Physical Activity in Health, Wellness, and Quality of Life
There is a growing appreciation for the importance of regular physical activity as an integral component of a healthy lifestyle. Over the past twenty to thirty years a substantial body of evidence has accumulated regarding the benefits which accrue to people of all ages who participate in regular physical activity. These advances in our understanding of the relationship between physical activity participation and health have important implications for students of Kinesiology. Whether kinesiology graduates pursue employment opportunities immediately after completing their undergraduate education or after the completion of post-baccalaureate educational opportunities in kinesiology or other health-related fields, all graduates serve as academic or community experts on healthy and active lifestyles. Accordingly, it is essential that the undergraduate Kinesiology core include content that explores in detail the relationship between physical activity participation, health and well-being.
A defining feature of the academic discipline of Kinesiology is its embrace and integration of the multi dimensional study and application of physical activity. Well-prepared Kinesiologists are expected to have a sound understanding of the scientific foundations of physical activity. For many departments this scientific foundation is provided by a series of courses that are taken by all majors regardless of their ultimate career goals. Examples of scientific foundation courses include exercise physiology, motor behavior, biomechanics, sport and society, and exercise psychology. The specific titles and content of scientific foundation courses offered will vary from institution to institution depending on local preferences and constraints.
A solid grounding in cultural, historical and philosophical aspects of kinesiology is an essential component of a Kinesiology education. Sociocultural and historical factors influence attitudes about and practices of physical activity. This is true for both the individual and the communities in which they live. In addition, an understanding of philosophical and historical issues will help prepare future professionals for the numerous ethical questions they will face upon graduation. Coursework in the humanities assists the student to understand and appreciate diversity, to develop cultural Learning Outcomes, and to make ethical decisions based on sound principles. In many Kinesiology departments, undergraduate coursework examines topics related to physical culture, cultural kinesiology, sociology of sport and physical activity, history of sport and physical activity, and sport marketing and media. Specific courses will vary from institution to institution depending on local preferences and constraints.
The AKA believes that regular participation in physical activity is an essential component of a healthy and successful lifestyle and that the undergraduate curriculum should provide numerous opportunities for students to be physically active. For example, opportunities may come from a physical activity skills program that allows for participation in sport and recreation through a diverse menu of courses taken for academic credit. Alternatively, students may be encouraged to be physically active through internship and practicum experiences. In other instances physical activity participation may occur at venues outside the Kinesiology department, such as in campus recreation facilities. While the AKA strongly supports students being physically active, it does not prescribe a specific process for departments to follow regarding how the practice of physical activity is incorporated into the curriculum, but staunchly supports curricular or extra-curricular physical activity experiences for individual and group participation.
Below we provide links to several documents that provide a brief description of how selected AKA member departments have chosen to implement the Kinesiology Core curriculum at their institution. For each institution we provide a list of course titles and descriptions that are offered within each of the four core elements, including information about enrolment, frequency of offering, and if the course is required or elective. This information is provided to allow AKA departments to compare their own curriculum with those at similar institutions.