If you’ve been hanging out in one of our Physiotherapy and Performance clinics, you have probably heard of our Kinesiologists.

“kin-e-z -what?”


Allow me to tell you a little bit about what a kinesiologist does, how they can help improve your health and wellbeing, the benefits you can expect to see from working with one, as well as what to expect from your first visit. The definition of a kinesiologist directly translates to “the study of the mechanics of body movement”.

Now, there’s a lot of science that goes into human movement that kinesiologists study. We’re talking exercise physiology, biomechanics, anatomy, exercise psychology, exercise sociology, motor learning and sport pedagogy. All of these are major topics that are covered in a 4-year bachelor of science in kinesiology program at a post-secondary institution.

This makes for a kinesiologist to have a very well-rounded knowledge base of movement in all walks of life. Whether it be training to rehabilitate an injury, or trying to win a championship. Kinesiologists can work in many settings: physio clinics, hospitals, gyms and laboratories.

What is Kinesiology?

Kinesiology, a term that might be new to you, is essentially the scientific study of human movement. Think of it as a multifaceted discipline that looks at how your muscles, bones, and nerves work together to produce movement. It’s not just about the gross movements you can see, like walking or jumping, but also the intricate internal processes that make those actions possible.

One facet of kinesiology focuses on the anatomical aspects. This involves understanding all the parts that make up your muscular and skeletal systems. The physiological component, on the other hand, is about the chemical and cellular processes driving your muscles’ movement. It gets even more intricate when looking at the neurological factors, which cover how your nervous system, including your brain, communicates with your muscles to initiate movement.

what do kinesiologists do?

In a physiotherapy clinic, kinesiologists aim to reduce the healing time of injuries and increase physical performance, enabling the person to be able to do the things they want and need to be doing in their lives and to be more resilient to injuries in the future.

Kinesiologists accomplish this by working with patients in the gym and guiding them through a personalized strength training program. Exercises are tailored to the patients’ needs and are gradually progressed in order to improve strength, resilience, cardiovascular health, flexibility, movement competence and posture.

Kinesiologist vs. Physiotherapist

When you’re looking into rehabilitation and therapy careers, understanding the differences between a kinesiologist and a physiotherapist can be crucial in deciding your path.

A kinesiologist specializes primarily in human movement. They use exercise and movement therapy to aid in rehabilitation and enhance performance. Your journey with a kinesiologist would involve a focus on preventive measures and optimizing your physical capabilities through various tailored exercises.

On the other side, physiotherapists are healthcare professionals who concentrate on diagnosing, managing, and treating injuries and disabilities. With a physiotherapist, you’ll experience a broad scope of treatment techniques including manual therapy, therapeutic exercises and the use of modalities like heat or ultrasound therapy to improve movement and manage pain.

Here’s a brief comparison to help clarify:

FocusExercise and movement therapyRehabilitation and injury treatment
EducationTypically requires a degree in kinesiologyRequires a degree in physiotherapy
Treatment TechniquesTailored exercises, preventive wellnessManual therapies, specialized exercises, modalities

Remember, both professions aim to improve your quality of life through physical care, but they do so with different tools and approaches.

When should you see a kinesiologist?

When contemplating a visit to a kinesiologist, consider your need for expert guidance in movement and exercise science. If you’re dealing with chronic pain, recovering from an injury, looking to enhance your athletic performance, or seeking to improve general health and well-being, a kinesiologist could be hugely beneficial.

  • Injury Recovery: Have you recently suffered an injury? A kinesiologist can develop a rehabilitation program to expedite your recovery and prevent future injuries.
  • Chronic Pain Management: If you’re experiencing persistent pain, a kinesiologist will assess your movement patterns and suggest corrective exercises.
  • Improving Athletic Performance: Whether you’re a casual jogger or a competitive athlete, individualized training regimens from a kinesiologist can help improve your performance.
  • Preventive Care: Learn proper techniques and exercises to maintain your health and prevent potential injuries.
  • Lifestyle Modification: If you’re aiming for a healthier lifestyle or a specific fitness goal, a kinesiologist can create a tailored plan to guide your efforts.

Consulting a kinesiologist when facing these situations is proactive. Remember, you don’t need to wait until a problem arises; kinesiologists are also skilled in preventive care.

What should you expect from your first appointment with a kinesiologist?

Your appointment would involve first sitting down with the kinesiologist to discuss what chief complaints and goals you have, as well as any relevant medical history, what has or has not worked in the past, etc. The kinesiologist would then use a variety of movements in the gym to functionally assess your current physical capabilities that relate to your needs. From this assessment, the kinesiologist is able to create a personalized plan to guide and progress you through on subsequent visits.

Kinesiologists are very diverse and effective at helping people recover from an injury, all the way to someone trying to improve their sport performance and athleticism.

Our Kinesiology Treatment Model

At Parkway, kinesiology is used as part of the “Team Treatment Model”.

But really what that means is “supervised strength and conditioning billed as physiotherapy.” So you can see why we opted for a catchier name…

There are multiple benefits of this treatment model for you, the patient. First, your extended health benefits can cover your kinesiology and personal fitness training. Second, you get access to the right clinician and treatment modality at the right time, wherever you are in your recovery or fitness level.

Think this is something that would benefit you? Book an appointment with one of our Kinesiologists at one of our locations to see how we can help you!

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