Middle age may actually start a lot later than previously thought- at the age of 55, according to a new survey.

Previous research found that middle age begins as early as the age of 36, according to researchers from Kent University. However, a new UK poll found that people believe they are youthful up to age of 54 and that old age only set in at 69.

The latest findings, from online company Love to Learn, suggest that as the population ages, new cut-off points on aging are being set.

The survey, which consisted of 1,000 participants, found that while seven out of 10 early 50-somethings defined themselves as middle-aged, the average age at which the period of life was thought to start was at 54 years and 347 days old.

However, an optimistic, nearly one in five, group of respondents thought that middle age did not begin until after the age of 60 and almost one in five said that being middle age is a state of mind rather than something that begins at a certain age.

Researchers also asked respondents at what age they thought middle age ends and the average came out to be 69 years and 277 days. The latest findings suggests that middle age itself now lasts 14 years and adults are living longer, more active lives which goes beyond the U.S. government's pension age of 67.

"These new middle-agers are active, want to enjoy life and certainly don't see themselves as 'old age pensioners'," Gill Jackson, Director of Love to Learn, said in a statement.

"In fact, our research found that adults in their 50s are overwhelmingly upbeat about the benefits of their age group. They have greater freedom and financial security," Jackson added. "More than half said they have more confidence and experience than younger people and are less afraid of making mistakes and a vast majority (87 percent) have a huge appetite to learn new things and take up new hobbies."

"I think the concept of ageing has changed so much," Broadcaster John Craven, who is supporting the website's launch, said in a statement.

"Only a generation ago, many people were pretty old at 60. These days, most of us in our middle and later years are much younger in our attitudes and it's all about having an active state of mind and the confidence to experience new things," he added.