Dear Sports Medicine Counsel,
My daughter sees a kinesiologist to help rehabilitate her twisted ankle. She said things are going great and recommended that I see one, too. I have recently retired, and I think my daughter is worried about me becoming physically inactive and frail. The thing is, I have never heard of a kinesiologist before – who are they and what can they do for me?
Kenneth C. Aulogy
Dear Mr. Aulogy,
Thank you for your question and the opportunity to talk about this growing health care profession. The reason you have may not have heard of a kinesiologist before is because it is a relatively new occupation. Kinesiology only became a regulated health profession in the province of Ontario in 2013. The study of kinesiology is the science of human movement with a broad range of disciplines, including biomechanics, physiology, and sports medicine. A kinesiologist uses the latest evidence-based research from these disciplines to prevent and manage disease, injury, and disability, as well as using physical activity to improve quality of life and optimize performance. While you haven’t heard of a kinesiologist, you’ve likely seen them working in a fitness centre or a clinic. It may come as a surprise to learn what a kinesiologist can do for you.
The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care,” illustrates the role of a kinesiologist. Within the profession, exercise is used as medicine to prevent individuals from encountering chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In fact, exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of over 25 health conditions. Part of a kinesiologist’s job is to collaborate with you and other healthcare professionals to identify your specific care needs and develop a patient-centred care plan. In this manner, a kinesiologist would develop a personalized exercise program that best suits your unique needs.
Frailty, another issue you mentioned, is a condition that is easily identified but not often discussed. This condition occurs as the result of the natural decline of the body with age; frailty is defined as loss of muscular strength, self-imposed isolation, reduced motivation, and lack of safe judgment. While aging is typically viewed as a natural process, factors such as physical inactivity, smoking, and poor diet can cause this process to accelerate. A kinesiologist will work with you to regularly challenge your body’s function, muscular strength, and stamina, ensuring you perform your best at any age. By providing a variety of services that can help you live a healthier life, rehabilitate an injury, or age successfully, a kinesiologist is there to improve your quality of life. For more information or to find a kinesiologist near you visit the Ontario kinesiologist association’s website at www.oka.on.ca.
Sports Medicine Counsel