By Stephanie Stahl

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — What’s the secret to living a long healthy life? Doctors say exercise and eating well are important, but so is your attitude, according to new research released late Monday afternoon.

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Marian Armitage is not letting her age slow her down. She rides her bike everywhere, and says, “I just became 60 this year, and I certainly don’t feel 60.”

Researchers in London tracked more than six thousand senior citizens for more than a decade and found the key to living longer may be feeling young. Researcher Andrew Steptoe, with the University College London says, “People who felt younger than their real age were more likely to survive over the next eight years or so compared to those who felt older.”

The study found that adults who felt younger had a 14 percent death rate compared to a nearly 25 percent death rate for people who felt older.

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“Someone who feels younger is possibly healthier than someone who feels older — they have fewer diseases, they may be more mobile,” Steptoe explained.

Feeling older was a predictor of death even when the researchers accounted for things that could affect death rates, including illnesses, wealth, education, smoking, alcohol intake, and physical activity.

Older-feeling adults were about 40 percent more likely to die than younger-feeling adults.

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More than two thirds of participants in the study felt three or more years younger than their actual age.

Stephanie Stahl