Kinesiology and physical education to prevent injury and illness: 2018 Scholarship Shortlist (AB)

Taylor Hanson

Medicine Hat College – Bachelor of Kinesiology and Physical Education – 2022

Whether someone is a professional athlete or a recreational athlete, a homebody or a weekend warrior, kinesiology can help. Whether it is to help an individual’s performance in sports or in life, kinesiology will help prevent injury and illness so everyone can benefit from a good quality of life. Many people as they get older do not get to enjoy the quality of life that comes with having a healthy body. In their younger years, they do not understand or take advantage of kinesiology and maintain good health throughout their life. Kinesiology is simply defined as, “The science of human movement.” It is the study of physical activity and its impact on health and quality of life. Kinesiologists are experts on how a person’s body functions and how it manages an injury. Kinesiology focuses on preventative healthcare. Kinesiologists use movement to prevent injuries and help reduce the risks of individuals obtaining chronic diseases. They use different techniques to reduce stress that could lead to health issues. Kinesiologists are here to ensure that people are maintaining a healthy, injury-free lifestyle.

Over the past decade, many people have begun to see the positives of kinesiology. One positive is that kinesiology is able to help with certain symptoms of chronic diseases. The Public Health Agency of Canada has found that “Physical education has shown to reduce the risk of over 25 chronic diseases.” This includes heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes and musculoskeletal disorders. Kinesiology is also able to help individuals with mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and stress. Just like the mind talks to the body, the body talks to the mind. When there is an imbalance in the mind it often shows on the body. Kinesiologists use muscle monitoring, which is used as a direct communication to an individual’s subconscious. It helps kinesiologists discover underlining stress in a person’s body.

Stress causes strain on muscles, especially the upper back and shoulders. If an individual deals with stress for a long period of time it most likely will lead to illness. Stress causes the nervous system to release hormones that trigger the production of white blood cells. Over a long period of time this causes the immune system to be less effective in fighting and stopping diseases. Many people “put band-aids on” and get a relaxing massage or go for a walk to clear their head, but stress that causes physical pain cannot be massaged or walked. To prevent long-term stress leading to illness, kinesiologists use stress release techniques. One of those techniques include lightly touching ones forehead on both sides to bring blood from the back of the head to the front.

Often times kinesiologists play a huge role in an athlete’s success. When athletes, recreational or professional get injured, kinesiologists are there to treat their injuries effectively and efficiently. Even without injuries, they are there to make sure the athlete is working in a way where there is no risk to a future injury. Many athletes warm up
with exercises recommended by a physical therapist or kinesiologist. These exercises get their muscles in the condition they need to be in order to work effectively without risk of injury. A huge asset for athletes has been Kinesiology Tape. Dr. Kenzo Kase first developed this taping method when he realized he needed something for his clients to use in-between appointments to increase efficiency and create lasting results. Kinesiology tape stabilizes the injured area to prevent further damage from happening while the body is healing. Athletes can wear the tape while at home and can continue to compete while wearing the tape.

Kinesiologists do not just ensure that athletes are at their healthiest, they work with everyone to make sure that they are at their best. They create workout regimes that individuals can work on at their pace and research ways to better improve their practice to benefit their clients. Regular appointments with a kinesiologist will help people develop knowledge on how to take care of their body. People will be able to identify how to change certain behaviours to benefit their health like sleep, diet, and exercise. Kinesiologists use certain programs to rehab injuries. Massage therapy, recommended by kinesiologists, eases strained muscles and helps with fatigue in the body. Flexibility programs increase range of motion to reduce the risk of injury. Aerobic and anaerobic exercises can improve endurance and strengthen muscles. A weak muscle may displace other muscles in the body, as they have to work harder to make up for the weakened muscle. This ultimately leads to joint pain and a feeling of discomfort as bones are being supported by weakened muscles. Kinesiologists work to prevent people having to deal aches and pains that may require a visit to the hospital.

Kinesiology bases its work around preventative healthcare. It prevents injuries through simple exercises, taping, and workouts. If an individual’s body is not healthy physically or emotionally, it may lead to illness. Kinesiologists work to ensure that there is no risk of individuals dealing with chronic diseases such as heart disease or strokes. Kinesiology is a hands-on, medication-free treatment that gives people the ability to move freely without pain.