What is Biokinetics?
• Biokinetics' primary function is to improve physical functioning and health care through exercise as a modality.
• Biokinetics is the profession concerned with health promotion, the maintenance of physical abilities and final phase rehabilitation, by means of scientifically-based physical activity program prescription.
History of Biokinetics
Biokinetics was founded in 1983, whereas Physiotherapy was founded in 1946. The general consensus of awareness and knowledge among the population regarding rehabilitation is higher with physiotherapy than with Biokinetics. Physiotherapy is currently targeted in both public and private hospitals and therefore reaches out to the majority of the country's population. With Biokinetics, the profession targets the minority (upper-class and middle / working-class) and is therefore non-prevalent with the masses due to the lack of awareness and socio-economic filtrations.
Biokinetics was founded by Prof Strydom at North-West University in which he obtained an Honorary Doctorate from the North-West University for his contribution and indelible efforts towards the profession of Biokinetics. Biokinetics reached other provinces of the country quickly when the 'Biokinetics word' was spread. This absolutely suited the location for the first ever Biokinetics 'Life through Movement' International Conference that was held in Potchefstroom in 2012. The Biokinetics Association of South Africa (BASA) is the current local representative body for Biokinetics and is located locally in all nine provinces .
Lifestyles in the early and modern eras
There are distinct differences between both the modern and early eras regarding life. In the early era (before technology reached evolution), activities of daily living and routine was exorbitantly different. In addition, people had a stronger mindset and character relating physical activity. The essence and convenience of current transport, telecommunications and IT was absent. Individuals went to school / work by foot or train. They had to walk a fair distance to catch the train as well. To send a message to a neighbor or a friend, they walked to give the message, whereas today sms's and emails are daily rituals.
The modern era has an emphasis on the use of technology and science in making an individual's lifestyle more convenient through the use of transport, technology and clothing. Although more emphasis is placed on convenience, there is less emphasis placed on the meaningfulness of an adequate lifestyle. How do we retain an adequate lifestyle with the rapid development of technology? Among other factors, unfortunately most companies are directed towards a monetary goal in obtaining financial freedom before 'the correct perspectives'. A lot of passion is being placed before principles and this is one of the detrimental effects of the decreased awareness of physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.
As Biokineticists, we are faced with the challenge and minor dilemma of our clients and patients having a comfortable lifestyle but mostly sedentary. A century ago, their lifestyles were less convenient but more physically active. Among other studies conducted, these explained one of the reasons that there is a contrast with life expectancy with the two generations. Exercise science is so advanced today in assisting athletes and the general population with lifestyle and sporting goals. It would have been interesting to know what earlier generations would have achieved if these scientific principals were applied to their active lifestyles with the absence of modern technology (vehicles, clothing and telecommunications). The likes of other global modalities such as solar energy and power is underused and therefore energy income has decreased due to increased global energy expenditure. Has the evolution of technology made the world more sedentary and therefore increased the prevalence of various cardiovascular and non-communicable diseases? Or are the mindsets regarding physical activity and health of our current generation weaker?
It is only with time that the above questions will be answered through correct interventions and thought provoking processes. As health professionals, we can only try our best to motivate and inculcate the knowledge to our clients and patients towards the correct path and ultimately hope that with future interventions, non-communicable diseases, performance and health status around the world will improve.
Way Forward for Biokinetics
The current focus and plan of Biokinetics is targeted towards hospitals, mostly being the public health sector. The inclusion of Biokinetics in the government health domain, will not only widen the scope for Biokineticists, but make the awareness of Biokinetics increase with both the population and allied health professionals within the health and sports medicine sectors.