Vehicle emissions are a major source of pollution. When air pollution drops, life expectancy goes up, found a national study published in the journal Epidemiology. Proposed gasoline standards would be as effective as if we removed 33 million vehicles from the road, according to the American Lung Association.
2. Know your D levels.
It is unlikely that your doctor will screen your vitamin D levels without prompting. But it's worth knowing your score: After analyzing the vitamin D levels of more than 13,000 people, researchers at Johns Hopkins found that those with the lowest levels had a 26 percent greater chance of dying—from any cause. (Fatty fish and fortified milk are two great sources, or you could take a supplement—the recommended daily allowance is 600 IU).
3. Start telling yourself that you can make a difference.
A sense that what you do matters may actually protect your brain from the eventual effects of Alzheimer's disease, concluded the authors of a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago have been following more than 1,400 senior citizens since 1997, and they've found that those who believe they're living for a reason showed a 30 percent lower rate of cognitive decline.
4. Set high standards—even if you feel unqualified to meet them.
Those who persevered toward accomplishment despite high levels of stress and responsibility lived longer than those who had cushier gigs (i.e., a job with low stress, low expectations, low investment of time or energy), according to the results of an 80-year Stanford University study called the Longevity Project.
5. Siesta at your desk.
Midday napping reduced coronary mortality by about one third among men and women in Greece, found a large study published in The Archives of Internal Medicine. Those who took a 20- to 30-minute snooze at least three times a week had a 37 percent lower risk of death from coronary heart disease than those who didn't, and occasional nappers had a 12 percent reduction in risk. (If your boss catches you, share this: Other studies show that a power nap can wake up the right hemisphere of the brain—and your creativity.)