of age are exempted from income tax up to 3 lakh limit instead of 250000. Very senior citizens – who are aged above 80 years – are exempted from income tax up to 5 lakh so they need to pay income tax on income above 5 lakh at the rate prescribed for people in the general category.

The education cess and additional surcharge – known as Secondary and Higher Education Cess – on income tax for the year 2015- 16 are going to be at 2% and 1% respectively. These charges would be levied from all tax payers. HUFs, artificial juridical persons, AOPs, co-operative societies and firms whose income exceed 1 crore are liable to pay 12% surcharge on their income tax amount.

Let us now look at the tax deductions offered in this budget.

  • Section 80C limit is untouched and kept at Rs.150000 limit. However, section 80CCD limit is hiked from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 150000 for new pension scheme.
  • There is a considerable change in section 80D on health insurance premium limit. Under section 80D, deduction up to Rs. 25000 is allowed for general category people and Rs. 30000 for senior citizens. The existing rates for general category people and senior citizen people are Rs. 15000 and Rs. 20000 respectively. In case of very senior citizen people no exemption is allowed as of now but they are eligible for a deduction of Rs. 30000 towards medical expense.
  • PAN number is a must for any transaction above Rs 1 Lakh.Union General Budget 2015-16 : Income Tax Rates
  • Sukanya Samridhi Account Deposit Scheme becomes more attractive investments than PPF now as all interest earned from this scheme and maturity amount are exempted from tax. So the investments made under this scheme fall under exempt- exempt – exempt tax category.
  • Income deduction on account of interest on home loan is up to Rs. 2 lakh. Transport allowance exemption limit is hiked in the current budget from its existing limit of Rs. 800/month to Rs. 1600/month.
  • Big hike on service tax rate. It is hiked from existing 12.36% to 14%. This hike is definitely going to effect business of all service sector companies. Wealth tax is replaced by 2% additional surcharge on taxable income above 1 crore rupees. Senior citizens are eligible for service tax exemption on Varishta Bima Yojana scheme.
  • 100% tax deduction on the amount contributed towards Swachh Bharath and clean Ganga activities. Under Section 80U, differently abled people can get deduction up to Rs. 75000. The existing limit under this Section is Rs. 50000. In case of severe disability, the limit remains same at Rs. 1 lakh but it is proposed to hike the limit to Rs. 125000/-

 

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Image source : Google images

Investments – Ideas and Tips

Investments

How Much Money That You Need To Invest?

Investments in ELSS

Many of us may make some investments in ELSS (Equity Linked Saving Scheme) for saving tax this year. ELSS is a good investment, but do you have any idea how much amount that one need to invest to get the maximum advantage?

First of all, we need to decide whether to invest the maximum amount to avail the full tax benefits for the year. Many people just do that for the sake of saving some tax amount and they forget about the risks  associated with the equity-exposed investments such as Unit linked insurance plans (ULIP) and Equity linked saving schemes (ELSS). Yes, every investor should have sufficient amount of money exposed to few good performing equity linked investments to gain decent profit but that does not mean that we should invest all savings in equity products.

How much money one should we invest in equity savings and for how long?

Investments

As a thumb rule, it is not advisable to expose the whole savings to equity exposed investments. One need to keep a portion of it to meet future contingencies due to untoward incidents or any medical issues for self and family members. The amount one need to keep aside to meet these contingency risk factors may vary depending upon that individuals socioeconomic status. Your entire family may be covered under life insurance and health insurance but you still need to keep this contingency fund aside just to be on safer side.

Investments, Investible surplus and expenses calculation

Invest only a part of investible surplus and not all your savings. Investible surplus is the amount that you have after all your regular expenses – that include your family and personal expenses – are met. It is about deducting your 3-4 months average expenditures plus around 10% of annual savings. Let us make it clear with a simple example.

Consider your total annual savings are 400000 INR and your average monthly expenditures and contingency expenses are about 30000 rupees and 45000 rupees respectively.

Then your investible surplus would be around: 235000-265000 INR

400000-((30000*3) +45000) OR 400000-((30000*4) +45000))

If you know your regular investments, then it is easy to calculate your investible surplus by using the method mentioned above. This is an amount that we can ideally invest. However, it is still not advisable to go ahead and invest the whole money in ELSS or any other equity linked investments. Many people cannot afford to do so because products like ELSS or ULIP cannot be liquidated in first few years of its inception and it is subject to high market risk.

Investments

How Much Money That You Need To Invest?

In such situation, how to go about it? Just ask yourself, can you take that much risk? Many people cannot take such risk with their hard-earned money, especially if they are above 40 years and having too many financial commitments to self and family.

In such cases people would prefer investments in low risk asset classes even though such investment plans earns comparatively less return  than  high risk equity investments. The ideal solution would be to spread the whole investments into different asset classes. This way we can share the risk associated with the investments in equity products.

Managing Portfolio of Investments

Now, the question is how much percentage of your investments that we should expose to equity market every year?

There is a general thumb rule that shows the maximum percentage of investible surplus amount that one has to expose to equity products at any point of time in a year. There is no hard and fast rule that you should stick exactly to that rule but, ideally keep somewhere close to that. When you follow this rule, you will get better control on your portfolio and investment pattern. This will help you know where do you stand on the way to achieve your investment goal. This figure is calculated based on the age of an individual, so it is an approximate figure but the most ideal equity exposure of an individual can only be arrived through proper personal financial planning process with the help of a certified financial planner.

So What is this thumb rule for investments?

Minus your age from 100 and takes that much percentage of your investible surplus (Not full savings) of that year as the amount that we can invest in any tax saving equity-linked investment plan for that year.

Let us make it clear with the same example mentioned earlier. Here, our investible surplus amount is 235000 to 265000 INR. Let us assume your age is 30. That means you can expose up to 70% (100-30) of your investible surplus to any equity linked investments this year.

InvestmentsNow, if we take 70% of 235000 or 265000 INR (We can choose either one of these figure depending on  our personal preferences and risk appetite) we get the actual amount that we can ideally invest in this year. It comes to Rs.164500 to 185500.

Remember, this amount is subjected to change every year as you get older. This ratio varry based on investible surplus amount that we would have in the coming years. We need to adjust this level in each year and maintain the ratio between equity based investments to the other investment components. Maintain the percentage based on the age, overall portfolio value and the amount that you want to invest in each year.

We understand how much money that we need to invest in equity market every year.  Now, you may want to know how long one should invest in these equity linked instruments? Every ELSS has a minimum locking period of 3 years. Investors are free to exit this fund if they are happy with the return they earned after this locking period. In case the investors want to gain more return then they can wait for few more months or years for the fund to appreciate. 

Investments

Where To Invest?

Which are the top ELSS funds that we should prefer?

Almost all Asset Management Companies in India has an ELSS scheme. Investors need to go through the fact sheets of each mutual fund and analyze the previous years performances. Investors can make a decision based on this analysis. Here are three ELSS funds that performed well in the past years:

1. Franklin Templeton: Franklin Templeton Tax Shield

This is an open end equity linked savings scheme (ELSS) with an allocation of minimum 80% to equities to enable growth over the long term. Since this fund invest mostly in large cap blue chip companies, the investment made in this fund is subject to less volatile than mid cap funds. I suggest this fund in all market scenarios due less risky nature compared to its peers. 

2. SBI MF : SBI Magnum Taxgain Scheme

This is a very old fund but it has consistently performed at regular intervals in the past. You might not see this fund holding the top performer’s slot quite often but it will definitely give a decent return over 4-5 years of term.

3. TATA MF: TATA Tax Saving Fund

This fund is managed by the Fund manger, Pradeep Gokhale. One can invest Rs.500 or multiples of 500 in this scheme. This fund invest 80% to 100% in Equity & related instruments. The remaining part of this fund is allocated to listed and unlisted debt instruments. Since this fund is highly exposed to equity market, it is classified under high risk investment. This is a top ranking fund and performed consistently in the past.

Although there are many top performing ELSS schemes in the market right now, I am always in favor of these three funds because they have always shown stable growth over a period of 4-5 years. Investors can expect a decent growth from these ELSS funds. Always refer Mutual fund’s monthly fact sheet before making an investment in any mutual funds.

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