September 9th, 2008
10:43 AM ET

Getting your parents and grandparents to exercise

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Look, it’s not easy. As people get older, they tend to get more sedentary. It could be that exercise becomes less a priority or that aching joints become a hindrance. Heart disease and strokes can weaken the body. So, it’s no surprise then one of the fastest growing business sectors is focused on ways to help seniors stave off physical decline. That is why a You Tube video about “Cane Fu Fighting” caught our eye.

Take a look at this! (watch video)

Instead of becoming more sedentary after being told they need a cane, these seniors are getting more fit. Instead of being resigned to a life of becoming increasingly immobile, these seniors are pledging to be more active than ever before. Yes, it is violent. For sure. But, it is both a good form of exercise and a form of self defense. Over the next few years, you can expect to see these courses offered in retirement communities, nursing homes and even on cruise ships.

But, it got me thinking. This is not really about "Cane Fu Fighting"; this is about how our bodies change as they age. Getting most seniors to go to the gym every day may be more of an exercise in futility. So, what else out there works? How do you plan to stay active and healthy as you get older? What do your parents or grandparents do?

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.