Kinesiologist  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotKinesiology 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.

dotThe 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.

dotBiomechanic 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.

dotThen 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.

dotIn 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.

dotKinesiologists 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."

dotBecause 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 Rick Roach.

At a Glance

Examine how the human body moves and how it can function better

  • A knowledge of computers is required
  • There are three main areas in kinesiology
  • You'll need a science degree or an applied science degree