Stretch For Success

When it comes to physical health, exercise is rightfully one of the first things people think of.  But most people think “getting in shape” just means vigorous activities like running or weightlifting. After all, “gentler” forms of exercise like stretching won’t give you a smaller waistline or bigger biceps, and if you’re putting in the work, it’s only natural that you’ll want to see  tangible results. 

But just because you won’t see any visible results from stretching doesn’t mean it won’t benefit you, or that you shouldn’t do it! In fact, stretching is more important than you think, and should be part of everyone’s exercise routine. And because there’s no equipment required to stretch, it’s easy to do anywhere, anytime. Your body will tell you what feels good and what doesn’t, so take it slow and enjoy the benefits. Get some tips on why and how you should stretch today!

Why Should You Be Stretching?

If you think that only gym rats and athletes should be stretching, you’re wrong. Even if you wouldn’t classify yourself as an athlete, stretching is something that you should do everyday regardless of age, fitness level, or abilities. Here’s why:

woman showing off her bicep muscle

  • Stretching keeps your muscles strong, healthy, and flexible. After a stretch session you’ll see your range of motion increase, and you’ll feel less tight and restricted in your movements. 
  • Stretching helps improve your posture. Tight muscles that don’t get stretched can cause poor posture. A good stretch routine paired with some core exercises can help set you back on the straight and narrow.  
  • Stretching improves circulation by increasing blood flow through your tissue and muscles. This is particularly beneficial for those with diabetes and/or high blood pressure. Add on some cardio, such as walking or cycling, to really set your circulatory system in motion.

Types Of Stretching

Now you know what stretching can do for your body, but what kind of stretches should you be doing? See if the following types feel right for your body:

  • Static Stretching. This type of stretching involves moving into an end range of motion and then holding that position. Some examples would be crossing your arm across your body and holding your elbow to stretch your shoulder, or grabbing your heel and pulling it to your bottom for a nice quad stretch. These types of stretches are great to try after a workout, to help cool you down and prevent soreness.
  • Dynamic Stretching. When you engage in dynamic stretching, you’ll be performing active, controlled movements with larger ranges of motion. Arm circles, walking lunges, and squatting all fall into this category and are usually done before working out to prepare your muscles for exercise.
  • Ballistic Stretching. A ballistic stretch involves bouncing or repeatedly pushing your body past its natural range of motion using momentum, force, or gravity. Remember those gym class days bouncing your knees up and down doing the butterfly stretch? That’s a ballistic stretch. These types of stretches have generally been phased out of everyday routines, because they have been known to cause injury. So, unless you’re a trained athlete, these more aggressive stretches are not necessarily recommended, and  you should definitely consult with your doctor before doing any sort of ballistic stretching. 

Simple Stretches To Incorporate Into Your Daily Routine

If you find yourself feeling tight when you wake up, why not start your day with a morning stretch?  Adding stretching to your morning routine will really energize and invigorate you, and put you in a positive mindset to tackle the day. Try one of the following easy stretches to loosen up and get your blood flowing:woman stretching her neck to the side

  • Neck rolls. Slowly roll your neck clockwise 5 times, then roll it counterclockwise 5 times. Try to touch your ears to your shoulders to extend your range of motion.
  • Shoulder shrugs. In a sitting position, shrug your shoulders to your ears 10 times. 
  • Shoulder stretches. Lace your fingers together and reach up to the ceiling with your palms upward. You’ll feel a stretch in your shoulders and rib cage. Try holding for 10 seconds.
  • Prone press up. Lay on your stomach with your palms on the ground just above your shoulders. Slowly push up and straighten your arms so you will feel a stretch in your back. Many people have chronic tightness in their lower backs, and this stretch will help to extend and strengthen your back muscles. Trust us, give it a try and you’ll  be hooked!

It’s easy to let stretching take a back seat to your workout or everyday routine, but don’t let that happen. If you don’t feel comfortable beginning a stretching routine or don’t know where to start, your best bet is to see a physical therapist for guidance. Physical therapy is usually covered under most health insurance plans – and if you’re looking to find a plan that covers physical therapy, EZ can help! Contact EZ today for a free, no obligation, no hassle quote. We work with the top insurance companies in your area and can help find a plan that’s right for you  – and save you money in the process. Enter your zip code in the bar above or call 888-350-1890 to speak with an agent.

Questions To Ask When Requesting Health Insurance Quotes

The Open Enrollment Period is coming to an end soon, and if you still haven’t looked into your health insurance options for the new year, now is the time to do so. But we get that picking a plan can be overwhelming because of all the options out there, so we want to give you the inside scoop on finding the best plan for you: your best bet is to work with an insurance agent. They know the ins and outs of health insurance and work with every insurance company, so they can get you the best possible plan. The best part? If you work with an EZ agent, we will compare plans for you for free! So if you’re ready to get started, we’ve got the most important questions to ask when requesting health insurance quotes from your EZ agent.

What Types Of Plans Are Available?

There are a lot of plans – and we mean A LOT – of different plans out there to choose from. There are metal tier plans, HMOs, PPOs, POSs, EPOs, and more. Each plan offers different levels of flexibility, coverage options, and rates; your available options also depend on where you live, so be sure to ask your EZ agent which plans are available in your region. We will gladly go over every single option and discuss the difference between each plan, so we can help you determine which one is right for you and your family.

What Are The Metal Tiers?

Health plans available on the ACA Exchange are separated into four metal tiers. These tiers do not indicate the level of care you will receive; rather, the tiers let you know how much you will pay for care and how much your insurer will pay. The tiers are:different colored badges, one silver, one gold, and one bronze

  • Bronze– Lower monthly premiums, but a higher deductible and copays. You will usually pay an average of 40% of costs of care, and your insurer will pay 60%. 
  • Silver– Moderate monthly premiums and moderate medical costs. You will pay 30%, and your insurer will pay 70%.
  • Gold– Higher monthly premiums with lower out-of-pocket costs. You will pay 20% and your insurer will pay 80%. 
  • Platinum– Highest monthly premiums and lowest out-of-pocket costs. You will pay 10% and your insurer will pay 90%. 

We will be able to go over this in more detail, including what each type of plan will cover and how much you will pay, so you can have a better understanding of how these plans work.

Can I Add Supplemental Insurance?

Dental and vision are considered supplemental insurance plans; some health insurance plans do not offer these, so you will have to ask if they are part of the plan you are looking into. If they are not, we can help you find affordable dental and vision plans. 

What is A HDHP & Will It Work For Me?

High deductible health plans are exactly what they sound like: these plans have high deductibles, but in exchange, you will have low affordable monthly premiums. These plans are generally for healthy people who only see the doctor for annual physical exams and do not have any chronic conditions that require constant medical attention, and who will most likely not have to pay their whole deductible. For 2022, the Internal Revenue Service has defined a HDHP as any plan with a deductible of at least $1,400 for an individual, or $2,800 for a family.

How Are Medications Covered?

money made out of medication pills
Medications are covered differently on plan’s drug formulary, which determines how much your medications cost.

Figuring out the cost of your prescriptions can be a little complicated since different insurance companies can charge differently for the same drug – some drugs might even be covered differently by the same insurer depending on the plan you choose. Basically, insurers put medications into  a drug formulary, which is divided into four tiers:

  1. Tier 1– Inexpensive generic drugs
  2. Tier 2- Brand name drugs and more expensive generic drugs
  3. Tier 3– Non-formulary drugs, generic or brand name
  4. Tier 4- Specialty drugs

To find out which plans cover your medications and how much you will be charged based on their placement in the insurer’s drug formulary, you need to speak with an EZ agent. We will review each plan available in your area and their drug formularies to make sure that your medications are covered, and that they will not cost you an arm and a leg. 

What About Out-of-Network Coverage?

Some plans, like HMOs, will not cover out-of-network coverage, but PPO and POS plans do cover out-of-network coverage in case of an emergency. If you travel or visit family in other parts of the country often, you’ll definitely want to consider a plan that covers out-of-network emergencies; otherwise, if you have an accident while away from home, you could be stuck with a bill that you have to pay out-of-pocket.  

Do I Need Referrals?

With some plans, you’ll need a referral from your primary care physician (PCP) to see a specialist, like a gastroenterologist or an orthopedic doctor. If you want to skip this step and see a specialist whenever you feel necessary, we can help you find a plan that does not require a referral. You’ll have more flexibility with a plan that doesn’t require referrals, and you won’t have to pay a PCP copay just to get a referral to see a specialist.

There are so many things to think about when looking for a health insurance plan for you and your family. Do you want more flexibility? Supplemental insurance? Cheaper prescriptions? The easiest way to find the right plan for you and get the answers to these questions is to work with an EZ agent. We will compare plans, go over every option, discuss your needs, and help you sign up for the plan you need, all at no cost to you. Our services are completely free, with no hassle and no obligation. Speak to an EZ agent now, before the OEP ends! Get free health insurance quotes by entering your zip code in the bar above, or to speak with a local agent, call 888-350-1890.