Wildman eats healthfully and takes lots of supplements, but the key element to his fitness strategy is younger friends.
"Old guys don't train anymore, so all my buddies are real young," he says. "They're more fun. They push you, and you push them, and you forget how old you are."
Young friends also teach him new games. "When Laird met me in 1996, he saw that I was an aggressive snowboarder -- and thought I'd make a good tow surfer," says Wildman, who often joins Hamilton for surfing and paddle boarding in Hawaii and other big-wave hot spots.
Conversely, he got Hamilton hooked on mountain biking, an obsession since he moved to Malibu in 1983.
Of course, acting like a man 50 years younger carries some risks. Three years ago, Wildman tore his rotator cuff while snowboarding in Argentina. Heli-boarding six months later, he drove his left femur through the end of his tibia, shattering the latter. ("I couldn't walk on it for 12 weeks, but I could cycle with the other leg," he says.) Last winter, he broke his left femur at a right angle when his mountain bike slipped on black ice in Utah. Ten days later, he was doing chin-ups; two months later, snowboarding.
Surfing in Hawaii with Hamilton in September 2008, a barrel slammed Wildman into his board, punctured his lung and broke a rib. A month later, he won three gold and four silver medals in cycling events at the World Senior Games, which he has competed in for the last five years.
"Seeing high-level people your age once in a while is important," he says. "It tells you that you're normal."
If all goes as planned, there will be many more accidents and Senior Games to come, because "the Wildman luck" is genetic too. His dad lived to 88, his mom to 94. He's had no medical problems other than an overactive thyroid 30 years ago. He rarely gets sick.
Wildman likes being a role model but finds it ironic that usually he inspires younger people, not his peers.
"When I met the Wild Man, I was in my late 30s and already starting to think slowing down was natural," Commerford says as Wildman serves us raspberry yogurt at his downtown Malibu yogurt shop, his latest passion. "Then we rode together, and the same thing that happened to you happened to me: I thought, 'What's my excuse? I gotta train more!' "
Adds Wildman: "People my own age say, 'It's too late for me . . . but all kinds of studies show that even nursing home populations can improve with exercise. And you get the reward for it: The endorphins. So pick something that you really like doing -- cycling, trampolining -- and just do it.
"As a kid, you go out and play. As an adult, you want the same fun, the same excitement," he says. "So when people say to me, 'When are you going to grow up?' I always say the same thing back: 'I hope I never do.' "