What is a Kinesiologist?

A kinesiologist specializes in the study of human movement and physical activity. These experts assess and analyze various aspects of movement, including biomechanics, muscular function, and motor control, to enhance overall well-being. Kinesiologists often work in diverse settings such as fitness centers, rehabilitation facilities, and sports training programs, offering personalized guidance to individuals seeking to improve their physical performance, prevent injuries, or recover from musculoskeletal issues.

Kinesiologists promote holistic health by designing exercise programs tailored to individual needs and goals. Whether helping athletes optimize their performance or assisting individuals in managing chronic conditions through targeted physical activity, kinesiologists contribute to the advancement of preventive healthcare. Their expertise extends to areas like exercise physiology, movement analysis, and rehabilitation, making them valuable professionals in the pursuit of healthier, more active lifestyles.

What does a Kinesiologist do?

A kinesiologist working with a client.

Duties and Responsibilities
The duties and responsibilities of a kinesiologist can vary depending on their specific role and the setting in which they work. Here are common responsibilities associated with kinesiologists:

  • Assessment and Evaluation: Conduct assessments of individuals' movement patterns, physical fitness, and overall health to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
  • Developing Exercise Programs: Design personalized exercise programs tailored to individuals' needs, goals, and any existing health conditions. This may include strength training, flexibility exercises, cardiovascular workouts, and other forms of physical activity.
  • Injury Prevention: Provide guidance on proper body mechanics and techniques to prevent injuries during physical activities, sports, or exercise routines.
  • Rehabilitation: Work with individuals recovering from injuries or surgeries, developing rehabilitation programs to restore strength, flexibility, and overall functionality.
  • Health Promotion: Educate clients on the importance of physical activity for overall health and well-being. Promote a healthy and active lifestyle to prevent chronic diseases and enhance quality of life.
  • Biomechanical Analysis: Conduct biomechanical analyses to assess movement patterns and identify any abnormalities or inefficiencies that may contribute to discomfort or injury.
  • Collaboration with Healthcare Professionals: Collaborate with physicians, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals to create comprehensive treatment plans for individuals with specific health conditions or rehabilitation needs.
  • Fitness Testing: Perform fitness assessments, including cardiovascular endurance tests, strength assessments, and flexibility tests, to gauge individuals' fitness levels and track progress.
  • Sports Performance Enhancement: Work with athletes to optimize their performance by designing training programs that focus on sport-specific movements, strength conditioning, and injury prevention.
  • Educational Workshops: Conduct workshops and educational sessions on topics related to exercise, nutrition, and overall wellness.
  • Documentation and Record Keeping: Maintain accurate records of assessments, exercise prescriptions, and client progress to track outcomes and adjust programs as needed.

Types of Kinesiologists
In the field of kinesiology, professionals may specialize in various areas based on their expertise and interests. Here are several types of kinesiologists, each focusing on specific aspects of human movement and physical activity:

  • Clinical Kinesiologist: Clinical kinesiologists work in healthcare settings, often collaborating with medical professionals to design exercise programs for individuals with chronic conditions, injuries, or other health concerns.
  • Sports Kinesiologist: Sports kinesiologists focus on optimizing athletic performance. They may work with individual athletes or sports teams, conducting biomechanical analyses, designing training programs, and implementing injury prevention strategies.
  • Rehabilitation Kinesiologist: Rehabilitation kinesiologists specialize in helping individuals recover from injuries, surgeries, or medical conditions. They develop rehabilitation programs to improve strength, flexibility, and overall functionality.
  • Ergonomics Kinesiologist: Ergonomics kinesiologists study the interaction between individuals and their work environments. They aim to design workplaces that promote efficiency, comfort, and safety, reducing the risk of musculoskeletal issues.
  • Exercise Physiologist: Exercise physiologists focus on the physiological responses of the body to exercise. They design fitness programs, conduct fitness assessments, and provide guidance on improving cardiovascular health, strength, and endurance.
  • Biomechanics Specialist: Biomechanics kinesiologists analyze the mechanics of human movement. They use tools such as motion analysis systems to study joint movements, forces, and body mechanics, providing insights for performance improvement and injury prevention.
  • Occupational Kinesiologist: Occupational kinesiologists address movement-related challenges in occupational settings. They may design workplace wellness programs, assess ergonomic factors, and provide recommendations to improve the overall health of employees.
  • Pediatric Kinesiologist: Pediatric kinesiologists specialize in working with children and adolescents. They may focus on promoting physical activity, motor skill development, and healthy lifestyle habits in young populations.
  • Geriatric Kinesiologist: Geriatric kinesiologists work with older adults, addressing movement issues associated with aging. They design exercise programs to enhance mobility, balance, and overall functional independence in older populations.
  • Cardiopulmonary Kinesiologist: Cardiopulmonary kinesiologists specialize in cardiovascular and respiratory fitness. They design exercise programs for individuals with heart or lung conditions, focusing on improving endurance and overall cardiovascular health.
  • Wellness and Fitness Kinesiologist: Professionals in this category focus on promoting overall wellness and fitness. They may work in fitness centers, providing guidance on exercise routines, nutrition, and lifestyle choices to enhance overall health.

Are you suited to be a kinesiologist?

Kinesiologists have distinct personalities. They tend to be investigative individuals, which means they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive. They are curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical. Some of them are also social, meaning they’re kind, generous, cooperative, patient, caring, helpful, empathetic, tactful, and friendly.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if kinesiologist is one of your top career matches.

Take the free test now Learn more about the career test

What is the workplace of a Kinesiologist like?

Kinesiologists find employment in diverse settings, reflecting the broad scope of their expertise in human movement and physical activity. One common workplace for kinesiologists is within healthcare institutions, where they collaborate with medical professionals in clinical settings. Clinical kinesiologists may work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or private clinics, assisting individuals with chronic conditions, injuries, or post-surgery recovery by designing personalized exercise programs to enhance their overall well-being.

Sports kinesiologists often find their workplace in athletic environments, working with sports teams, professional athletes, or sports organizations. Whether employed by universities, sports clinics, or training facilities, sports kinesiologists focus on optimizing athletic performance through biomechanical analyses, training program design, and injury prevention strategies.

Corporate wellness programs also provide a workplace for kinesiologists, where they contribute to promoting health and fitness among employees. Ergonomics kinesiologists, in particular, may work with companies to improve workplace design, reducing the risk of musculoskeletal issues and promoting overall employee well-being.

Fitness and wellness centers, including gyms and health clubs, are common workplaces for kinesiologists, especially those specializing in exercise physiology and general fitness. In these settings, they guide individuals of varying fitness levels through exercise routines, conduct fitness assessments, and provide recommendations to improve cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility.

Educational institutions, such as universities and colleges, often employ kinesiologists in academic and research roles. These professionals may teach courses related to kinesiology, conduct research to advance the field's knowledge, and mentor students pursuing careers in exercise science.

Additionally, occupational kinesiologists may work within industries, addressing movement-related challenges in occupational settings. This could involve designing workplace wellness programs, assessing ergonomic factors, and providing recommendations to enhance the overall health and productivity of employees.

The workplace of a kinesiologist can also extend to private practice, where they may offer personalized services to clients seeking fitness training, rehabilitation, or sports performance enhancement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Kinesiologist vs Exercise Physiologist

Kinesiologists and exercise physiologists are both professionals within the broader field of exercise science, but they often have distinct focuses and roles. Here's a comparison of kinesiologists and exercise physiologists:


  • Scope of Practice: Kinesiology is a multidisciplinary field that studies the mechanics and movements of the human body. Kinesiologists often have a broader scope that includes the study of physical activity, biomechanics, motor control, exercise physiology, and the impact of movement on overall health and well-being.
  • Settings: Kinesiologists may work in various settings, including healthcare, fitness and wellness centers, sports organizations, and research institutions. Their roles can involve designing exercise programs, assessing movement patterns, and promoting overall health through physical activity.
  • Education: Educational requirements for kinesiologists typically include a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology, Exercise Science, or a related field. Some may pursue advanced degrees or specializations within the field.

Exercise Physiologist

  • Focus on Physiology: Exercise physiologists specifically focus on the physiological responses and adaptations of the body to exercise. They delve into how the cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems react to different types and intensities of physical activity.
  • Clinical Emphasis: Exercise physiologists often work in clinical or healthcare settings. They may be involved in conducting fitness assessments, designing exercise prescriptions for individuals with chronic conditions, and implementing rehabilitation programs.
  • Education and Certification: The entry-level requirement for many exercise physiologists is a Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, or a related field. Some positions, especially in clinical settings, may require a master's degree. Many exercise physiologists pursue certifications such as the Certified Exercise Physiologist (CEP) from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Overlapping Aspects

  • Similar Education: Both kinesiologists and exercise physiologists often start with a similar educational foundation, earning a bachelor's degree in a related field.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Both professionals may collaborate with other healthcare providers, including physicians, physical therapists, and nutritionists, to offer comprehensive care to clients and patients.
  • Individualized Exercise Programs: Whether designing exercise programs for overall health or clinical rehabilitation, both kinesiologists and exercise physiologists tailor their approaches to individual needs and goals.

In summary, while there is overlap between the two roles, kinesiologists tend to have a broader scope that encompasses various aspects of human movement and physical activity, while exercise physiologists specialize in the physiological responses to exercise, often within clinical or healthcare contexts. The specific focus of each professional may influence the settings in which they work and the nature of their responsibilities.

Continue reading