Kinesiology For Dummies book cover

Kinesiology For Dummies

By: Steve Glass and Brian Hatzel Published: 03-24-2014

Move at your own pace with this kinesiology course guide

A required course for majors pursuing sports medicine, exercise science, nursing, or sports therapy degrees, kinesiology is central to a variety of fields. Kinesiology For Dummies tracks an introductory course in the science and imparts the basics of human body movement. With this resource, you will learn how physical activity can alleviate chronic illnesses and disabilities, what factors contribute to musculoskeletal injury, and how to reverse those influences. Complete with a 16-page color insert of medical instructions, this book covers the basics of exercise physiology, exercise and health psychology, introductory biomechanics, motor control, history and philosophy of sport and exercise, and mind-body connections.

  • Written by experts in exercise science
  • Addresses a timely subject as exercise science careers and majors are increasingly popular
  • Runs parallel to a kinesiology course with accessible, concise language

Interested learners, kinesiology students, and health or sports therapy professionals will benefit from this refresher course in the basics.

Articles From Kinesiology For Dummies

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Kinesiology For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 03-21-2022

Being physically active and training for fitness and performance can seem pretty complex when you consider all the factors involved: mechanical loads and forces applied, energy metabolism, musculature and bone health, and so on. Kinesiologists study these areas to help athletes and others improve athletic performance, enhance mobility, and avoid or heal from injury, but anyone can apply the basic principles of kinesiology. These articles touch on some simple changes that occur as a result of aerobic training, explain the energy systems needed for different kinds of physical activity, and provide guidelines for effective strength training and stable movement, and highlight a strategy for evaluating movement.

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2 Mechanisms That Stabilize Your Body's Joints to Avoid Injuries

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Maintaining physical stability takes more than a single structure working in isolation to provide joint support. Instead, lots of parts — muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and other soft tissues — all have to work together to produce a stable joint. Stable joints help you avoid injury, such as shoulder dislocations and ACL sprains. The factors that help maintain stability are usually broken up into separate categories: the active mechanisms (the muscles) and the passive mechanisms (pretty much everything else, like the ligaments, bone shapes, cartilage, joint capsule, and so on). The components from each type of mechanism must communicate with each other to provide stability. If the muscles (active restraints) don’t fire as they should or are weak, stability is compromised, and if the ligaments, tendons, and so on (passive restraints) have been compromised, injury may result as well. Someone who has had strength issues in the muscles or who has suffered from a previous ligament injury is at increased risk for injury. The active restraint mechanism The active restraint mechanism (the muscles) is the contractile component of joint stability. These muscles act on and around a particular set of structures (your joints). Not only do you rely on the muscles that act on a joint to provide the forces needed to move or propel objects, but you also rely on them to resist forces that could potentially cause injury. Here’s how the active restraint mechanism works: Sensory information is continually being collected from around the joints involved in an activity. This information includes things like how fast you want to go, whether you’re traveling up or down hill, whether the ground is uneven or smooth, and so on. Depending on your ability to retrieve this sensory information, the muscles adapt accordingly. Problems arise when a muscle or group of muscle is weak or isn’t able to interpret the information it receives in a timely manner. In this situation, the movement pattern is thrown off, compromising stability. The passive restraint mechanism The structures that make up the passive restraint mechanism don’t contract and consist of structural restraints (like ligaments, cartilage, bone shape, and so on) and components — called mechanoreceptors — whose job it is to detect neurological information. Mechanoreceptors are specialized sensory organs that respond to mechanical stimuli, such as tension, pressure, and displacement. Together, both the structural components of the passive restraint mechanism and the mechanoreceptors enable your body to collect the information it needs related to movement. The mechanoreceptors are found in muscle, tendons, bone, ligaments, and other soft tissues. When these structures are affected by an activity, the information is shared and either triggers a reflex response or causes the brain to create a new motor plan. Because these receptors have to be physically changed to respond, they are susceptible to injured tissue. To understand this, imagine that you sprained a ligament in the past. Now, as a result of that sprain, your ligament is a bit longer. The next time you stumble, your ankle will actually twist farther before the mechanoreceptor is activated and recognizes the situation.

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3 Ways the Body Produces Energy to Fuel Metabolism

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

ATP, which stands for adenosine triphosphate, is the sole source of energy for all human metabolism, yet very little of this fuel is actually stored in the body. Instead, the body has three different systems of ATP production: ATP-PC, anaerobic glycolysis, and aerobic phosphorylation. Each system uses different starting fuels, each provides ATP at different rates, and each has its own downside (like fatigue). These differences mean that each method of energy production is best suited for particular kinds of activities. The following table outlines the key characteristics of the body’s different ATP-producing methods. ATP-PC Anaerobic Glycolysis Aerobic (Oxidative) Phosphorylation Description Provides ATP at a very fast rate. Your body holds limited stores of ATP-PC. Provides ATP fast, but not as fast as ATP-PC. Provides ATP at a slower rate than the other systems, but is great for endurance activities. Starting Fuel Phosphocreatine (PC) stored in the sarcomere. PC combines creatine and phosphate by using high-energy bonds. Glucose stored in the muscle and liver in a concentrated form called glycogen. Glucose can be taken from muscle glycogen or transported from the blood via the liver. Fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. How Energy Is Produced The chemical bonds that hold creatine and phosphate together are broken, a process that releases energy that can remake new ATP. Enzymes in the cells convert glucose into lactic acid, producing ATP. Although ATP is needed to get glucose into the cell, you ultimately produce double the amount of ATP. Fats and carbohydrates are delivered to the mitochondria and broken down to yield ATP. The waste product of a hydrogen ion (H+) is bonded to oxygen to form water. The other waste product is carbon dioxide (CO2), which can be breathed off. Amount of Energy Produced Enough for about 10 seconds of very high-intensity exercise. Total amount depends on stores of PC and enzymes to convert it to ATP. Enough to power heavy exercise for extended periods (2 minutes or more). The amount depends on the availability of glucose and enzymes needed for energy production, and the levels of lactic acid. The amount depends on enzymes, the availability of oxygen to the mitochondria, and the availability of carbohydrates and fats. With training, high levels of intensity for very long periods of time are possible (running a marathon at a 5 min/mile pace, for example). Used Most for Activities Like 100-meter sprint, short sprint, high jump, swinging a bat. Intense activities lasting under 3 minutes, or during short bouts of heavy work. Long-duration, low-to-moderate–intensity activities, like walking, jogging running, hiking, and swimming. Cost or Tradeoff When you run out of PC, you slow down or weaken. Lactic acid builds up and causes the muscles to fatigue; it also shuts down glycolysis. Work intensity is lower; running pace can’t be as fast as a sprint. Altitude or another condition that limits available oxygen (mountain climbing above 5,000 feet, for example) reduces performance. How Training Maximizes these Fuel Sources Increases stores and enzymes to make ATP faster. Increases stores of glycogen and enzymes to make ATP faster and to better neutralize lactic acid. Increases size and number of mitochondria and the number of enzymes to make ATP.

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6 Ways Aerobic Training Strengthens the Cardiovascular System

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Exercise is a fantastic medicine for the body, especially for your heart. When you engage in aerobic training, your cardiovascular system becomes fit. Consistent aerobic activity produces physical changes in the heart, the blood vessels, and in your ability to use oxygen. It’s like getting a complete overall to a car’s engine! Just look at all of the changes: Resting heart rate is lower after aerobic training. The lowering of the heart rate is due to two primary factors: The parasympathetic nervous system becomes more dominant at rest, producing a slower resting heart rate. Also, your heart rate returns to its resting rate more quickly after a workout. The size of the heart chamber grows, meaning it takes fewer heart beats to pump the same amount of blood. Blood pressure decreases. Exercise, especially moderate aerobic exercise, can lower resting blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. In some cases, it may lower blood pressure as much as 10 mmHg! Stroke volume increases. Long-term aerobic training helps enlarge the ventricles and strengthens the heart muscle. Because a stronger heart muscle can pump out more blood, these changes result in a larger volume of blood pumped with each stroke. At submaximal work rates, the heart rate is lower because fewer beats are needed to produce the same cardiac output. Peak cardiac output increases. Cardiac output represents total blood flow through the heart each minute. If you can pump more blood, you can work harder! Because stroke volume is higher, your maximal work output will be greater. More blood vessels form. The density of capillaries in the muscles increases, meaning more oxygen can be delivered to the muscle. Just as laying more water lines can improve irrigation of a farm field, aerobic training can an increase the “irrigation” of the muscle. In addition, blood vessels that were previously dormant begin to open and move blood. You’re better able to tap into and use more of the oxygen carried in the blood. This improvement is due to the increase in the size and number of mitochondria (and the enzymes contained within), which draw oxygen from the blood, and to the increased availability of the oxygen as a result of the many blood vessels. All these changes happen at the same time, which no single medication can achieve. Exercise is the best medicine for changing your body to become fit and to be able to do more work!

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4 Simple Rules for Gaining Strength and Muscle

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

A variety of methods exist for strength training, yet many people train the wrong way and unwittingly sabotage their efforts to increase strength and muscle mass. To see the fitness results you are looking for, make sure your strength-training regimen incorporates these four simple rules. Rule #1: Lift heavy enough If you want to make your muscles stronger, you must force them to do work more than they are used to (called overload)! To gain strength, you need to actually cause micro damage to the muscle by using a load that the muscle isn’t accustomed to. As a general rule, you need to lift a load that is about 60 percent of your one repetition max (IRM), the heaviest load that you can lift just one time. If your 1RM is 100 pounds, for example, you must work out with at least 60 pounds. Eccentric contractions (when the muscle lengthens while contracting — like when you lower a weight during a biceps curl) seem to cause the most trauma to the muscle during weightlifting. But the upside is that this trauma is the stimulus for building muscle. So rather than letting your arms drop after a lift, lower the weights in a controlled manner. Doing so lets you work the muscle during that phase of the movement. Rule #2: Lift to fatigue If you lift a single load, even one that’s heavy enough to damage the muscle, you haven’t stressed all your muscles. Here’s why: As more muscle fibers become fatigued, your body calls up even more fibers to help the fatigued ones carry the load. That’s why you must keep lifting to ensure that you’re stressing your muscles sufficiently. Only when all your muscle fibers are fatigued have you worked the entire muscle and stimulated growth. Rule #3: Eat and rest to let your muscle recover Muscles grow during the recovery time between workouts. So recovery is very important to ensure muscle growth. To make sure your recovery period maximizes muscle growth, you need rest, carbohydrates, and protein. Follow these guidelines: Include adequate carbohydrates in your diet. To fuel the growth of new muscle tissue, carbohydrates should make up 50 percent to 60 percent of your diet. Eat adequate amounts of protein. Protein helps form muscle. You should have between 0.4 and 0.6 grams of protein per pound of body weight. A 180-pound man, for example, needs 90 grams of protein per day (180 × 0.5 g/lb = 90 grams). Sleep! Restful sleep is the time when the hormones of muscle growth (growth hormone and testosterone) are highest. The harder the work, the more recovery you need. The more overload you give your muscles, the more recovery they need. Usually 24 to 48 hours between workouts is enough. Rule #4: Progressively increase the load as the muscle adapts You need to add more load when you can easily do more repetitions than you’re used to. If, for example, you choose a weight that is 60 percent of your 1RM (which equals about 15 to 20 repetitions before fatigue) and you have adapted enough that you can lift the weight 23 times, it’s time to add more load. The amount of the increase varies and depends on the size of the muscle. Should you increase five pounds, ten pounds, or something more? A better strategy is to increase by a percent of the load so that the loads across different muscle groups are standardized. A 10 percent increase should be enough to provide a nice progression.

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The 5 Stages of Motion Analysis

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Motion analysis is a fancy way to refer to the act of evaluating how someone one moves. Coaches, physical fitness trainers, physical therapists, and others use motion analysis to help their patients and clients enhance mobility and improve performance. Knowing where to start can be difficult, but if you break the analysis down into five stages, you’ll be well on your way! Stage 1: Knowing the nature and objective of the motion To begin movement analysis, the examiner (coach, clinician, personal trainer) must have some background knowledge about the task to be completed. Understanding what the performer is trying to accomplish and knowing the components needed to be successful are essential to the analysis. Background knowledge helps you identify the key elements of the movement that need focus. Stage 2: Breaking the movement up into clear phases To make sense of what you are seeing, you break the movement up into segments or phases. Complex movements all require preparation, execution, and follow-through components. Within each phase is a series of movements that need to occur for the next phase to follow and/or be successful. For example, when you perform a squat, you start in a standing position and then squat down. But to squat down, you need to bend your hips, then knees, and finally your ankles, all while keeping your back straight. To come back up, you do the reverse in a timely and coordinated way. In this case, someone analyzing these motions would break the squat into two phases, the down (return) and up (power) phases. Stage 3: Noting the preparation position At this stage of the analysis, you note the patient’s or client’s preparation position. Getting into a position that facilitates the impending movement is the key to this phase. To jump, for example, you need to bend at your hips, knees, and ankles. This action represents the preparation phase of a standing long jump. By achieving a proper preparation position, the performer is able to facilitate the strength, speed, and efficiency of the task. Stage 4: Providing evaluation and diagnosis Ultimately the purpose of the motion analysis is to correct or improve the performance or avoid injury. To do this, you evaluate the subject’s performance of the actual task. Based on your findings, you can identify specific flaws and make diagnoses. For example, you may note that someone is limping when he walks. By noting where within the walking pattern he has a flaw, you can determine what the problem is (perhaps he isn’t striking the ground with his heel as he should) and identify how to correct it. The evaluation process usually involves a comparison of the pre-defined critical factors. If you find that the performer repeatedly falls outside of the normal range, you note it during this stage. Stage 5: Providing intervention and feedback Saying what is wrong with someone’s motion is usually easy; figuring out how to correct it is a bit more challenging. To perform this final step in, you must have very good knowledge of the task at hand and be able to focus in on relevant information from the client or patient (strength, injury, and performance) and his goals. Based on what you know about the patient, you can prioritize the feedback you give.

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Overcoming 2 Common Muscle Injuries: Strains and Cramps

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

As participation in recreational and sporting activities has grown over the past several years, so has the number of injuries. Muscle injuries are a very common occurrence for people who are physically active. Often these injuries are just an unfortunate annoyance, but other times, they’re debilitating and take a long time to heal. Two of the more common muscle injuries are strains and cramps. Strains A muscle strain is an injury that occurs when the muscle is torn. A muscle tear can occur when the muscle itself is stretched too far and tears, or because so much tension is created when the maximal contraction occurs that tissue failure results. Mild strains usually feel really tight and hurt when stretched. More severe strains may involve significant muscle damage and can be so painful that you’re unable to move. Some researchers believe that maintaining flexibility and warming up before activity can help to minimize your risk, although this point of view is challenged by many scientists. Cramps A muscle cramp results when the muscle contracts maximally and then holds that contraction for a period of time. You can see when a muscle is contracted and won’t release. Performing at high levels or performing without appropriate nutrition or hydration may leave you with muscle cramps. If you’ve ever been running when your muscle suddenly ceases up and you feel like someone just hit you with a sledge hammer, you know how uncomfortable these injuries can be. Some researchers believe the cramps occur because of poor hydration, electrolyte imbalances, or impact. Regardless of their cause, you should stop your activity until you’re well hydrated and the cramp has let up. After the cramp releases, it’s not uncommon for your muscle to be sore.

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Open and Closed Feedback Mechanisms in Physical Activity

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Some tasks are difficult to alter while they are being performed; others are easily changed. Whether a movement can be changed during the actual task depends on the complexity and timing of the movements, as well as the presence of external factors. In other words, the type of information that the human body has to process and the way in which it processes that information (its feedback mechanism) determines whether an activity can be changed midcourse. There are two types of feedback mechanisms: Open feedback mechanism: A task that has an open feedback mechanism, called an open task, can be changed in real time. During this type of movement, the body collects information from the speed of the motion, the amount of joint movement required, whether other participants (people of the field, like defenders) are involved, and so on, and then alters the movement to maximize its success in that particular situation. For example, say you’re going up for a jump shot and someone makes contact with you. To make the shot, you change how you shoot the ball in mid-air. Closed feedback mechanism: A closed feedback mechanism task (or closed task) can’t be altered after it’s started because it isn’t influenced by other participants or previous movements. A free throw is a good example. The only way to be more successful with free-throw shooting is to practice it over and over and over again. Think of closed tasks as short activities that, once turned on, can’t be turned off; they can only be practiced and perfected over time.

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10 Nutritional and Mechanical Ergogenic Aids

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Ergogenic refers to something that helps you generate more work. An ergogenic aid may be something that helps make the work easier to perform (like a shoehorn helps you put on your dress shoes) or provides a boost to your physiology so that you can do more work. Some ergogenic aids are legal and common in sports; others are banned. Five Common Nutritional Ergogenic Aids Aid Possible Effect Possible Side Effect Legality Caffeine Increases use of fat as fuel Stimulates the central nervous system (CNS) Dehydration Elevated heart rate and blood pressure Legal up to 15 micrograms/ml (the equivalent of drinking 10 cups of coffee in 1 hour) Anabolic steroids Increases protein synthesis and muscle mass Accelerates recovery from heavy exercise Possible disorders of the heart, liver, and kidney Reduction in size and function of testes Increased risk of heart disease Controlled substance Prescribed for individuals with low testosterone, HIV, and sexual dysfunction Detected levels above normal are illegal in sports that test for it Carbohydrates Increase exercise performance Accelerate recovery from heavy exercise Essential for fat burning and most high-intensity activities Can add non-nutritious calories to the diet and promote fat storage, if the carbs eaten are simple sugars Legal Strive to get 40–60% of your calories from complex carbs that have fiber and nutrients. Erythropoietin Stimulates the production of red blood cells Increases oxygen transport capacity of the blood, thereby improving performance in aerobic activities Thickens the blood, increasing blood clot risk May damage kidneys and blood vessels Is a danger to pregnant women and fetuses Is prescribed by doctors for patients with anemia (low red blood cell count) Can be naturally increased through exposure to altitude, but supplementation is Illegal in sports Creatine May increase muscle stores of creatine phosphate, a high-energy source of ATP in the muscle May result in improved performance for short duration, high-intensity activities According to most studies, safe in doses of 5–20g/day May be dangerous to those with kidney disease Other side effects possible, so caution is advised Legal Five Common Mechanical Ergogenic Aids Aid Possible Effect Legality Wicking clothing Transfers moisture from the skin through clothing, to be evaporated Aids in cooling the skin for temperature regulation during exercise Legal and sold at most sporting goods stores Compression garments May prevent post-exercise tissue swelling (edema) and aid in recovery from exercise Limited information on performance enhancement potential Legal Clap skates (a type of speed skate designed to keep more surface area of the skate on the ice) Provides added acceleration and speed during the push-off phase Legal and widely used in speed skating Aerodynamic cycle and helmet Reduces drag and allows for greater race speed Legal Drag-resistant swimsuits (specially designed compression suits) Increases buoyancy and reduces drag, greatly improving speed in the water Regulated by the International Swimming Federation for international competition Specially designed running shoes (many varieties are available, depending on the activity) Improves running speed due to improved traction and better foot support Reduces injury Legal

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10 Key Kinesiology Resources

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Kinesiology covers a wide range of subdisciplines, with many organizations that provide excellent resources for the practitioner. The following resources provide a good starting place for those wanting to enter the profession. Consider joining one or more to begin building your kinesiology network: American College of Sports Medicine: A global organization, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has 45,000 members and certified professionals from 90 countries and represents 70 occupations within the sports medicine field, including exercise physiologists, physical therapists, sports medicine doctors, cardiologists, personal trainers, and other fields that use exercise and movement as therapy. The ACSM publishes summary statements on important health topics (obesity, exercise, diabetes, and so on) and offers a range of certifications. In addition, the ACSM conducts wide-ranging research and education outreach programs and encourages student development through grants, reduced membership fees, and networking support. If you want to join the top sports medicine organization in the world, this is the one! National Strength and Conditioning Association: The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is a worldwide authority on strength and conditioning. Made up of professionals in the fields of athletics, coaching, the fitness industry, and sport science, the NSCA promotes research in strength and conditioning and helps bridge the gap between the science of strength and condition and its application within related fields. The organization offers professional certification for personal trainers, as well as for strength and conditioning specialists. In addition to disseminating its research and coaching principles, the NSCA also offers members a range of journals relevant to the field. Aerobic and Fitness Association of America: The Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) is the world’s largest fitness and telefitness educator, certifying over 300,000 individuals in areas such as personal trainer, group exercise instruction, kickboxing, practical yoga, and more. The organization’s mission is to enhance the professional development of fitness professionals and to establish guidelines for practice within the industry. It offers online continuing education workshops and online certification courses. If you are interested in fitness training and group exercise, this may be a site you want to check out. Another, similar organization to check out is the National Academy of Sports Medicine. National Athletic Trainers’ Association: The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) is the professional membership association for certified athletic trainers and others who support the athletic training profession. The NATA has more than 35,000 members worldwide. Its mission is to “to enhance the quality of health care provided by certified athletic trainers and to advance the athletic training profession.” American Kinesiology Association: The American Kinesiology Association (AKA) promotes and enhances kinesiology as a unified field of study and advances its many applications. AKA does this by advocating forkinesiologyat national and international levels, as well as providing resource materials and leadership and educational opportunities for university administrators in kinesiology. American Society of Biomechanics: The American Society of Biomechanics (ASB) has a membership of approximately 600 academic researchers, clinicians, scientists, students, and industry members working to solve basic and applied problems in the realm of biomechanics and to improve understanding of the workings of biological systems. The ASB seeks to foster the exchange of information and ideas among biomechanics professionals working across a variety of different fields (health, ergonomics, engineering, and applied sciences). American Psychological Association, Division 47 – Exercise and Sport Psychology: Division 47 brings together psychologists and exercise and sport scientists who are interested in research, teaching, and service in this area. The Division currently has committees on diversity issues and education and training, and sponsors preconvention workshops at the APA convention. The organization’s newsletter — Exercise and Sport Psychology Newsletter — is published three times a year. Association for Applied Sport Psychology: Founded in 1986, the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) promotes the development of science and ethical practice in the field of sport psychology. AASP is an international, multidisciplinary, professional organization that offers certification to qualified professionals in the field of sport, exercise, and health psychology. *North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity: The purpose of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA) is to develop and advance the study of motor behavior (development, learning, and control) and sport and exercise psychology. Membership in NASPSPA is open to anyone who is interested in these fields, and annual membership dues are required. NASPSPA has approximately 400 members (most are from Canada and the United States, but the representation is worldwide). Approximately half of NASPSPA’s members are graduate students in the field of kinesiology. National Association for Sport and Physical Activity: The mission of the National Association for Sport and Physical Activity (NASPE) is to enhance knowledge, improve professional practice, and increase support for high-quality physical education, sport, and physical activity programs. NASPE envisions a society in which all individuals are physically educated and participate in lifelong physical activity.

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