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5 Ways to Cheat Death

We've been told that the only sure things are death and taxes. But just as creative accountants have helped many men triumph over their 1040s, we can help you outrun the reaper. Maybe it's a game you can't ultimately win. But by following these 5 tips, you sure as hell can send it into overtime.

Live Higher Up

The science: A 2009 study of people in Switzerland found that those living at high altitudes had a 22 percent lower risk of dying of coronary heart disease.

Why it helps: Nobody's quite sure. Scientists say the extra UVA exposure, which means more vitamin D, could be one benefit. About 77 percent of Americans have a D deficiency, a condition that may lead to bone disorders and heart disease.

Your move: Most people can benefit from taking in 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily, so eat more D-rich foods, such as seafood. (Salmon, tuna, and mackerel are good bets.) Or take a vitamin D3 supplement, says study author Adit Ginde, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado at Denver.

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Make Relationships Last

The science Adults with strong friendships and/or community involvement lived an average of 3.7 years longer than the normal U.S. life expectancy, according to a 2010 review by researchers at Brigham Young University.

Why it helps "Social support is linked to better immune functioning," says study author Julianne Holt- Lunstad, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Brigham Young. And with meaningful bonds in your life, you're likely to take fewer risks that endanger those worthwhile relationships, she adds

Your move It's often easier to schedule an event than to plan an open-ended get-together. Sign up at a site like groupon.com, which feeds you constant ideas (and discounts). If a good event pops up, rally your troops.

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Brush Your Teeth

The science: People who brushed less than twice a day had a 70 percent higher risk of death or hospitalization from heart disease than those who brushed three times or more, according to a 2010 U.K. study.

Why it helps: Oral bacteria can enter your bloodstream, possibly triggering plaque buildup in your arteries.

Your move: Brushing and flossing remove bacteria, but many people floss incorrectly, says Judy Kreismann, R.D.H., M.A., a clinical associate professor of dental hygiene at New York University. Floss right: Wrap the floss so it forms a C around the front of one tooth and a C around the back of the adjacent one. Move the floss up and down.

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Breathe Clean Air

The science: People who live in cities with relatively good air quality live a few months to a year longer than average, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Why it helps: Dirty air carries micro-pollutants that can trigger inflammatory reactions, says study author Arden Pope, Ph.D. "Even mild inflammatory responses can contribute to cardiovascular disease."

Your move: No matter where you live, you can trade sidewalk jogs for trail runs. Streets equal more air pollution from passing vehicles, and deep breathing increases your inhalation of the stuff, says Pope.

Accept Your Age

The science: In a 2009 study from Germany, researchers asked people how they felt about their age. Those who were happy with their age lived an average of 2 years longer than people who were bothered by it.

Why it helps: Acceptance of aging— rather than denial of it—is related to healthy behaviors, says study author Dana Kotter-Gruhn, Ph.D., a psychologist at North Carolina State University.

Your move: As people age, they tend to compare themselves with their younger selves, which leads to some disappointment, says Kotter-Gruhn.

Instead, compare yourself with your contemporaries; plenty will be worse off (and others will be inspirations).

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