(This post is mainly going to be of benefit to UK-based readers of my blog. I’m not affiliated with PruHealth in any way!)
Hannah and I are big fans of the Money Saving Expert website run by Martin Lewis. He’s a minor celebrity in England, having his own TV programme (albeit on Five). If you haven’t already signed up for his weekly newsletter, I really would.
Last year, one thing he recommended was PruHealth. It’s a private health insurance scheme which rewards you for becoming, and remaining, healthy. We looked into it but really couldn’t afford it at the time. Also, with Ben having just been born, time wasn’t really something we had in abundance. Now, however, things are different. Life with Ben is a bit more calm and structured now and with my new position next year we’ll have (slightly) more disposable income.
Just to give you some idea of how good a deal this is for us in particular, it would cost £42 each to join the gym we’ve just signed up for. With the PruHealth scheme, our premiums are £27 each per month and we get the gym free! Granted, for the first 3 months it’s slightly more whilst they assess your usage, but if you average 2 or more sessions per week, all you pay is your health insurance premium from then on. If we do the health checks every 6 months and average around 2.5 sessions per week our premiums will more than halve. Yes, that’s right: next year we’ll probably both be going to the gym and have private health insurance for less than £25!
I went for my initial PruHealth check and gym induction today. Much as Steve Dembo is doing with Wii Fit, I’m planning to post my fitness levels every so often. I used to post details of the GPS-tracked runs I did via my Nokia N95. I stopped that as soon as I realised people would be able to pinpoint exactly where I live (or used to live – we’re moving this month!)
So, what follows is my baseline. Please bear in mind that I haven’t exercised more than about once per week since Ben was born (16 months ago), that I’m mildly asthmatic, and that I had a huge cup of coffee this morning! The latter probably explains my high blood pressure reading (hopefully…)
- Weight: 81.4kg (171 pounds)
- BMI: 23.2 (should be 20-25)
- Blood Pressure: 139/89 (should be 120/80)
- Pulse (after 3-minute step activity): 106 (lower = better)
- VO2* Test: 38 (should be 42+)
- Cooper’s Run**: 2.51km (further = better)
There’s a selection of gym’s to choose from, but our local one is Cannons Health Club in Doncaster. Alongside the gym, there’s a studio for various classes (I like the look of Body Attack – a combination of boxing and keep-fit), and a swimming pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, etc. We’re all going after church tomorrow – Ben’s going to have weekly swimming lessons from his Daddy (I used to swim for my county many years ago…)
With the advantages PruHealth gives us and with the requirement to go at least twice per week, this is a long-term deal which could just revolutionise the life of the Belshaw family!
*VO2 Test = volume of oxygen you can consume whilst exercising. This was tested by using a treadmill to walk for 3 minutes whilst measuring heart rate and taking into account age, height and weight.
**Cooper’s Run = the distance you can cover by running on a treadmill for 12 minutes.