Kinesiology refers to the study of movement. In American higher education, the term is used to describe a multifaceted field of study in which movement or physical activity is the intellectual focus. Physical activity includes exercising for improvement of health and fitness; learning movement skills; and engaging in activities of daily living, work, sport, dance, and play. It involves the general population as well as special groups such as children and older adults; people with disabilities, injuries, or disease; and athletes.
Kinesiology is a common name for college and university academic departments that include many specialized areas of study in which the causes, processes, and consequences, and contexts of physical activity are examined from different perspectives. The specialized areas of study apply knowledge, methods of inquiry, and principles from areas of study in the arts, humanities, sciences, and professional disciplines. These specialized areas include (but are not limited to) biomechanics, psychology of physical activity, exercise physiology, history of physical activity, measurement of physical activity, motor development, motor learning and control, philosophy of physical activity, physical activity and public health, physical education pedagogy, sport management, sports medicine, and the sociology of physical activity. An interdisciplinary approach involving several of these areas is often used in addressing problems of importance to society. The study of kinesiology leads to a variety of careers such as teaching; research; coaching; fitness leadership; and delivering other services related to sports medicine, health promotion, high-performance athletic competition, rehabilitation, and managing sport-related enterprises. The choice of Kinesiology as a field of study at the undergraduate level also prepares students for professional graduate study in a wide variety of allied health and medical professions. Positions are found in a variety of settings including schools, colleges and universities, public and private agencies, clinical environments, government, business, and the military.