The objective of this study was to determine the effects of aging and exercise training on SIRT1 activity and to identify a pathway linking SIRT1 to antioxidant response and cell cycle regulation in rats. SIRT1 is a NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase involved in the oxidative stress response and aging. The effects of aging and of moderate and prolonged exercise training in rats are unknown. We measured SIRT1 activity in heart and adipose tissue of young (6 months old), sedentary old (24 months), and trained old (24 months) rats using an assay kit. Peroxidative damage was determined by measuring levels of thiobarbituric reactive substances (TBARS) and the protein-aldehyde adduct 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE). MnSOD, catalase, and FOXO3a levels were evaluated by Western blot, and GADD45a, cyclin D(2), and FOXO3a mRNA by RT-PCR. Aging significantly reduced SIRT1 activity in heart, but not in adipose tissue, increased TBARS and 4-HNE and decreased Mn-SOD and catalase expression in both heart and adipose tissue. Aging did not affect FOXO3a protein expression in the heart or FOXO3a mRNA in adipose tissue. Exercise training significantly increased FOXO3a protein in the heart and FOXO3a mRNA in adipose tissue of aged rats. It also significantly increased Mn-SOD and catalase levels in both heart and adipose tissue. The exercise-induced increase in SIRT1 activity in the heart caused a decrease in cyclin D(2) and an increase in GADD45a mRNA expression. There was a similar decrease in cyclin D(2), and no changes in GADD45a mRNA expression in adipose tissue. We concluded that exercise training, which significantly increases SIRT1 activity, could counteract age-related systems impairment.