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Active great-grandmother dives into a healthy old age

When I grow up, I want to be like this lady. The San Diego Union Tribune reported today on Edna Baldwin, a 90-year-old who celebrated her birthday with a 10,000-foot drop:

"I like to stay active," said Baldwin, who lives in the La Costa retirement community in Carlsbad. "If you sit in a rocking chair, you fade away."

Big deal? Not to adjunct clinical associate professor Walter Bortz II, MD, who responded:

"So what... We're resetting the norm. Before, when we hit 65, we were supposed to be dead. We're challenging that."

Bortz, who's 80, this year wrote two books and - oh, yeah - ran a marathon. He's the author of Dare to be 100: 99 Steps to a Long, Healthy Life.

The "use it or lose it" theory is widely accepted by doctors. Exercise in old age continues to "benefit your immune system, bone density, cholesterol levels [and] cardiac parameters," says Stanford Hospital orthopaedist Michael Fredericson, MD.

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