LONGER and healthier lives mean Britons do not feel old until they are 76, according to a new survey.
Better diets, more exercise and simply refusing to let themselves go means a fitter, older generation with the average person in their 50s likely to feel at last four years younger than their age and a quarter feeling a decade younger.
One in five over-50s exercise more now than they did when they were younger and at least half admit to being more careful about what they eat and drink as they approach their 60s and 70s.
But it is not just physical fitness.
The survey of 1,200 adults aged 50-plus found most older people now use technology such as computers, tablets and mobile phones to aid their mental health as well as their physical and also helps their independence.
And it losing that independence which is the biggest worry for those approaching old age.
As many as 29 per cent are concerned about needing help to get around while 12 per cent do not want to face a time when they cannot exercise.
The survey of how sprightly people feel well into their seventies comes on the back of official figures which show older people living longer than ever before.
Men currently aged 65 can expect to live for another 19 years and women a further 21 years.
Most deaths in England now occur in people over the age of 80.
Prof John Newton, chief knowledge officer at Public Health England, said living longer made achieving “a good quality of life in later years even more important”.
“Even during mid-life, it is not too late to improve your health,” he said.
“Most of us could make changes today, like stopping smoking, being more active or eating better, that would allow us to look forward to healthier later years.”
Older people are also working longer with one in 10 of the over-65s, or 1.1million people, are now in work, up from one in 16, or 576,000 people, a decade ago.
Amy Whidburn, of Argos, which commissioned the research, said: “In the past, if you were over 50 you were over the hill but the latest findings reveal that for a significant number life begins at 76.
“More people than ever want to stay healthy and fit for as long as possible so they are active and taking steps to look after themselves.”