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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 exercise for improvement of health and physical fitness, activities of daily living, work, sport, dance, and play, and involves special population groups such as, children and the elderly; persons with disability, injury 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 and consequences of physical activity are examined from different perspectives. The specialized areas of study apply knowledge, methods of inquiry, and principles from traditional areas of study in the arts, humanities and sciences. These areas include exercise and sport biomechanics, history, philosophy, physiology, biochemistry and molecular/cellular physiology, psychology, and sociology; motor behavior; measurement; physical fitness; and sports medicine. An interdisciplinary approach involving several of these areas is often used in addressing problems of importance to society.
The study of kinesiology can lead to a variety of careers involving teaching, research, coaching and delivery of services related to physical activity and fitness, health promotion, rehabilitation and sports medicine. Positions are found in a variety of settings including schools, colleges and universities, public and private agencies, clinical environments, government, business and the military.