The aging immune system is unable to optimally respond to pathogens and generate long-term immunological memory against encountered antigens. Amongst the immune components most affected by aging are T lymphocytes. T lymphocytes are cells of the cell-mediated immune system, which can recognize microbial antigens and either directly kill infected cells or support the maturation and activation of other immune cells. When activated, T cells undergo a metabolic switch to accommodate their changing needs at every stage of the immune response. Here we review the different aspects of metabolic regulation of T cell activation, focusing on the emerging role of mitochondrial metabolism, and discuss changes that may contribute to age-related decline in T cell potency. Better understanding of the role of mitochondrial metabolism in immune cell function could provide insights into mechanisms of immune senescence with the potential for developing novel therapeutic approaches to improve immune responses in aged individuals.