A study of physical activity boosts mental health in homeless women

  • Faulcon said

FILE PHOTO: Hilda Sierra-Marrero is homeless in Lancaster.  She has been diagnosed with multiple mental health disorders and finds it easier to live on her own

Keira McGuire / Transforming Health

FILE PHOTO: Hilda Sierra-Marrero is homeless in Lancaster. She has been diagnosed with multiple mental health disorders and finds it easier to live in her own “bubble”.

Issue date: August 19, 2022

When you think of homeless women, most don’t think about their physical health, but a new exploratory study, from a University of Harrisburg professor, digs deeper and finds that increased physical activity led to a significant decrease in the number of mentally unhealthy days than homeless participants. experienced after the intervention.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, being active releases feel-good chemicals in your brain, boosting your self-esteem and helping you focus, sleep well, and feel better.

Tonya Miller, associate professor of physical therapy at the University of Harrisburg, who conducted the study, worked with University of Harrisburg students and local shelters to educate homeless women about their physical activity and, in turn, change your mindset to achieve an overall sense of well-being.

“Working with people to improve their mental and physical health, I think plays a big role in having the motivation to look and then find the next step and be able to focus on your life goals,” Miller said.

The ongoing study, so far, has twenty-seven women who have participated and completed the program. The women who participated are over 18 years old.

The study’s test is called healthy days, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which shows how many healthy days you’ve had in the past month. As part of the study, participants take surveys, perform two-minute walk tests and other physical activities.

Miller said she could tell the women who participated were excited, empowered and in better spirits because of the study.

He also said he would expand this study to include men to extend the scope of its impact.

“I hope that they (study participants) get empowered, that they understand that they’re already doing great things in their lives and that they can have control over what’s going on in their lives and how that can turn into other things “, Miller. said

For more information about this program, email [email protected] or call 717-901-7969 ext. 1630


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