People often ring in the new year with a promise to bring in better habits -- stop smoking, exercise more, etc. Whatever the promise may be, consider the following nine habits area health officials recommend you implement in 2009. Some of them may seem obvious, but that doesn't negate their importance.
1. Drink more water.
Cindy Seyer at Wellness Connection said drinking more water was on her list of top things to do. The CDC recommends eight, eight-ounce glasses a day for the average adult; more if you're active. And drinking eight 16 ounce glasses of ice water can make you burn off 100 calories over the course of the day.
2. Prepare for the worst.
Jane Wernsman, assistant director at Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center, said everyone should initiate or continue with emergency and disaster preparedness. Make sure to keep water, non-perishable food items and a first-aid kit with antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, bandages, ibuprofen, scissors and tape.
3. Sheild yourself
Make it a daily practice to apply sunscreen. Even on cold or cloudy days UV rays can sneak through and damage skin. You don't have to reach for the Banana Boat. Most moisturizer lines offer a choice with sunscreen you can add to your beauty regimen.
4. Get screened.
Seyer from Wellness Connection said having routine screenings for heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes can increase your wellbeing in 2009 and make you more aware of your current status.
The American Dental Association recommends you brush twice a day and floss once. Brushing will clean the tooth's surface, but bacteria and food can gather between teeth and cause decay. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
6. Eat your fruits and veggies.
Start getting at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Janet Anders, a wellness dietitian at Fitness Plus, said most people struggle to reach five. Keep in mind, she said, they don't always have to be fresh. You can eat fresh, frozen, canned or dried.
7. Sit up.
You're probably slouching right now. Seyer said to sit up straight. Better posture strengthens core and back muscles, improves balance and can increase self-confidence by increasing your overall appearance. For good posture, picture a string pulling you upright from the crown of your head.
Reduce stress by taking time for yourself, Seyer said. "Sometmes we're so busy with family that we forget to take time for ourselves." She recommended making time to do something you love on a regular basis.
9. Don some shades.
Your skin isn't the only organ susceptible to sun damage. Too much exposure to UV rays, especially UV-B rays, can wreck your eyes, causing macular degeneration and some kinds of cataracts. Sunglasses should state they block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays, and completely cover the eye.