A kinesiologist is someone who specializes in the study of human movement. The field of kinesiology is sometimes known as biomechanics, referencing the idea that it has a heavy focus on looking at the mechanical aspects of human movement, such as the musculoskeletal system and the way in which it works. This field views the body as an interconnected system, and examines the ways in which people move to see how people injure themselves, develop strong bodies, and engage in dance, play, and other types of movement.
People in this field can apply their training in a number of ways. Some kinesiologists work on designing environments and furniture which are meant to work with the human body to promote healthy movement. A kinesiologist might consult on the design of a workplace, workout equipment, or furniture to create a design which will not injure people, for example. Kinesiologists can also work with physical therapists and rehabilitation specialists to help people recover from physical trauma and surgery, using their training in human movement to develop an exercise program and to help the patient retrain his or her body to cope with an injury.
Helping people learn to move properly is an important part of this field. A kinesiologist can show someone various ways to work with the body, rather than against it, and to use the body as a tool to support various tasks. Kinesiologists demonstrate proper stretching and bending, good practice for heavy lifting, and other types of movements for their clients so that they can reduce the risk of injury and strain.
Some kinesiologists work in a field known as applied kinesiology, which involves the application of human kinetics to various medical conditions. This field of alternative medicine is viewed with skepticism by some people, and it combines chiropracty, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and several other fields of alternative medicine. According to people who practice applied kinesiology, many systemic problems can be addressed by making adjustments to the body and retraining people to move safely and properly. This field may also be applied to disease prevention.
In order to become a kinesiologist, someone must obtain a four year degree in human kinetics. The degree includes training in anatomy and physiology, with a focus on looking at how the musculoskeletal system works. Pay scales in this field vary, depending on the type of specialty someone chooses; physical therapy and rehabilitation, for example, tends to pay better than working as a kinesiologist in a public health initiative which is designed to reduce the risk of injury in a community.