Cardiac ageing manifests as a decline in function leading to heart failure. At the cellular level, ageing entails decreased replicative capacity and dysregulation of cellular processes in myocardial and nonmyocyte cells. Various extrinsic parameters, such as lifestyle and environment, integrate important signalling pathways, such as those involving inflammation and oxidative stress, with intrinsic molecular mechanisms underlying resistance versus progression to cellular senescence. Mitigation of cardiac functional decline in an ageing organism requires the activation of enhanced maintenance and reparative capacity, thereby overcoming inherent endogenous limitations to retaining a youthful phenotype. Deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying dysregulation of cellular function and renewal reveals potential interventional targets to attenuate degenerative processes at the cellular and systemic levels to improve quality of life for our ageing population. In this Review, we discuss the roles of extrinsic and intrinsic factors in cardiac ageing. Animal models of cardiac ageing are summarized, followed by an overview of the current and possible future treatments to mitigate the deleterious effects of cardiac ageing.