What does a Biokeniticist do?
Biokinetics is defined as the science of movement and the application of exercise in rehabilitative treatment or performance.
A Biokineticist is a specialist who is recognised by and registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. They work closely with doctors and other medical practitioners. After detailed, scientific assessments, evaluations and measurements of the patient or individual, a Biokineticist will design exercise programmes to improve the well-being and quality of life of the person.
Why did you become a Biokineticist?
I wanted to venture into the medical field, but not as a doctor. I have always loved working with people and have always been interested in the human anatomy and human movement.
What and where did you study?
I did a bachelor’s degree in Human Movement Science which is a three year degree. Then I did my honours in biokinetics which is a one year degree. Both of the degrees I completed at the University of Pretoria.
Once you have your degree in biokinetics, do you need to do any further studying?
Because biokinetics is part of the medical field, you always need to do courses to stay on top of things. These are referred to as Continuous Professional Development courses. Each course you do gives you a certain amount of points (CPD points). A biokineticist needs to accumulate 60 CPD points over 2 years.
Which subjects should you take at school if you want to follow this career path?
Definitely biology, as you will be working with the human body.
Maths is also important, because when you assess the human body you sometimes need to use calculations to determine different variables.
Chemistry and physics are also important, as it will help in understanding the movement of the body and the different processes involved.
What challenges do you face?
Biokinetics is a fairly new profession, so it is difficult to inform the public about the benefits of biokinetics.
Biokineticists work long and irregular hours, so you really need to love what you are doing.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I help people improve their well-being and quality of life through physical activity. Since each person is different and requires individual treatment, I am always faced with new and exciting challenges. You learn new things and meet new and interesting people every day.
Is it easy to find work as a Biokineticist?
At the moment it is not easy to find work as a biokineticist. However, biokinetics is a growing profession in South Africa. With the increased importance placed on health and wellness, people are becoming more aware of the benefits of biokinetics.
What misconceptions are there about the industry?
People confuse biokinetics with physiotherapy. There is an overlap, but the scope is different. Physiotherapists treat patients directly after injury, whereas biokineticists will be more involved in the rehabilitation process- correcting muscle imbalances, movement, posture and preventing injury in the future (injury prevention).
What advice would you give to aspiring Biokineticists?
You have to be prepared to put in long hours of studying and hard work. You also have to be passionate about what you do in order to really enjoy it and reap the rewards.