If you’re seeking a health professional for rehabilitation from an injury, kinesiology might seem like a rare science or niche therapy. Or if you're doing a degree in kinesiology you might be surprised to see where your career might take you. Either way there’s a good chance there are kinesiologists or folks with a kinesiology background in your neighborhood!
It’s important to understand the locations where kinesiologists work because reaching your health goals will be more challenging without one. With their specialty in human movement and an ability to collaborate with many other health/rehabilitation specialists, kinesiologists are very effective healthcare providers. They specialize in getting your human body moving for injury prevention, exercise and fitness, athletic performance, or just higher quality of life! Whether at your local community centre or in the hospital, kinesiologists are working towards a healthier and more active society.
In this blog post I will describe nine settings where you can find a kinesiologist in your province. I’ll explain the roles kinesiologists play in each location and why they are important.
Whether you're seeking exercise programs for an injury or a bachelor's degree in kinesiology, let’s explore the questions “where do kinesiologists work, and where would I find a kinesiologist near me?”
The Clinical (Private) Setting
- In rehabilitation clinics
A training in kinesiology will allow a therapist to fit right into a clinical setting, usually working alongside a team of rehabilitation therapists like physiotherapists, registered massage therapists, kinesiologists and chiropractors. This is what we call ‘multidisciplinary’ and you can think of it as a one-stop solution to address any health concerns because you can see many disciplines in one location.
If you are working with multiple clinicians for the same health issue, having them all in one place helps your team develop a coherent treatment plan because clinicians will be able to collaborate more freely. Kinesiologists in this environment help clients by facilitating programming alongside physiotherapists, occupational therapists and doctors.
Kinesiologists have a very adaptable skill set. Working alongside physiotherapists for example allows kinesiologists to be more specialized in the prescription of precise rehabilitation exercises.
There are other private studios, like Symmetrix Exercise and Rehab where I work, which are solely kinesiology-based which means there is just one discipline in contrast to multidisciplinary studios. These studios are very specialized in movement therapy. Here kinesiologists can both collaborate with other kins as well as correspond externally with other therapists that you are seeing via email or phone.
In these locations kinesiologists help with the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries, promote healthy living, conduct personal training, and perform ergonomic assessments for the general public.
- In specialized rehabilitation clinics (spinal cord rehabilitation etc)
Private or public clinics that focus on particular neuromuscular rehabilitation are even more specialized. Kinesiologists in this setting are specialists in anatomy and physiology to help clients that may have a specific health condition like a stroke or have spinal cord injury to become more functional in their lives. An example of what can be achieved in this setting is strengthening muscles and facilitating motor learning in the hand to facilitate a client's ability to better able put on a coat or move objects in their home.
In Clinical (public) Setting
- In hospitals
Kinesiologists also work in hospitals to help with active recovery from surgery, physical injuries and other health conditions. Working together with occupational therapists and physiotherapists they help with movement like getting patients walking and standing up. This is very effective for clients who were bed ridden to reduce muscle wasting.
In the Community
- In clients’ homes and community centers
You can find kinesiologists out in the community as well. For elderly clients or those with mobility limitations, some kinesiologists will conduct exercise sessions in the client’s own home with portable exercise equipment and a bit of creativity (e.g.: "Can we use this couch to do push-ups?"). Kinesiologists also work in locations like community centers where they can access the facilities like the pool for aquatic therapy or the gym for cables and cardio machines.
Kinesiologists work in the community as educators by running classes and presentations at schools, workplaces and community centers all about active living and healthy lifestyle choices. This is called Health promotion.
- In a Workspace
Some kinesiologists also specialize in ergonomics (looking at your workplace and making it more efficient and safe) and will come to your workplace/office and assess your work set-up and functional movements. We spend hours of our life at work sitting and doing repetitive tasks. A kinesiologist can help you prevent injury and improve your overall health by teaching efficiency in these settings. An assessment and a report with suggestions to best maximize your space from a kinesiologist will improve comfort and help prevent future injuries.
- At a sports facility
Kinesiologists also work as athletic therapists on the sports field-you might see someone assisting the team during game play with injuries, stretching, and warm-up. Kinesiologists will also program strength and conditioning workouts for the team so athletes can best perform in their chosen sport.
- At a university or college
People with kinesiology degrees work in the academic field to help progress our knowledge relating to biomechanics, human physiology, ergonomics, anatomy, environmental physiology, performance and community health. There is a huge amount of research related to kinesiology generated at colleges and universities by kinesiology students, researchers and professors.
Behind the Scenes
- At Insurance Companies and in the Courts
For every yin, there’s a yang, and for every insurance claim there is an adjustor. For all the kinesiologists working with clients on rehab, there are kinesiologists helping the insurers understand what is and isn’t important to fund for their client’s wellbeing. For example a functional assessment is a critical part of some types of litigation, especially related to motor vehicles accidents. Rehabilitation programs paid by insurance are overseen by adjustors, often with a kinesiology degree.
- In Business
Not all kinesiologists are hands-on and work directly with injured clients. Some kinesiologists wear multiple hats such as clinic manager or owner alongside their designation of registered kinesiologist. Often their knowledge of working with clients helps them best run a client-based business because they know what their employees and clients need.
Some kinesiologists work in marketing by creating content for health and fitness based blogs or websites, or make reels and videos on social media relating to anything rehabilitation. As a content creator myself, I enjoy using my knowledge from being a kinesiologist to help people through a digital medium by writing blogs for the Symmetrix website. Kinesiologists may also be event coordinators helping with the organization of fitness events or expositions in the field.
Next time you see someone doing a guided workout in your local pool or in the recreation center, you can ask: ‘Are you a kinesiologist?’ and there is a good chance they might say yes. Kinesiologists have a broad skill set and work in settings from clinics to hospitals to sports facilities to universities..
Now that you know that kinesiologists are easy to find, there’s nothing stopping you from finding a kinesiologist for your own health journey. Or as a kinesiology student, you will hopefully see a full spectrum of opportunities. If you’d like to find a kinesiologist where you live, read our next blog here.