We all can agree that we want to be healthier. We don’t need a New Year’s resolution to decide that. The sticking point is the amount of effort required, the time needed to make a commitment last, or a variety of other factors that get in our way.

But it doesn’t have to be that hard. You can negate those holiday cookies and cakes with easy-as-pie changes to your everyday routine.

Stand up

Physical activity is the enemy of sedentary behavior. We’ve heard that term a lot in recent years, as study after study has taken on the topic.

Research subjects have covered demographics ranging from children to seniors, obese to average weight, and on and on. For individuals that sit a lot, or sit for long stretches, the negative health effects can pile up, including a heightened risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, excess body fat and increased cholesterol levels.

The Mayo Clinic analyzed 13 studies related to long spells of sitting and found that the risks of dying were comparable to deaths as a result of obesity or smoking. Fortunately, a solution is right at the end of our noses, or ankles, as the case may be. The University of Washington recommends 10 minutes of standing for every hour of sitting, even if you’re hitting the gym every day after work.

That’s not a hard goal to accomplish. Instead of doing all your communicating by email or instant messaging, get up and talk face-to-face with a co-worker occasionally. Don’t sit and stare at your phone while your lunch is in the microwave. Stand while it cooks. For that matter, stand while you eat it.

Stand and sit straight

You have probably heard that advice from your parents more often than your doctor, but it works. Proper posture can ease the strain on muscles and joints. Put less strain on your muscles and they’ll be more prepared to work when you need them. Standing and sitting correctly eases oxygen flow into your lungs, allowing you to be more alert and energetic.

“Simple things like the way we carry ourselves and the way we pay attention to our breathing can definitely influence our mood and our brain chemistry,” Dr. Sheela Raja of the University of Illinois at Chicago told Naperville Magazine.


As oxygen is needed to keep us alert, fluid keeps our muscles and joints going. Men should aim for 13 cups of fluid every day while women should shoot for nine cups daily, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Extensive study by H.H. Mitchell in the Journal of Biological Chemistry determined that about 60% of our bodies are water — not to mention the quantity in key components like the brain (79%), heart (73%) and lungs (83%). Staying hydrated is essential. That applies to everyday life and activities, not only while working out or in hot weather.

Water helps your body to process fluids. And water is everywhere. While you’re waiting for your meal to cook, have a drink of water. When you’ve been sitting too long, get up and get a drink of water. You’re achieving multiple benefits at the same time.

If you are planning to hit the gym or trails, drinking water throughout the day will help you there. Drinking before you work out ensures that your body has the nutrients it needs instead of depleting the supply through the workout, sports medicine physician Dr. John Batson explained to the American Heart Association. “Otherwise, you’re playing catch-up and your heart is straining,” he said.

These healthy activities are easy to accomplish, even amid hectic days. And they’re easy to remember, too, so there’s no need for a New Year’s resolution.