It is widely acknowledged that certain types of exercise may have a marginal impact on height gain, but the prevailing question remains: Does hitting the gym halt your vertical growth? Is it merely a misconception that intense gym workouts seriously impede your journey to greater stature? Join us as we delve deeper into this age-old myth to uncover the truth.
The Origin of the Gym-Height Growth Myth
Our journey takes us back to 1964 in Japan, the birthplace of this enduring myth. Researchers at the time observed a curious phenomenon: children who engaged in strenuous physical activities during their growth years tended to be shorter in stature. Their hypothesis posited that such demanding physical exertion during the growth phase might potentially harm the growth plates, causing premature closure and consequently hindering height development. However, what these researchers failed to account for was a critical variable: the widespread malnourishment prevalent among Japanese children during that era. It has since been established that malnutrition was a primary contributing factor to their diminished stature.
Regrettably, articles and magazines of the time persisted in propagating the idea that gym workouts had detrimental effects on height. These misconceptions were further perpetuated through casual conversations among friends, cementing the myth’s popularity.
In conclusion, the belief that rigorous gym workouts curtail height growth is rooted in a historical misunderstanding, overlooking the profound impact of malnutrition on Japanese children’s growth during the 1960s. This myth, while persisting for decades, warrants reevaluation in light of our modern understanding of nutrition and exercise science.
So, do you stop growing if you go to the gym?
Many still reckon that exercising in the gym affects the chance of their growth plates to function. It is because there are heavy vertical impact exercises in the gym, which often lead to confusion about hindering height growth.
But no scientific study or evidence is supporting this gym myth.
So, if you exercise at the gym properly, just feel assured that your body will be trained for health and endurance, as well as no bad effect on height. However, if performing in the wrong way, children and teens in the growing age group will deal with the danger of damaging the growth plate.
15-30% of fractures in children relate to this cartilage plate since this area is softer and more susceptible than others. That is why it can be damaged by external influences. But that does not mean that teens in puberty should limit gymnastics for strength training simply because they might damage the growth plates. There are always safe gym exercises for children under 18 as long as they know how to do them at a moderate intensity and with the right technique and guidance.
The truth is that if you follow properly designed workouts at the gym, you get benefits, like lowering sports injury rates and fracture damage, promoting bone strength and endurance, and supporting mental health for a healthy lifestyle.
A couple of notes to work out properly at the gym
Make sure to follow the notes mentioned below to encourage the benefits of gym exercises.
- Do warm-up exercises to make the body more flexible as well as prevent undesirable injuries during exercise.
- Aside from selecting the proper exercise, you should pay attention to the right technique, or your body might face the risk of injury.
- Avoid maintaining an extreme exercise intensity. In addition to setting a suitable workout schedule, you should have a certain amount of rest to allow your bones and muscles to relax, recover, and grow.
- Consume a balanced and nutritious diet to support your exercise regime. Ensure to add enough protein, dairy products, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.
- Set a healthy lifestyle by maintaining physical activities, sleeping enough 7-8 hours every night, limiting alcohol, avoiding using stimulants, etc.
What is the suitable age to join a gym?
Our body spends through many changes from the time we are born until reaching puberty. But at the age of 17 to 18, the body starts becoming mature to perform vigorous exercises at the gym. Although there is no factor for determining the right age for joining the gym, it is suggested that you should visit it at 18+. And remember to find yourself a well-qualified trainer. He/she will design and suggest safe and proper exercise for your body.
Nowadays, you easily catch kids as young as 14-15 years old exercising at the gym. But it seems to be a fashion trend rather than a fitness regime. Moreover, gym owners allow them to work out to increase profits. At this age, stressing the body at the gym makes no sense since all they need is good nutrition. It is fine for them to do light workouts at the gym to be fit, yet make sure to avoid deadlifts or weighted squats until 17.
Does weightlifting stop height growth?
The truth is that children during their growing years, whose height is still increasing by genetic factors, should not involve the heaviest weights in their workout training. Instead, they should enjoy the benefits of performing their favorite exercise with proper guidance. Also, do not miss some tips below to lift weights safely.
Give the body time to strengthen its strength
Lifting heavy weights for the first time is not an overnight thing. The best thing is to start with moderate weights and do it slowly. This is more beneficial than trying weights that are so heavy, making the musculoskeletal system prone to damage.
Do not focus on getting “big” when lifting weights
Children should not lift weights with the desire to promote muscle mass and tone muscles. Note that weightlifting helps to promote the growth of muscle tissues and improve overall fitness.
Do not weightlift at a young age
As mentioned above, teens under 17 should be careful when lifting weights. In case they want to train, make sure to have a personal trainer to help them perform the correct technique.
How about squats? Do squats make you shorter?
Most gym people must have done squats in the gym since this exercise is essential for the lower body and overall development of the legs. Moreover, it helps improve posture, making a person stand straight and tall. But if you are using an excessive amount of weight while squatting, it will bring a lot of pressure on your intervertebral fibrocartilage, affecting your posture in the long run badly.
To sum up,
We hope you have totally understood every aspect which we tried to explain above. And remember that if you are still in your growing years, make sure you are supervised by a well-trained coach when you want to join a gym. Generally, exercising in the gym is good for health in adulthood and has no issues with height reduction as supposed.