Regular physical exercise and a healthy diet are major determinants of a healthy lifespan. Although aging is associated with declining endurance performance and muscle function, these components can favorably be modified by regular physical activity and especially by exercise training at all ages in both sexes. In addition, age-related changes in body composition and metabolism, which affect even highly trained masters athletes, can in part be compensated for by higher exercise metabolic efficiency in active individuals. Accordingly, masters athletes are often considered as a role model for healthy aging and their physical capacities are an impressive example of what is possible in aging individuals. In the present review, we first discuss physiological changes, performance and trainability of older athletes with a focus on sex differences. Second, we describe the most important hormonal alterations occurring during aging pertaining regulation of appetite, glucose homeostasis and energy expenditure and the modulatory role of exercise training. The third part highlights nutritional aspects that may support health and physical performance for older athletes. Key nutrition-related concerns include the need for adequate energy and protein intake for preventing low bone and muscle mass and a higher demand for specific nutrients (e.g., vitamin D and probiotics) that may reduce the infection burden in masters athletes. Fourth, we present important research findings on the association between exercise, nutrition and the microbiota, which represents a rapidly developing field in sports nutrition.
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