Cape Town 081001-Anselina Smith and her husband, former SARU player David Smith, get the Eden team going at the opening of the Golden Oldies Olympiad at UWC. Reporter Jade Witten. Picture Jeffrey Abrahams

London - It’s supposed to be the young who have all the fun.

But in fact the older we get, the happier we are, researchers claim.

Although our physical quality of life goes down once we get past middle age, our mental satisfaction increases.

The University of Warwick study backs up previous research showing that our happiness levels form a U-curve, reaching their low point at around 45 but then increasing as we age.

Researchers analysed lifestyle and health patterns in more than 10,000 people in the US and the UK. They evaluated quality of life using eight different factors including perception of general health, pain, social functioning and mental health.

Dr Saverio Stranges, who led the study, said happiness may increase with age because we develop “better coping abilities” to deal with hardship than younger people.

“It could also be due to a lowering of expectations from life, with older people less likely to put pressure on themselves in the personal and professional spheres,” he added. - Daily Mail