This study determined, for the first time, whether the effects of normal aging on systolic and diastolic left ventricular function in subjects without cardiovascular disease are related to underlying energetic defects. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging with tissue tagging and (31)P spectroscopy was used to determine global structure, function, myocardial strains, and the phosphocreatine-to-ATP ratio (PCr/ATP) in 49 healthy subjects aged 20-69 yr. The three major abnormalities that developed with increasing age were the early filling percentage (EFP, the left ventricular volume increase from end systole to mid-diastole divided by stroke volume × 100), which decreased with age, indicating impaired early diastolic filling (r = -0.72, P < 0.0001), the torsion-to-shortening ratio (TSR, measure of subepicardial torsion exerting mechanical advantage over subendocardial shortening), which increased with age indicating relative subendocardial dysfunction (r = 0.44, P < 0.02), and the PCr/ATP (decreased with increasing age, r = -0.52, P < 0.003). EFP and TSR were strongly correlated (r = -0.63, P < 0.0001), although they were not related to PCr/ATP [EFP vs. PCr/ATP: r = 0.34, not significant (NS) and TSR vs. PCr/ATP: r = -0.3, P = NS]. In normal aging, changes in EFP and TSR likely share the same pathophysiology, although it is unlikely that energetics have a major role in the functional effects of aging.