Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Aida Baker Turns 100 (video)

On Thursday, the Coronado Retirement Village celebrated the 100th birthday of Aida Baker. Aida loves the arts and painted when she was younger. Her father and two brothers were musicians. Active in the Coronado community much of her life, Aida volunteered more than 10,000 hours to the Coronado Sharp Hospital and served as President of the Auxiliary for two years. Prior to the pandemic, she was going out to lunch with friends, attending church, and exercising three times a week. She just recently resumed her exercise class at the hospital Motion Center.

Brad Willis was on hand to celebrate the centennial of a wonderful woman:

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Feeling fit at 100 years

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If you ever need motivation to work out, look no further than Coronado resident Aida Baker. Baker celebrates her 100th birthday this March, making her the oldest member of the Sewall Healthy Living Center at Sharp Coronado Hospital. But Aida doesn’t let her age define how much she gets her body moving — she works out three times a week.

Aida has been affiliated with Sharp Coronado Hospital since 1980, when she first became a volunteer. Over the years, she acquired more than 10,000 volunteer hours answering phones and helping the chaplains distribute the eucharist (or Holy Communion) to patients throughout the hospital. Baker says Sharp Coronado Hospital is a gem to the community and it has been wonderful for her to watch it grow over the years.

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Now, she is a regular in a different area of the hospital — the Sewall Healthy Living Center, where she has been a member for over 9 years. She says her favorite part of being a member is working with the staff and seeing their passion for health and fitness.

“I love the enthusiasm all the trainers have in what they’re doing and that kind of spreads,” Aida says. “It’s nice to come with the young people and do my thing.”  By “her thing” she means riding the exercise bike, lifting light weights and stretching with her trainer, Cynthia Mendolia, an exercise specialist at the Sewall Healthy Living Center.

Mendolia says that Baker is a joy to work with. “Aida is the hardest working client I have here. She has a spirit of willingness. She’s a client that never says ‘no I don’t feel like doing that.’”

Aida agrees that she and Mendolia make a great workout team.

“Cynthia has a real knack for teaching and I like her because she respects me and makes sure I enjoy what I am doing,” Aida says.

She enjoys all of the workout routines Mendolia presents her with, but her favorite machine is the exercise bike.

“She rides the bike for 55 straight minutes,” says Mendolia.

But Baker admits she was not always a fitness enthusiast.

“Earlier in my life, I was not really motivated to exercise,” she says. “When the opportunity presented itself to me 9 years ago to change myself and improve my health with exercise, I found that I began feeling better and looking forward to each exercise session. I always feel better when I leave.”

While Aida had to take a break from training at the Healthy Living Center during the pandemic, she is excited to get back to her routine this month with weekly outdoor personal training sessions. And although she may have started her workouts later in life, she says it is never too late to start.

“My friends envy my energy and what daily activities I can do in my life.”  She adds, and when they ask me for my advice, I tell them, ‘You can start at any age and begin to see the benefits. It’s never too late.’”

The gym at the Sewall Healthy Living Center is now open! Due to Red Tier restrictions, capacity is limited to 10% and reservations are required using the Mindbody App or online. At this time, classes remain virtual. For more information or questions, call 619-522-3798.


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Brad Willis
Brad Willis
Brad Willis is an author and retired network news foreign correspondent who has worked in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, Latin America and Asia. He has received national and international awards for compassionate journalism and for his war coverage. Brad is longtime Coronado resident who also Commissioner of Public Art for the City of Coronado. Send news tips or story ideas to: manager@coronadotimes.com
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