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Kinesiology: Interrelationships, Subdisciplines & Application

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

In this lesson, we discuss many of the subdisciplines of kinesiology, including the inherent interrelationships between them and the important application of them to benefit students.

Kinesiology and Human Movement

Did you know that many scientists, including Aristotle and Da Vinci, have studied the physical movements of the human body, with the main goal of rehabilitating it? This ultimately allowed physicians and therapists to apply the interrelated principles of kinesiology and its many subdisciplines to healing.

Kinesiology can be defined as the relation between human movement and the principles of anatomy and body mechanics, or biomechanics.

Subdisciplines are related fields that each touch upon a specific aspect of kinesiology. By studying these fields, many of which are closely related in their content or execution, we can transfer this knowledge to students to improve their skills.

Interrelations and Applications


  • Adapted physical activity: This field involves the assisting of persons with disabilities. For example, when playing dodgeball, visually impaired students can use a larger, bright orange-colored ball. A mentally handicapped student can roll a dodgeball at first, before attempting to throw or catch it.

  • Teaching physical education is a subset of sports coaching.
    • Physical education pedagogy: This refers to the various methodologies used to teach gym classes. For instance, student-centered learning involves a form of cooperative learning in which students teach each other skills while the coach observes.
    • Sport pedagogy: This closely related concept involves the basic methodologies, including coaching and teaching, of sports. For example, one football coach may tell his players what to do (autocratic style), while another may share information with his players (democratic style).

  • The cardiovascular and muscular systems are directly impacted by movement.
    • Exercise physiology: This field involves the study of physical exercise, along with the adaptations and responses of the body. For instance, high school, cross country runners can be tested using machines and respirators to discover their anaerobic thresholds, aerobic capacities, and running economy.
    • Sport biomechanics: This related field entails a general study of the application of movement and forces in sports. For example, a gymnast can study video footage to see how to twist in the air more precisely during her vault.

  • These fields involve motor skills for all students, including those with disabilities.
    • Motor development disabled: The term dyspraxia refers to a disorder involving coordination and development. Perceptual motor training exercises can be undertaken. For instance, squeezing putty can build hand muscles, doing jigsaw puzzles can enhance fine motor and perception skills, and tossing and catching bean bags can refine hand-eye coordination.
    • Motor learning: This related field involves acquiring a new body skill through changes in the brain. For example, this includes fine motor skills, such as writing, and gross motor skills, such as jumping.

  • These fields address interventions and treatment due to injury.
    • Physical therapy: This is the treatment of injury with exercise as opposed to medicine and surgery. For instance, if a middle school basketball star injures her ankle with three months to go until the playoffs, she can attend physical therapy sessions several times per week upon the referral from her doctor. She can do exercises which reduce pain, increase range of movement in the ankle area, and strengthen the ankle. This may even prevent the ankle from being injured again and from suffering lifetime damage.
    • Sports medicine: This related field of study concerns the treatment of sports injuries, often by doctors. For example, if a high school football player receives a large strike to the helmet area and suffers a concussion, he might not be allowed to play or practice until he sees a doctor. He can be evaluated using a variety of sophisticated techniques. His balance and coordination can be checked, along with his memory abilities and vision. The physician can then supply rehabilitation, pain management, sleep management, concussion education materials, and, in some cases, medicine.

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