Seniors take up "Cane Fu" with gusto

LOS ANGELES – Exercise can help people of all ages – including seniors. Here’s one gym that’s about more than preventing heart attacks. It's trying to ward off any kind of attack.

This isn’t your granddaughter's aerobics class.

Call it a new twist on an old form: Cane Fu!

"We turned the fitness equation on its head," said Mike Merino, CEO of Nifty After Fifty.

He said the fitness chain developed the Cane Fu class with a simple goal: "To actually make a senior feel powerful with something that normally represents frailty."

Berta Mayberry is 77 and anything but frail, even though she uses a cane.

"Sometimes when they see you, they think, 'Oh, poor thing,'" she said.

But Mayberry carries her cane in attack position. "I walk like this, so they know it's a weapon."

The exercise itself is also a weapon, helping to prevent falls, which every year send more than 2 million seniors to the emergerncy room

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 35 percent of Americans over 65 are considered physically fit.

The aches and pains take their toll, says 81-year-old Julianne Gooselaw.

"Five years ago, I broke my shoulder. And then I had a knee replacement a year ago," she said.

But with regular visits to the gym, "I now can do almost a mile on the treadmill."

"I couldn't do that two years ago, but I can now! I'm stronger now than I've ever been," she said.

Kim Bogue, 74, says the Cane Fu class “makes you feel young, gives you more energy.”

It also makes her feel safer.

"You know how to protect yourself.  If not, what happens? You let 'em sock it to you?  No way!” she said. "I like to fight back!"

Cane Fu is a boon for the seniors, but not so much for those trying to mess with them.