Kinesiology

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Major in Kinesiology

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“Work gives us the opportunity to use our endowed talents to showcase God’s love for the world.” ~Christos Makridis

Whether in work, play, exercise or recreation, physical activity is an integral part of our daily lives. Kinesiology is the study of the movement and mechanics of the human body. It is part art, part science. A degree in kinesiology is foundational and may lead to employment in a rehab department, fitness or rec center, hospital or primary care facility, just to name a few. It is a good major for someone with a passion for exercise and health.

In addition to this desire to promote active lifestyles and wellness, a kinesiology major should possess certain traits such as good communication and interpersonal skills. These are necessary when working as a team player amongst diverse populations. It is important to be able to listen well, ask clarifying questions and respond clearly. It also helps to be a strong writer as kinesiology requires understanding and synthesizing plenty of research and scientific information. It’s to your advantage to be attentive to detail and possess keen critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This is especially beneficial when it comes to assessing injury and creating effective fitness programs for rehabilitation or the prevention of further injury.

As a kinesiology major you can expect to take a plethora of science classes including biology, anatomy and physiology. A kinesiology student will focus on three major topics: motor control, exercise physiology and biomechanics. Many of your courses will relate to these core areas. Some examples of classes you might take include:

  • Biochemistry of Exercise and Energy
  • Motor Learning and Development
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise Psychology

Some kinesiology majors go on for further education and pursue careers in physical therapy, occupational therapy, orthopedics, education and research, athletic training or other forms of medicine. However, kinesiology is not only a “stepping stone” major. Some popular career outcomes for those with a kinesiology degree are:

  • Exercise physiologists. These professionals work with a team of trained medical personnel to create rehabilitation exercise plans for those with chronic illness or injury.
  • Kinesiologist. Often associated with natural medicine, these trained specialists work to prevent and manage physical disorders or injuries that impede body function or movement.
  • Cardiac rehab therapists work specifically with patients who have heart disease or are recovering from heart surgery. They labor, from a variety of angles, to improve heart function and speed recovery.
  • Personal trainers obtain specialized certification that qualifies them to guide clients into individualized exercise programs designed to help them meet their unique health goals.
  • Choreographer. Often tapping into a more artistic side, these individuals design and implement exercise or dance routines for clubs or in the production of exercise videos.
  • Recreational therapists work with aging individuals or those with physical disabilities and employ arts, crafts, dance, sports, music and community outings to encourage overall well-being and healing.
  • Coach/Intramural sports program managers work in schools or city rec centers to provide sports instruction or to oversee a wide range of recreational programming.
  • Nutritionist. Working in a wide range of settings, these experts advise clients on healthy eating in order to assist them in achieving their wellness and fitness goals.

There’s no end to the career possibilities on your horizon when it comes to a kinesiology degree. If you enjoy physical fitness and desire to lead others to new heights of healthy living, then perhaps God is leading you to major in kinesiology!

A future in Kinesiology

By Amber Bailey

Holistic health is all the rage recently, but it is not at all a new study, practice or goal. The study of kinesiology focuses on the mechanics and anatomy of muscular activity in relation to human movement. The word is derived from the Greek word "kinesis" which means "movement". It was a method originally used by physiotherapists to do what is commonly known as "muscle testing" where different techniques are used to test a person's range of movement and muscle tone. This is only the tip of the iceberg for today's kinesiology majors.

This is typically a major offered as only a small facet, or part of, a much larger degree program within physical therapy, sports medicine or a similar subject. It is a stepping stone, of sorts, into a graduate program like occupational or physical therapies. There are also a handful of schools that offer a 4-year degree that concentrates specifically on kinesiology.

Course work includes study in classes such as, but not limited to, assessing sports injuries, biomechanics, fitness testing, exercise physiology, human anatomy, motor behavior and learning, motor development and coordination, nutrition and sports physiology. Most programs will also require hands on learning through an internship at a local fitness facility, health clinic or rehabilitation center. These would typically last a semester and count towards your credit hours. You will not only learn about the physical body but also the psychology and social aspects of wellness.

These courses are designed to prepare you for a career in any setting that includes the physical activity of people. You will leave school prepared for a career in a hybrid health and medical specialty practice, any part of the fitness and wellness industries, perhaps a health and physical education teacher at a high school or college and/or prepare for graduate school. You can become a key member of the health care team for a professional sports program or sports medicine clinic. Kinesiologists also do things like designing exercise programs for people with disabilities and work with patients recovering from an accident or surgery.

Kinesiology is very much a helping and service based profession. You must have an interest in helping others achieve their fitness and wellness goals. As its foundation is in the sciences, you must also have an interest in basic biology, psychology and sociology. Having a personality that is caring and compassionate will go a long way. And, as with any career working in close proximity to others, stellar communication skills are a must.

It was once said, "Most people have no idea how good their body was designed to feel." Majoring in kinesiology will help you gain the knowledge and skills necessary to help people realize the potential of their God given physical forms and live up to their true potential. As Christians, we should understand more fully just how intricately God made us in both physical and spiritual form. If the spiritual body is unhealthy, the physical body often manifests symptoms and ailments. You could be helping people create a balance in both as your future career.

"It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body."
- I Corinthians 15:44 NKJV