Enjoying retirement could be the key to a longer life, a new study suggests.
Sustained enjoyment over several years in older age has been linked to a lower risk of early death, experts have found.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that the longer an individual reports enjoying life, the lower their risk of death during the study follow-up period.
Experts from University College London examined data from more than 9,000 people aged 50 and older, with an average age of 63, who took part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
Participants were assessed on their levels of enjoyment in life on three occasions between 2002 and 2006.
Almost a quarter (24%) reported no enjoyment in life during any of the three assessments, one in five (20%) reported high enjoyment on one of the assessments, 22% on two assessments and 34% on all three occasions.
During the 6.5-year follow-up, 1,310 of the participants died.
People who reported high life enjoyment in all three assessments were 24% less likely to die during the follow-up period compared with those who said they had no enjoyment.
Those who said they enjoyed life on two occasions had a 17% reduced risk.