Kinesiology is the study of human movement. Kinesiologists identify and
examine how the human body moves and how it can function better. They can
work in a wide variety of settings -- everywhere from the sidelines at a sports
arena to a research laboratory.
The three main areas of kinesiology are exercise, biomechanics and psychomotor
behavior. Exercise kinesiologists are interested in how the human body
moves in sports, dance and recreation. They may assess the cardiovascular
and cardiopulmonary abilities of an athlete, challenge an athlete's heart
rate or monitor the amount of oxygen used in exercise.
With the data, the kinesiologist develops an exercise program that will
challenge the person to improve their cardiovascular strength. This type of
kinesiology can benefit athletes and people who need to improve their fitness
level -- a person who has had a heart attack may need to strengthen their
heart in order to avoid a future attack.
Biomechanic kinesiologists treat patients who have chronic diseases
or physical disabilities that inhibit their movement. They can help a person
walk more efficiently by using computer programs to show how the person's
walk deviates from a normal gait.
Once a kinesiologist has figured out what functions are limited, they can
work with a physiotherapist to set up programs to develop function, prevent
further deterioration of motor skills and compensate for the loss of motor
skills. They also communicate their findings to orthopedic surgeons who may
operate to correct the problem.
Then there are psychomotor behavior experts. These people diagnose
problems with perception, reaction times and motor learning skills. These
cases include people with cerebral palsy, autism, neurological impairments
and those who are developmentally delayed.
In order to assess a patient's ability, the kinesiologist will interview
the patient and their family. They will also go over the patient's medical
records to assess the problem. During therapy, the kinesiologist monitors
the treatment and its effectiveness.
Kinesiologists work in both the private and public health-care sectors.
They can also be found doing research at universities.
"The health services field in general is increasing," says kinesiologist
Betty Bax. While many kinesiologists tend to find work after completing a
bachelor's program, Bax notes that many others return to university to receive
more schooling. "This isn't necessarily a negative for the program, but [it]
does reflect on the problem of recognition within the medical community."
Because new techniques and computer technology are having a big impact
on the health-care system, it's advised that kinesiologists have some knowledge
of computers. "All our students develop good computer skills," says kinesiologist