Walking for health
A ‘walking for health’ for homeless and vulnerably housed populations was set up as a six month research project in 2017.
Our walking group was run out of a local homeless support centre in Cardiff. The project aimed to improve health and well being in this population.
The number of rough sleepers in Cardiff was estimated at 74 (2017).
The original walking group included 13 individuals, which has more recently increased to 15.
Our BSc Physiotherapy students are being trained as walk leaders (n=14) by Let’s Walk Cymru enabling them the opportunity to engage with underserved populations as part of their education and ensuring the longevity and sustainability of the walking group.
The group was featured in December 2018 in Frontline magazine as part of a piece on physiotherapy and homelessness.
Evaluation of the project engaged 13 service users who reported:
- "A sense of improved inter-personal relationships and community."
- "The group was often the only opportunity to have a meaningful conversation one-to-one with people in my daily live."
- "The walking group has helped to improve my mood and take my mind off things"
- "The walks give me an incentive to go out"
- "I like that the walks are sociable and there are people to talk to"
- "It was great to be able to have a one-to-one conversation with someone in depth, whilst enjoying the natural surroundings, rather than just walking to get from A to B"
The initial data analysis of this research indicates that outcome measures aimed at evaluating ‘mental health’ were improved for those who engaged with the group.