What is the scope of practice for kinesiologists in Canada?

In most countries, kinesiology refers to an area of study and is not associated with a professional designation. This is changing rapidly. In Canada, with the establishment of the College of Kinesiology of Ontario (CKO) in 2013, kinesiolgists have a professional designation (Registered Kinesiologist or RKin) associated with movement, performance, fitness and function, rehabilitation, prevention and management of chronic diseases, sport, recreation and work.


Adaptation through Exercise

Adaptation through exercise is a key principle of kinesiology that relates to improved fitness in athletes as well as health and wellness in clinical populations. Exercise is a simple and established intervention for many movement disorders and musculoskeletal conditions due to the neuroplasticity of the brain. Therapeutic exercise has been shown to improve neuromotor control and motor capabilities in both normal and pathological populations.

There are many different types of exercise interventions that can be applied to kinesiology to athletic, normal, and clinical populations. Aerobic exercise interventions can help to improve cardiovascular endurance. Anaerobic strength training can help increase muscular strength, power, and lean body mass. Decreased risk of falls and increased neuromuscular control can be attributed to balance intervention programs. Flexibility programs can increase functional range of motion and reduce the risk of injury.

Taken collectively, exercise programs cna reduce symptoms of depression and risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases such as diabetes. Additionally, they can help improve quality of life, sleeping habits, immune system function, and body composition.

The study of physiologic responses to physical exercise and their therapeutic applications is known as exercise physiology, which is a major research focus for kinesiologists.


Neuroplasticity is also a key scientific principle used in kinesiology to describe how movement and changes in the brain are related. The human brain adapts and acquires new motor skills based on this principle, which includes both adaptive and maladaptive brain changes.

Recent empirical evidence indicates the significant impact of physical activity on brain function. For example, greater amounts of physical activity are associated with enhanced cognitive function in older persons. The effects of physical activity can be distributed throughout the entire brain, such as higher gray matter density and white matter integrity after exercise, and/or specific brain areas such as greater activation in prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Neuroplasticity is also the underlying mechanism of skill acquisition. For example, after long-term training, pianists showed greater gray matter density in sensorimotor cortex and white matter integrity in the internal capsule compared to non-musicians.

Maladaptive plasticity is defined as the neuroplasticity with negative effects or detrimental consequences in behaviour. Movement abnormalities may occur among individuals with and without brain injuries due to abnormal remodeling in the central nervous system (CNS). Learned non-use is an example commonly seen among patients with brain damage, such as stroke. Patients with stroke learned to suppress paretic limb movement after unsuccessful experience in paretic hand use. This may cause decreased neuronal activation at adjacent areas of the infarcted motor cortex.

There are many types of therapies that kinesiologists might explore to overcome maladaptive plasticity in clinic and research, such as constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT), body weight support treadmill training (BWSTT), and virtual reality therapy. These interventions have been shown to enhance motor function in paretic limbs and stimulate cortical reorganization in patients with brain damage.

Motor Redundancy

Motor redundancy is a widely-used concept in kinesiology and motor control which states that for any task the human body can perform, there are effectively an unlimited number of ways the nervous system could achieve that task. This redundancy appears at multiple levels in the chain of motor execution.

Kinematic redundancy means that for a desired location of the endpoint (e.g. the hand or finger) there are many configurations of the joints that would produce the same endpoint location in space. Muscule redundancy means that the same net joint torque could be generated by many different relative contributions of individual muscles.

The concept of motor redundancy is explored in numerous studies usually with the goal of describing the relative contribution of a set of motor elements (e.g. muscles) in various human movements, and how these contributions can be predicted from a comprehensive theory. Two distinct (but not incompatible) theories have emerged for how the nervous system coordinates redundant elements: simplification and optimization. In the simplification theory, complex movements and muscle actions are constructed from simpler ones, often known as primitives or synergies, resulting in a simpler system for the brain to control. In optimization theory, motor actions arise from the minimization of control parameter, such as the energetic cost of movement or errors in movement performance.

Who are kinesiologists?

Whereas the term "kinesiologist" is neither a licensed nor professional designation in most countries, in Canada this is changing rapidly. Since 2013, kinesiology is a regulated health profession in Canada with the establishment of the College of Kinesiology of Ontario (CKO). Similar proposals have been made in other jurisdictions.

As such, in Ontario, only those registered with the College can call themselves kinesiologists.

Health Promotion

Kinesiologists working in the health promotion industry focus on working with individuals to enhance the health, fitness, and well-being of the individual. Kinesiologits can be found working in fitness facilities, personal training/corporate wellness facilities, and industry.


Kinesiologists work with individuals with disabling and often chronic conditions to assist in regaining their optimal physical functions. They work with individuals in their homes, fitness facilities, rehabilitation clinics, and in the workplace.


Kinesiologists work in industry to assess suitability of design of work environments and provide expert advice for modifications and assistive devices to maximize productivity.

Health and Safety

Kinesiologists are professionally involved in industrial and commercial settings to identify hazards and provide recommendations and solutions to optimize the health and safety of workers.

Disability Management/Case Coordination

Kinesiologists recommend and provide plans of action related to injured persons and their goals to regain optimal physical function.


Kinesiologists are often active contributors to research and innovation in all areas of human movement.

What is kinesiology?

Kinesiology, also known as human kinetics, simply stated is the scientific study human movement. The word comes from the Greek work kinein, to move.

Kinesiology addresses physiological, mechanical, and psychological mechanisms. Applications of kinesiology to human health include: biomechanics and orthopedics, strength and conditioning, sport psychology, rehabilitation (such as physical and occupational therapy) and sport and exercise/fitness.

Individuals practice in a wide-variety of fields including as researchers, in the fitness industry, clinical settings, and in industrial/commercial environments. Studies of human and animal motion include measures from motion tracking systems, eletrophysiology of muscle and brain activity, various methods for monitoring physiological function, and other behavioural and cognitive research techniques.

Kinesiology as described above should not be confused with applied kinesiology, a controversial chiropractic diagnostic method.

What are the benefits of affiliation?

Relative to other disciplines kinesiology is a young profession, but maturing quickly. It's important that those persons that identify themselves as kinesiologists in Canada have a strong united voice. Nationally the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance-Alliance canadienne de kinesiologie is that voice. The Canadian Kinesiology Alliance-Alliance canadienne de kinesiologie works tirelessly to bring increased recognition and awareness of kinesiology and the sciences of human movement, to advocate on behalf of our partners and stakeholders, and to support common standards and professionalism.

Notwithstanding, one of the most attractive reasons people involve themselves with the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance-Alliance canadienne de kinesiologie is because they get access to industry leading professional insurance products (including errors and omissions and commercial general liability) at exceptionally reasonable premium rates.

How much does Affiliation cost?


The Canadian Kinesiology Alliance-Alliance canadienne de kinesiologie has the lowest annual affiliation fee of any professional association in any jurisdiction engaged in any field related to human movement. We're able to achieve this because the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance-Alliance canadienne de kinesiologie is constantly reviewing our program and services.

For a new affiliation application, annual dues are $75.00 (plus applicable taxes) if affiliation is directly with CKA/ACK - applicable for residents of SK, MB, NS, and PEI.  In these jurisdictions you may join the CKA/ACK directly.

For new affiliation application is through your Provincial Kinesiology Associations - applicable for residents of BC, AB, ON, QC, NB, and NL - affiliation dues to CKA ACK are $36.00 (plus applicable taxes) collected electronically at the time of purchase of your professional insurance products (Errors & Omissions and Commercial General Liability).  We require you to join these organizations prior to involving yourself with the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance-Alliance canadienne de kinesiologie. In other jurisdictions you may join the CKA/ACK directly.

Looking forward the CKA/ACK has and continues to be in discussions with our provincial partners such that all of our affiliation programs would be devolved to the recognized provincial kinesiology associations (PKAs).

Provincial Kinesiology Association may provide services

The Canadian Kinesiology Alliance has and continues to work with a broad group of stakeholders that include industry, government and not-for-profit/professional association groups. Given that the mandate for the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance-Alliance canadienne de kinesiologie is national in scope, over the years the CKA/ACK has worked hard to build mutually-beneficial and cooperative relationships with provincial associations and groups.

Where such relationships exist (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland & Labrador) we require you to join these organizations prior to involving yourself with the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance-Alliance canadienne de kinesiologie. In other jurisdictions you may join the CKA/ACK directly. 

Alberta Kinesiology Association (AKA) (www.albertakinesiology.ca),
Box 22521, Southbrook PO, Edmonton, AB T6W 0C3 

British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists (BCAK) (www.bcak.bc.ca)
102, 211 Columbia St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2R5 

Ontario Kinesiology Association (www.oka.on.ca)
6700 Century Ave., Suite 100, Mississauga, ON L5N 6A4, (905) 567-7194 

Federation des kinesiologues du Quebec (FKQ) (www.kinesiologues.com)
C.P. 6128 Succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal (QC) H3C 3J7 

New Brunswick Kinesiology Association (NBKA) (www.nbka-aknb.ca)
Box 1510, Moncton, NB E1C 8T6 

Newfoundland and Labrador Kinesiology Association(www.nlka.ca)
P.O. Box 29103,  St. John's, NL  A1A 5B5 

How do I become an affiliated kinesiologist of CKA?

The process to become an affiliated kinesiologist of the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance-Alliance canadienne de kinesiologie is easy. You join through one of the recognized provincial kinesiology associations (PKAs) in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick or Newfoundland & Labrador or directly if you're in another jurisdiction.

If joining directly a completed application form along with proof of your academic qualifications and experience (typically a copy of your transcript) need to be forwarded. These can be sent via email to info@cka.ca or mailed to 1500 Bank St.  Suite 419, Ottawa, ON, K1H 7Z2. A $75.00 (plus applicable taxes) administration fee must also be received.

Once received the materials are reviewed by an expert panel. Once materials are received the process typically takes only a few weeks. For further information please don't hesitate in contacting us at info@cka.ca.

How can I join?

In order to be eligible to join the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance-Alliance canadienne de kinesiologie you must fulfill core competencies surrounding academic knowledge and experience. In the case of full "membership" this typically most often means demonstrating successful completion of an accredited post-secondary program in human kinetics, kinesiology or a related discipline. "Student members" must likewise provide information on their enrollment.

Your completed application can be downloaded. Once completed please attach a copy of credentials such as an academic transcript and email to info@cka.ca. To complete the application process a non-refundable application fee of $75.00 (plus applicable taxes) should be mailed to our national office at 1500 Bank Street, Suite 419, Ottawa, ON, K1N 7Z2.

All those person and businesses that maintain a relationship with the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance-Alliance canadienne de kinesiologie must agree to abide by and uphold a code of ethics and standards.

Should you wish further information or have questions please don't hesitate in contacting us at info@cka.ca.