Decades of research support the fact that much age-related deterioration is the result of the effects of sedentary lifestyles and the development of medical conditions rather than of aging itself. Elite older athletes, who demonstrate enhanced performance compared with historic cohorts and even some younger peers, are models of this paradigm. Many non-elite middle-aged adults and older adults continue to remain increasingly active throughout middle age and beyond. A continually growing body of basic science and clinical evidence demonstrates how active persons modulate physical decline through training. An updated understanding of how active adults defy age helps orthopaedic surgeons not only manage their patients’ performance but also improve their lives. A large segment of sedentary older adults will benefit from counseling that encourages the pursuit of more active and healthier lifestyles.