Nothing But A Number: Middle Age Begins At 55 (PLUS Tips To Feel Young PICTURES)

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OLD PEOPLE ACTIVE
You're as young as you feel, as the saying goes... | Alamy

Middle age starts much later than originally thought, a study has claimed.

According to the research, the average perception of when middle age starts was at 55 years old and the mean average figure for when middle age ends was 69 years. A sizeable minority, nearly one in five, believe that middle age does not begin until past 60 years.

It pushes the tipping point for the final year of youth much further than previous surveys. A Kent University study published two years ago found that middle age began at 36 and that adults were considered ‘old’ at 58.

19% believing middle age was a state of mind and shouldn't be bound by numbers - a testament to "you're as young as you feel" if ever there was one.

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The research, commissioned by Love to Learn, surveyed more than 1,000 UK adults aged 50 and over. It asked them about their attitudes to life, ageing and what, if any, were the benefits of being older today in 2012 Britain.

Its results demonstrate the extent to which older people are living more active lives and undertaking new pursuits, such as learning how to use the internet and starting their own businesses.

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The findings also suggest that, as the UK population is aging, new cut-off points are being drawn. For the first time, there are more adults in the UK aged over 45 than under 45 and more people aged over 65 than are under 16, according to Office for National Statistics data.

As the over 50s own a disproportionate amount of wealth, the 'grey pound' is increasingly important. The life style of the 50 plus is a growing market, and it’s even had its own Hollywood take on it with the release of the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel featuring Judi Dench and Bill Nighy.

Earlier this year research suggested that people aged 65 and over would prefer to be called "grey panthers" than old-age pensioners - showing a resistance to age-focussed identity.

Age UK celebrity ambassador and fitness guru Rosemary Conley, said: “The older I get, the more convinced I am that age is just a number. Through eating well, exercising regularly and having a positive outlook I feel as young as ever.

"Everyone faces different challenges with age and general health and fitness differs from person to person."

Professor James Goodwin, Head of Research at Age UK, said: “With the number of people aged 60 or over expected to pass the 20 million mark by 2031, these top tips are really important because they offer a practical guide to people of all ages about how to age better.

“Individually the tips are important, but together they give each of us the best chance of ageing better. By bringing together global experts in ageing research as part of the Age UK Ageing Better Together campaign, we are aiming to show that the message is clear: whether you are 25 or 85, you can have a positive impact on your life as you grow older.”

See also:

Red Wine Could Improve Older People's Balance>

Over 65s Prefer 'Grey Panthers' Over 'Old-Age Pensioner' Tag

Happiness Levels Rise After The Age Of 45