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Gymnastics Stunt Growth – Physiological reasons explained

Some people think gymnastics stunt growth. Opinions of some of the researchers have confused people who take up gymnastics as a sport. These researchers believe that their intense exercise regimes affect the growth of the body.

A team of researchers led by Ego Seeman, MD, University of Melbourne said that their exercise causes the reduction in the standing and sitting heights and leg length of a gymnast. They said that they witnessed a height growth in retired gymnasts.

 gymnastics stunt growth

We all know that gymnasts do rigorous exercise for more than four hours a day. Researchers are of the opinion that such vigorous exercise affect their normal hormone cycles. They believe that a disruption in the hormone cycles can delay puberty, which might affect their height. Their study confirms that gymnastics stunt growth.

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Numerous studies have also shown that intense exercise regimes of a female gymnast causes menstrual dysfunction and affects the bone health. However, researchers have found that exercise do not affect final height or menstrual cyclicity. However, they also believe that female athletes should not give up their passion for such problems.

A group of researchers measured the sitting height and leg length of 83 active and 42 retired gymnasts. They compared the measurements with those of 154 non-gymnast control subjects. They monitored 21 from the 83 athletes and 110 control subjects for two years. They took their measurements every six months. They witnessed problem in the standing height, sitting height, and leg length of 21 gymnasts. They observed slow growth in the sitting height before 13.5 years. However, their sitting height improved after retirement.

sitting height and leg length

Researchers say that the reduction of sitting height occurs during training. They witnessed growth after they give up gymnastics. Some researchers think gymnastic training does not reduce stature or menstrual dysfunction. Rigorous training causes a delay in puberty. When puberty occurs, they witness a growth in the upper part of the body.

Other researchers say gymnastic does not stunt growth. It does not produce long-term adverse side effects. In fact, this sport helps strengthen bones and build muscles. Short stature helps athletes perform their activity. People with short stature can easily twist and do somersaults. They say it causes a delay of body growth for some time. Gymnasts can catch up within five years after giving up gymnastics.

People like Dr. Robert M. Malina says that there is not enough evidence to suggest such a thing. He is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Texas at Austin. He has observed the growth of young athletes for decades.

Malina and his team have conducted numerous studies to find the effect of gymnastics on women and men. He said that most of these studies were inaccurate. Researchers neglected to consider age and genetic factors. According to Manila, late teens and early-20s women are different animals in many ways. Lumping them together in the same study can throw off results. He is of the opinion that gymnasts did not remain short because of over training; they are short because their parents are short.


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