We all know that intense gymnastics is all about the hardcore workout and competitive physical moves. It also involves maintaining a great amount of discipline as well as time managing abilities.
However, even with all the physical involvement and more concentrated lifestyle, gymnasts are often noticeably short and smaller in build. So, it must mean the whole gymnastic activity is somehow related to restricting growth factor in a gymnast.
Well, that’s a common perception of people who are not directly in involvement with gymnasts, and often times it’s due to seeing things as they are while not knowing the back story. Does gymnastics stunt your growth or is there any other underlying cause of this mystery, let’s find things out…
So Does Gymnastics Stunt Your Growth – Here’s the Truth.
This is one controversial topic that is circulating all around the world. A few people have shared their thoughts that possibly because of intensive training sessions at a very young age, puberty gets a bit delayed. And that may stunt growth.
However, Erlandson did a study on adolescent females who were involved in three types of sports. He tracked the maturation and growth till adulthood of those females. Among these females were tennis players, swimmers, and gymnasts. This 2007 study showed no tempo change of maturation or physical growth with annual measurements for ten years.
Gymnasts had smaller stature while the swimmers and tennis players did not. Even with the similar rigorous training hours, swimmers were in taller percentile, however. Studies also suggest that intense training was not a reason behind a menarche delay.
So, there’s actually no proven science behind the connection between training and growth. Then why is the most gymnast so short if there’s no such connection. Well, possible reason that makes more sense is what will be our discussion for the next para.
A. The Actual Reason Behind Most Gymnasts Being Short.
Taller kids who get into gymnastics are more likely to have a hard time with it. And as a result, it may make them more prone to drop out or look into other suitable sports. For example, swimming. So that they can be more successful at a suitable sport that goes with their build. Unlike gymnastics that prefer kids with a short body.
And this is one good reason why young female athletes often gets selected in a high-level sports team on the basis of their physique, size, and skill. Athletes without this mold fitting ability often can’t enter the high-level training in particular.
And during this selection process, subconsciously the body size is coming into play from very beginning. Parents without even knowing guides their children at pursuing a sport that is more suitable to their physique and the one they’ll be naturally better at.
However, that does not mean taller girls can’t do gymnastics or a short person is unfit for swimming. It’s just that, during the selection process, this is how coaches, parents, and other involved people take decision. The smaller size of a gymnast actually takes place even before training starts. Because in this sport, the smaller you’re, better chance you have to easily move your body.
B. Does Training Affect the Body Though?
Those who have the concern of stunt growth might also want to know whether training has any bad impact on body. Perhaps you are a parent thinking of sending your daughter to one of the gymnastic training but can’t decide due to less idea. Well, this segment should help you a bit.
Usually, people would want to know about long term bone density and if it has an impact from weight-bearing. You may also wonder about the effect on the lungs and heart. In adolescent athletes, strenuous activity actually results in enhanced development. During childhood and adolescence, regular training can be a great way to enhance bone mineral content as well as the mass. And gymnastics involves weight-bearing moves a lot similar to running and soccer.
There are also proven researches that say that sports participation during the pre-pubertal era is very effective to get a great bone density in adulthood. It’s an opportune time to build a physique suitable for activities and sports. Being involved in such active sports is also proven to lessen fracture risk after menopause.
The only possible problem can be overuse injury in young athletes. The more common one is lower back stress-related issues. In growing bones, due to pulling from strong ligaments, there can be growth plate fractures. If this keeps happening repeatedly then ankle, elbow, and knee involved stress fracture are also possible.
So now you know whether does gymnastics stunt your growth or if it’s simply a myth created by people. Your loved small athlete may be a bit late on blooming completely. Don’t assume he or she is experiencing any negative affect from overtraining or dangerous physical involvement. Try to look into things from a different perspective. The below-average size might just be an opportunity that will contribute in near future for his or her success in this sport.