Cane Fu Fighting

April 22, 2009 8:25:34 AM PDT
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of adults aged 65 and older fall each year. Of those who fall, between 20 percent and 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries. Older adults are hospitalized for fall-related injuries five-times more often than they are for injuries from other causes. The good news is there are different exercise programs that may reduce an elderly person's risk for falling. BENEFITS OF EXERCISE FOR SENIORS: There are many benefits of exercise for seniors. Some of these include:

  • Delaying diseases such as heart attacks, diabetes and cancer
  • Improving balance, mobility and flexibility
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Improving sleep
  • CANE FU?NOT KUNG FU! There's a new exercise trend among senior citizens who use canes to get around. It's called "Cane Fu," and it's a combination of aerobic training and self-defense. Instructors teach participants how to perform self-defense moves like breaking a chokehold with a cane. The class also helps participants improve their balance and coordination. Sheldon S. Zinberg, M.D., President and Founding Chairman of Nifty After Fifty, told Ivanhoe: "It actually produces improved balance, improved mobility and a sense of self-confidence and security." In a review conducted by 1,428 members, Cane Fu, along with other training classes, reduced falls by 89-percent and fractures by 85-percent when compared to CDC statistics.

    THE CANE AS A WEAPON: Instructors say any kind of cane is fine for self-defense, including aluminum canes or the wooden canes make of pine, which are available at drugstores. They say the best are hardwood canes made of hickory or oak, which don't easily break on impact. The cane has a rich history as a weapon. A number of 19th century canings at the Capitol included a brutal 1856 attack on the Senate floor by South Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks on abolitionist Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumner.