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Embracing Kinesiology’s Evolving Role in Integrated Health and Human Sciences Units: Future Opportunities and Challenges

Brian C. Focht, Erik J. Porfeli, and Zachary L. Chaplow

A constellation of emerging trends in contemporary higher education has led to reorganizations, consolidations, and mergers of academic units that directly impact kinesiology. These changes increasingly locate kinesiology within colleges of health and human sciences (HHS). This article addresses the opportunities and challenges for the future of kinesiology within consolidated HHS units. Synthesizing recent trends in higher education, historical and contemporary perspectives from the field, and our experience in leading a merged HHS unit, we identify conceptual and pragmatic considerations facing kinesiology. The potential impact of merged college structures upon kinesiology warrants further inquiry given the limited attention these changes have received. Kinesiology will benefit from systematic evaluation and planning to enhance the impact of these organizational changes on kinesiology in their new integrated college structures. We propose that the National Academy of Kinesiology is well positioned to provide leadership to kinesiology units in navigating these changes and advancing the missions of integrated HHS units.

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The Evolution of Research in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy: Changes Throughout Generations

Pamela Hodges Kulinna, Timothy A. Brusseau, and Stephen Silverman

This paper builds on previous reviews of physical education/sport pedagogy research over time in the areas of teaching, teacher education, and curriculum. Ideas are shared about the evolution of terminology, specializations, research, methodology, theoretical frameworks, journals and publishing outlets, parent disciplines, and where programs sit in universities. This paper also highlights contributions of the 52 National Academy of Kinesiology fellows in the area of physical education/sport pedagogy. These fellows have been productive with high H-indexes and citation numbers, suggesting high scholarly productivity, as well as impactful work. There have been recent closures of physical education/sport pedagogy doctoral programs, some of which have been offset by new and reemerging programs. Doctoral programs are critical to the future of research in physical education so that the current success can continue.

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Is There a Global Narrative for Kinesiology?

Doune Macdonald, Ira Jacobs, Ernest Tsung-Min, and Kari Fasting

At the National Academy of Kinesiology’s annual meeting in 2023, four International Fellows shared their insights into whether there is a global narrative for kinesiology. Panelists comprising Fasting (Norwegian, sport sociology), Jacobs (Canadian, exercise physiologist), Macdonald (Australian, pedagogy), and Tsung-Min Hung (Taiwanese, sport and exercise psychology) spanned both subdisciplines and continents. This paper represents a synthesis of their thinking, complemented with more incidental views from a range of scholars who accepted an invitation from Macdonald to contribute brief perspectives. Framing the paper are the concepts of globalization and its tethered process of neoliberalization, the latter argued to be a dominant ideology in many Western democracies that shapes the priorities of educational institutions. We conclude that the term “kinesiology” is not universally deployed to reference the discipline, although global narratives related to program priorities, knowledge status, metrics, and professionalization in the four continents represented exist.

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The Winding Path of Measurement of the Body’s Responses to Exercise: Past, Present, and Future

Carol Ewing Garber

This paper traces the path of the role of exercise in promoting health and the emergence of scientific study of the physiology of exercise from ancient times through modern times. Ancient physician–philosophers taught that exercise was important for health and employed exercise to control diseases such as diabetes and obesity, to offset the effects of aging, and for military preparedness. By the early modern era, the first books on exercise had been published, and the start of the use of exercise for therapy, rehabilitation, and occupational medicine emerged. Philosopher scientists proposed and applied experimental methods as early as the Middle Ages, and the scientific method was further developed during the early modern period. Experiments about the physiological responses to exercise began in the middle of the 19th century. The application of innovative research methods resulted in exponential gains in knowledge about the physiology of exercise throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

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Minding the Body: The Evolution of the Psychology of Physical Activity

Steven J. Petruzzello

This essay, written as part of an invited address for the National Academy of Kinesiology’s 92nd annual meeting, with the overarching theme being “Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Present, Embracing the Future,” provides an assessment of the evolution of sport and exercise psychology, or what I refer to as the psychology of physical activity. Specifically, I examine the role that psychology of physical activity has played since the academy was established, with particular attention to the contributions of academy fellows. I then provide my reflections on the current status and critical issues for the psychology of physical activity. Finally, I offer some thoughts on future directions for the subdiscipline in the broader field of kinesiology and some thoughts on how the academy could advance the academic discipline of kinesiology.

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Blending Physical Activity, Fitness, and Health and Public Health in Kinesiology

Barbara Ainsworth

Early physical education programs were interested in how exercise and physical fitness can improve student health and well-being. This interest in improving health is a foundational purpose of public health. The emergence of physical activity (PA) as a health-enhancing behavior prompted epidemiologists and researchers to identify associations between PA, morbidity, and mortality and to understand the doses needed to enhance health outcomes. Public health experts convened consensus meetings, agreeing that physical inactivity was a public health problem. PA leaders and educators created workshops to train researchers and public health practitioners in topics on PA and public health. Kinesiology departments have embraced the PA and public health agenda. Eleven kinesiology departments have joined the Schools of Public Health, and some offer degrees or concentrations in PA and public health. Most kinesiology departments not in a School of Public Health offer undergraduate courses in PA, fitness, and health, blending kinesiology and public health topics.

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How to Promote Physical Activity Across the Life Span: Tips From Grasshoppers, Ants … and Eleanor Metheny

R. Scott Kretchmar

This paper addresses two of the recurring themes of the 2023 National Academy of Kinesiology meeting—namely, how to articulate the value of physical activity most forcefully and how to promote it most effectively. Authors of several papers placed an emphasis on the values of well-being, particularly those related to health, fitness, physical rehabilitation, and exercise persistence. Yet, there was an acknowledgment that we had not been sufficiently effective in winning converts to activity across the life span. Questions were also raised, both implicitly and explicitly, about our unity in kinesiology and where we (or different parts of us) belong in university structures. I address these issues by employing two characters from The Fables of Aesop (the grasshopper and the ant) in addition to the philosophies of G.K. Chesterton and Eleanor Metheny. I present a paradoxical model for kinesiology that focuses on how different movements mean and celebrates extreme levels of diversity amid unshakable unity.

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Erratum. Are Preference and Tolerance Measured With the PRETIE-Q (Preference for and Tolerance of the Intensity of Exercise Questionnaire) Relevant Constructs for Understanding Exercise Intensity in Physical Activity? A Scoping Review

Kinesiology Review

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Adapted Physical Activity Scholarship: Evolving From Corrective to Inclusion and Anti-Ableist

Karen P. DePauw

Kinesiology and adapted physical activity (APA) share a common history rooted in the medical model approach to physical activity, movement, and the human body. The evolution of APA was influenced by these early roots and later by special-education legislation, sensory-motor perspectives, inclusion movement, and the disability-rights movement. Originally identified as adapted physical education, APA emerged as a professional field and an academic discipline. Since the 1950s, the research and scholarship has increased and cuts across the specialization areas (subdisciplines) of kinesiology. The multidisciplinary nature of APA scholarship has also reached beyond the discipline of kinesiology informed by disability studies and sociology. Reflection about APA and kinesiology reveals the ableist nature of the medical model, which informed early professional practice and scholarship. Thus, it is critical that APA and kinesiology engage in anti-ableist scholarship to better understand human physical activity and movement inclusive of individuals with disabilities.

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The Evolution of Scholarship of Biomechanics and Motor Control Within the Academy: The Past, the Present, and the Future

Kolby J. Brink, Aaron Likens, and Nick Stergiou

This essay delves into the intricate relationship between biomechanics and motor control, exploring their historical evolution and close interdependence. From the foundational works of Aristotle to the contemporary advancements achieved by esteemed members of the National Academy of Kinesiology, we describe the impactful contributions of both past and present National Academy of Kinesiology figures in the realms of motor control and biomechanics. A key theme throughout the essay is the recognition of the fundamental influence of natural laws on movement and the fundamental role of variability in unifying the realms of biomechanics and motor control. Looking ahead, we emphasize the transformative potential of strong inference as a guiding principle for substantive research in both fields, illustrating its application through our investigative endeavors. By uniting biomechanics and motor control through interdisciplinary collaboration, this pursuit of knowledge holds the promise of reshaping our comprehension of human movement and performance.