A study has found that socialising with friends and playing games in groups are as good for future physical health as well as mental wellbeing.

Conducted by the Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center found that simple activities like going out for meals with friends, having a night away, voluntary work, attending religious services, ‘off-track’ betting on horses and other social activities can be just as good for physical health as well as mental health.

Surprisingly, bingo was seen as being one of the most beneficial activities for long-lasting physical and mental development as it involves being with other people as well as keeping alert by monitoring number being called out to see if they won a prize.

The long-term study of almost 1,000 adults looked at how much heal subject needed looking after themselves as they entered their 80s. It found that the most sociable adults were less likely to need assistance with daily activities.

The authors wrote: “Higher levels of social activity are associated with a decreased risk of becoming disabled.”

As more and more people are becoming computer literate at a younger age, these activities can be used at a much earlier age. Using online bingo games can have lifelong health benefits.

Lead researcher Bryan James said: “Social activity has long been recognised as an essential component of healthy ageing, but now we have strong evidence that it is also related to better every day functioning and less disability in old age.

“The findings are exciting because social activity is potentially a risk factor that can be modified to help older adults avoid the burdens of disability.”