I get this question a lot.  I want to go over that and give you the nuances of the subject matter.

The definition of kinesiology by the British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists is as follows: The practice of kinesiology is the assessment of movement, performance, and function, and the rehabilitation, prevention, and management of disorders to maintain, rehabilitate, or to enhance movement, performance, and function in the areas of sport, recreation, work, exercise, health management, and activities of daily living

So you can see that’s pretty broad. In college, they’ll tell you it’s: The study of human movement. Good. But a little simple and broad.

My best definition is: Kinesiology is the science and precision application of exercise, nutrition, and environmental demands on the adaptation of human anatomy and physiology to enhance athletic performance, health, wellbeing, and activities of daily living. 

So that’s what the definitions of kinesiology are. 

Fitness is a related topic. So what does it mean to enhance fitness? Well, what is fitness? 

One definition is: The quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task. If you’re going to apply for a job, that definition works. But that doesn’t necessarily have to do with physical fitness. 

In kinesiology, we’re looking at physical fitness from a physiological perspective. The second definition I have is: An organism’s ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment. 

I really like that on as it brings in the environmental factor. And so it makes it a little bit more domain specific. 

My personal feeling is that it’s: a physical: strength, competence, and/or ability. As we’re focusing on the physical domain, it is the strength, competence, and ability in the physical domain to which we are demanded on….in any domain….whether it be at a job or whether it be fixing your car, business development or any category of task. 

In the physical domain, what are kind of subdomains are we dealing with? Well, what we have is we have and so those of you who are not watching this or are listening to it, I want you to visualize a Venn diagram of five different areas and they have like nice, pretty little colors here, orange, blue, and red. And so our first domain in orange is mechanical or structural. Our second domain in blue is nutrition. Third in red is metabolic. Another one in green psychological or basic. And the last domain in yellow is applied or energetic. 

The mechanical domain. This is my domain. This is related to biomechanics or the science of physical movement in space and applies to the forces within the environment to or from the body and to and from the environment. This includes gross strength. If you put a picture in your head, you’d probably see a weight lifter. But it also pertains to the range of motion and flexibility of the person, the ability to stabilize, the ability to create gross movement against an increased physical force, That could be a pitcher in a baseball game. 

It also applies to athleticism, quickness, footwork, hand-eye coordination, balance, all that work that’s done more almost by the neurological system to connect with the muscular system rather than simply,  thinking of big muscles and what they can do. 

Musculoskeletal pain care is also in this category. The professionals in this are the physical therapist, the chiropractor, sports kinesiologist, the strength coach, those types of things. 

The second, our second little red circle, is the metabolic domain. That is describing the body’s ability to process chemicals and create energy for mechanical tasks. And so this is typically just referred to as your cardiovascular or cardiovascular respiratory domain….because we don’t usually get any cardiovascular work without the respiratory system kicking in as well. Right? 

As well, this is very related to overall inflammation, hormonal health, and internal health as well. So, this is the ability to use that cardiovascular and respiratory system in order to produce the chemical reactions needed to create fuel so that you can perform in a particular task. Usually that’s referring to a repetitive motion type task. Running, biking, swimming are great examples. But really all activities uses a metabolic component. 

The professional domain here is the exercise physiologist.

Our next blue circle is Nutrition. Our nutritional domain is a study of the nutrients and chemicals that come into the body and then how they affect the body for use in certain tasks. Rather than being like the metabolic domain, where it’s how we process the chemicals for energy, this is what sources can provide those nutrients and chemicals.

This includes fats and the carbohydrates and the proteins. But as well as we might look at drug and chemical reactions or pollutants or things like that as well. So what comes into our body in terms of the environment that might be related to things that are used on our food, how our food is actually created, things of that nature. 

The 7:14 professional domain of this is the nutritionist or the dietician. 

Next is our psychological and or behavioral kinesiology domain. We have two major studies in this if we look at the study of kinesiology and these two major subject matters. These are: sports psychology and exercise psychology. Sports psychology is how people work as a team to produce success. Or even how somebody works on their own, what kind of behaviors produce success for that person. Whether that be for health or whether that be for activities of daily living or whether that be for performing on a team.

Then we have exercise psychology. Exercise psychology is the study of how neurotransmitters are affected by certain activity. Whether that be by heavy weightlifting or whether that be by performing cardiovascular activity. 

You’ve heard people say, “Oh, I want to get that that endorphin kick from running”…. stuff like that. This is the study of how neurotransmitters are affected by certain activity. The professional that might be involved in this is a sports or exercise psychologist or really honestly when it comes to behavior, any coach is going to have to study this. 

Then we have our last category, which is called applied kinesiology. Applied kinesiology is especially related to the acupuncture, the immune system and the magnetic electrical channels applied to human movement. 

The professional will perform muscle testing in order to assess what’s happening with the body. I personally go to an applied kinesiologist. Some of the people out there might think it is kind of fufu. I actually find that there’s a pretty good iterative outcome from it. Although, you know, like I said, there are some people who sort of poo poo it. But that’s what people used to do with chiropractic, which is actually where applied kinesiology began. They did that with acupuncture as well. 

The professional who does this is going to have a certification and specialized study in this. 

So that’s kinesiology in a few hundred words.


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What is Kinesiology?

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