The British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists (our professional association) defines
“The practice of Kinesiology is the assessment of movement, performance and function
and the rehabilitation, prevention and management of disorders to maintain,
rehabilitate or enhance movement, performance and function, in the areas of sport,
recreation, work, exercise, and activities of daily living.” -BCAK
Is Kinesiology like Personal Training?
Both professions involve helping individuals achieve their fitness goals and optimize the
body’s potential, but there are some key differences. The main distinctions between a
Kinesiologist and Personal Trainer are our education and the type of clients each are
able to work with.
A Practicing Kinesiologist has a minimum of a 4-year degree in Exercise Science,
Kinesiology or Human Kinetics and often multiple other related health, fitness and
A Personal Trainer requires a certification such as the BC Recreation and Parks
Association (BCRPA), which can take weeks or months depending on the program. The
BCRPA scope of practice is limited to training those “who are apparently healthy”, that
is, they have no known medical conditions or injuries. Some Personal Trainers do have
undergraduate degrees or even Master’s degrees and other health related certifications.
Type of Clients:
Kinesiologist’s extended education benefits clients with medical conditions or injuries
because they will be able to provide safe, effective and current exercise/physical activity
guidelines that take into account the client’s current fitness level, injuries, and chronic
Personal Trainers work best with clients who have no known medical conditions,
injuries or disabilities that limit their ability to exercise, participate in daily activities,
hobbies or recreational sports (e.g. you are apparently healthy). When the main goal is
weight loss, toning, strength training, or general health conditioning.
What should I expect in an active rehab session?
Just like it sounds, it’s an active form of rehabilitation, meaning clients are not getting
manipulated but rather they are actively moving in their sessions (stretch, roll, exercise,
etc). Oversight by a Kinesiologist is essential to make sure clients are not only challenged
appropriately, but that each movement/exercise is done precisely and efficiently.
The Kinesiologist will help clients set a baseline for a range of motion, flexibility and
strength, and develop a treatment plan that best addresses any imbalances, injuries and
health conditions of concern. Active rehab is commonly supplemented with passive
treatments (Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture).
When would I benefit from seeing a Kinesiologist?
- If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident (ICBC active rehab)
- If you sustained an athletic injury and want to return to game-ready status while limiting risk of further injury.
- If you have a disability or medical condition and want to improve your health and fitness in a safe progressive manner, to help you live a more functional and pain-free life.
- If you are preparing for a surgery or want to avoid injury by participating in a preventative exercise program (Prehabilitation).
Is Kinesiology services covered by insurance?
The Canadian Kinesiology Alliance states:
“Although Kinesiology services are not covered under provincial public health care
systems, they are tax deductible (if they reach a certain minimum). Even in cases where
a client does not have insurance coverage for Kinesiology, they can retain all receipts for
income tax purposes.” -CKA
In some provinces, insurance companies (Pacific Blue Cross) have begun recognizing the status of
Kinesiologists and offering coverage policies. Ask your insurance company if Kinesiology
fees can be reimbursed.