By Published On: September 19, 2017

What is Kinesiology & Why is it important?

Simply, kinesiology is the study of human movement. When you study kinesiology, you learn how human movement affects the body and how exercise can improve the overall human health condition. Kinesiology students gain an understanding of the physiological, biomechanical and psychological mechanisms of human movement and how to apply that knowledge to improve health and wellness.

Kinesiology: Understanding the Science of Human Movement

Kinesiology is a branch of science that studies human movement and the mechanisms behind it. It delves into the anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics of the human body, exploring how it moves, functions, and responds to external stimuli. From athletes to patients with movement disorders, kinesiology can be applied to enhance physical performance, prevent injuries, and treat various health conditions.

The Different Fields of Kinesiology

Kinesiology encompasses different fields, each with its own focus and application. These include:

Exercise Science

This field studies the effects of physical activity on the body, from the cellular level to the systemic level. It examines how exercise impacts various body systems, such as the cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems.

Biomechanics

Biomechanics involves the study of how forces affect the human body and how it adapts to external stimuli. It also examines the interaction between the body and the environment, such as how a runner’s gait is affected by the surface they run on.

Motor Control

This field explores the brain’s role in controlling and coordinating movement. It looks into the neural pathways involved in movement, how they develop, and how they can be disrupted in patients with movement disorders.

Applications of Kinesiology

Kinesiology has several applications, ranging from sports performance to physical therapy. Some of the most notable include:

Athletic Training

Kinesiology plays a critical role in helping athletes optimize their performance and prevent injuries. By assessing an athlete’s biomechanics, trainers can identify areas of weakness and develop training programs that improve their overall performance.

Rehabilitation

Kinesiology is an essential component of physical therapy, helping patients recover from injuries and regain mobility. It involves designing exercises that target specific muscles and joints to improve their range of motion and strength.

Occupational Therapy

Kinesiology can also be applied in occupational therapy to help patients perform daily activities and tasks. By assessing their movement patterns and developing individualized treatment plans, therapists can help patients overcome physical challenges and improve their quality of life.

Why Is Kinesiology Important?

Kinesiology is a field that has several applications in various aspects of life. From sports performance to rehabilitation, kinesiology plays a crucial role in enhancing physical function and improving overall health and well-being. Here are some of the reasons why kinesiology is essential:

Teaching Effective Motor Skills

One of the primary objectives of kinesiology is to prepare physical educators, coaches, and health and physical fitness professionals to teach effective motor skills performance. By understanding the biomechanics of the human body, they can design exercises and activities that enhance physical performance and prevent injuries. Kinesiology also helps these professionals evaluate the effectiveness of exercises and activities on how they affect the human body.

Understanding the Principle of Neuroplasticity

Another important aspect of kinesiology is the principle of neuroplasticity. This principle explains how movement and the brain are related and how exercise can improve brain function as it relates to human movement and motor function. Students of kinesiology learn how increases in exercise can enhance the neural pathways involved in movement, leading to better motor control and coordination.

Improving the Performance of Daily Activities

Kinesiology is not only limited to improving the sports performance of healthy individuals. It also focuses on improving the performance of daily activities in populations that have suffered an impairment of function. For example, kinesiology can be used in occupational therapy to help patients perform activities of daily living. Through therapeutic exercise, kinesiology can improve motor function, health and wellness, and athletic performance.

Enhancing Rehabilitation and Recovery

Kinesiology plays a crucial role in rehabilitation and recovery from injuries or surgeries. By understanding the biomechanics of the human body, kinesiology professionals can design exercises that target specific muscles and joints to improve their range of motion and strength. This approach can help patients recover faster and regain their mobility and function.

Promoting Overall Health and Well-being

Finally, kinesiology promotes overall health and well-being by emphasizing the importance of physical activity in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. By understanding the benefits of exercise and movement, individuals can improve their physical and mental health and prevent chronic diseases.

Kinesiology and Improving the Human Health Condition

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2017-2018.

  • The prevalence of obesity was 42.4% among U.S. adults
  • The prevalence was highest among adults aged 40–59
  • About 1 in 13 adults were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • About 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 were considered to have obesity.

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, joint problems, and gallstones, among other conditions.1 In addition to diabetes and high blood pressure, obesity has a negative effect on cognition and motor behaviors.2

Introducing exercise to these populations will improve their motor function and overall health and wellness. Through the study of kinesiology, you’ll be able to identify the most safe and effective exercises to decrease weight and improve motor function.

Kinesiology and Our Aging Population

The US population is aging. By 2030, more than 20 percent of U.S. residents will be over the age of 65. In 2010, that number was 13 percent.3 An aging population means more age-related health issues.

Aging populations suffer from motor function declines such as balance and gait deficits, coordination deficits, and movement slowing. These declines can be attributed to dysfunctions in the nervous systems as well as the neuromuscular system.4

For students of kinesiology, the growing population of adults over 65 presents increased opportunities to apply what you have learned. A kinesiology degree will prepare you to work with aging populations to positively impact their motor function through therapeutic exercise.

What To Do With a Kinesiology Degree

A degree in Kinesiology is a great start to an in depth knowledge of human movement with a wide variety of career paths. Simply put, Kinesiology is the study of human movement so this degree area is a perfect start to a wide career outlook. Graduates have many opportunities with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology that they can explore. Or they can opt for continuing their education.

With a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, many graduates continue their education in the following career areas:

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a popular career choice for kinesiology graduates. As a physical therapist, you will work with patients who have suffered an injury or illness that has affected their ability to move. You will use your knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics to design exercise and rehabilitation programs that help your patients regain their mobility and strength. Physical therapists can work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, private clinics, and even in sports settings.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is another career path that is closely related to kinesiology. As an occupational therapist, you will work with patients who have suffered an injury or illness that has affected their ability to perform their daily activities. You will use your knowledge of human movement to design exercise and rehabilitation programs that help your patients regain their ability to perform their daily activities. Occupational therapists can work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, and private clinics.

Corporate Wellness Program Administration

Corporate wellness program administration is a career path that is becoming increasingly popular. As a corporate wellness program administrator, you will work with companies to design and implement wellness programs that promote physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices among employees. You will use your knowledge of kinesiology to design exercise programs and to educate employees on the benefits of physical activity.

Prosthetist

Prosthetists are professionals who design and fit prosthetic limbs and other assistive devices for patients who have suffered an amputation or who were born without a limb. As a prosthetist, you will use your knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics to design prosthetic devices that are tailored to the needs of each patient. Prosthetists can work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and private clinics.

Kinesiology Careers

Not only will students be prepared to address the obesity epidemic an