What’s in a name? Defining Kinesiology
As a kinesiologist I get asked countless times a day about kinesiology. What is it? What can you do? Where can you work? Although these seem like simple questions they can be difficult to answer when the profession is as broad as it is. Kinesiology is often defined as the study of human movement therefore kinesiologists are experts in human movement focusing primarily on prevention, performance and management of the human body. This means that we as kinesiologists can work in a variety of different settings including rehabilitation, sports performance, and preventative healthcare to name a few. It’s a pretty broad description that really only scratches the surface of the profession and all that it has to offer for your health and fitness needs.
Up until April 2013 kinesiology hasn’t had much attention from those outside the kinesiology bubble. If you were going into kinesiology it was assumed you were either going to become a gym teacher or a personal trainer. Graduates are now finding that this is not the case.
So what’s changed since 2013? Kinesiology is now a regulated healthcare profession included in the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) joining other professions such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, etc. Regulation of the profession has been a huge step in validating the importance of kinesiology in healthcare; however there are still many people out there who remain unaware of kinesiology and the role it can play in their health.
You can imagine the RHPA is a team roster; you need strong players in different positions in order to have a successful team. Now imagine the goal of this team is optimal health. It would be ridiculous to have a team of all dentists or all chiropractors because as a result you would ignore important aspects of your health. Your family doctor might be the captain of your health team but it would be impossible for one person alone to carry the entire responsibility of your health. Instead your team should consist of many different players, each with their own set of knowledge and expertise in order to be successful. You may have an optometrist for your vision, a dentist for your oral health, and a cardiologist for your heart, so why not have a kinesiologist for your physical fitness and wellbeing? The research on the importance of physical activity is overwhelming yet many of us do not exercise regularly. There are many reasons why you might not exercise, Kinesiologists acknowledge these factors and help you find a way to overcome them. So whether you’ve just suffered from a heart attack and want to change your lifestyle or you have a family history of diabetes and want to avoid going down the same road, look no further because kinesiology can help you. Kinesiologists can play both reactive and proactive roles in your health through education, counseling and exercise prescription.
Under the RHPA only a professional registered with the College of Kinesiologists of Ontario can call themselves a kinesiologist (R.Kin). Because so many kinesiologists work in a fitness setting we are often mistaken for personal trainers, however training is just one of the many services we can provide. You should also be wary of those who claim to be kinesiologists, remember only a R.Kin can truly say they have met all the standards put worth in order to protect the public’s interest and safety. So unlike the well-known quote; a rose by any other name would not smell as sweet (sorry Shakespeare). There are many fitness professionals out there but no other healthcare professional is better educated and equipped to manage this area of your health than a kinesiologist. If you are unsure of a service provider you can always find a R.Kin near you on the CKO website. Or check out www.trainsmartwellness.ca for more information on Kinesiology and what it can offer you.