Skip to the content of the web site.


Waterloo Quality

Kinesiology: one idea, many faces

James Rush, Canada Research Chair in Integrative Vascular Biology, and his graduate students explore the links between blood vessel health and function, and disorders such as hypertension. Photo: Simon Wilson

“We invest heavily in our labs and bring in scholars of national and international standing: our students work with experts who have all the resources to give them the most relevant training and the best possible student experience.”

Walk down the halls of B.C. Matthews Hall or the Lyle S. Hallman Institute for Health Promotion and you’d probably find it hard to pinpoint what the Department of Kinesiology is.

In one room, biomechanics professors and students improve car seat and interior design to keep spines healthy. Open another door and find physiologists researching cancer-related muscle mass loss. In another lab students and professors diligently examine how cells and obesity are linked. In still another, they are studying movement patterns in stroke patients.

Far-reaching research? Yes, but that’s precisely the point. Even as far back as 1967 when Waterloo launched the world’s first Department of Kinesiology, it endeavoured to bring the best minds together to prevent injury and illness, extend our lives, and optimize our health. For the first time ever, scientists specializing in human biochemistry, physiology, psychomotor behaviour, and biomechanics joined forces with experts in psychology and sociology.

The result? A holistic view of human movement.

“It was a new creation, and a major change,” says James Rush, chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Canada Research Chair in Integrative Vascular Biology.

Today Waterloo is leading the way again. In recent years, kinesiology professors such as Stuart McGill have been deeply involved in establishing a regulatory body to oversee clinical kinesiologists on the job. Although it’s expected that the majority of kinesiology students will continue to use their degree as a stepping-stone for careers ranging from ergonomist to physician, for those who want to become clinical kinesiologists, regulation will mean an evolution for the profession.

Whatever students choose to do with their Waterloo kinesiology degree, they’ll go into the world well prepared by top-tier professors and by an unsurpassed program of hands-on learning, says Rush.

“We invest heavily in our labs and bring in scholars of national and international standing: our students work with experts who have all the resources to give them the most relevant training and the best possible student experience.”

> Kinesiology department 

See all stories