International Journal of Exercise Science 11(4): 968-979, 2018. Proper musculoskeletal health is dependent on the efficient inner workings of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and bones. The homeless experience can be physically debilitating to these tissues and anatomical structures. This feasibility study aims to explore how to answer the overarching question: do the lived experiences of homeless young adults negatively affect their musculoskeletal health? Questionnaires were distributed to assess the demographic characteristics, physical activity, health behaviors, and sleep patterns of 40 homeless young adults and 45 university students in Los Angeles County. Participants also completed supervised stretch tests to assess musculoskeletal flexibility. Findings indicate that homeless young adults were less flexible in all four stretch assessments compared to university students. Noteworthy differences were noted with the sit and reach (p=0.050), butterfly (p=0.036), right shoulder (p=0.005), and left trunk twist tests (p=0.041). Analyses of physical activity levels and sleep location within the homeless subgroup suggest a deleterious impact on flexibility. Flexibility assessments are a low cost and sensitive method for measuring degree of musculoskeletal dysfunction of homeless young adults. Preliminary data suggests that the musculoskeletal health of this subgroup is adversely affected by their lived experience. Health services such as yoga or Pilates, in addition to existing case management and mental health services at homeless drop-in centers, may reduce the likelihood of long-term physical disability.
Marmolejo, Marina A.; Medhanie, Makda; and Tarleton, Heather
"Musculoskeletal Flexibility and Quality of Life: A Feasibility Study of Homeless Young Adults in Los Angeles County,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 11
4, Pages 968 - 979.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol11/iss4/18