Have you ever asked yourself- does working out stunt your growth? Exercise is a fantastic way to stay in shape and healthy, and with many different types, there is an exercise for everyone. Working out is often a recommended treatment for many health issues, both psychological and physical, and has been proven to manage and have outstanding effects on one’s overall health.
Exercise can come in numerous forms, and some take it much more seriously than others. But does working out stunt your growth? Athletes, for example, follow a strict regime religiously as it is an important part of their life and career. In contrast, many other people do not have any workout schedule due to busy lifestyles, disability or lack of motivation.
Despite the stigma of exercising causing extensive muscle gains and bulking up anyone who does it, this is not the case. Workout plans can be tailored and altered to suit anybody’s physique, stamina, age, and lifestyle. There are both online classes and ones that can be attended in person who can be very beneficial to those who aren’t sure where to start or need a bit of a boost.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding whether or not exercise is okay for children or those who are still growing. It is believed that excessive or certain workouts can stunt development and growth but let’s take a deeper look into this statement, does working out stunt your growth?
When Can Children Start Exercising?
When young, children get their exercise through playing. Running outside and being active with toys is how children improve their athletic development. However, when they reach the age of 6 or 7, they have a better understanding of how sports and other physical activities work, which is why it is offered in schools and encouraged as extracurriculars. But, many parents may be wondering, does working out stunt your growth or that of your child?
It is vital for children to get enough exercise throughout the day, whether it be through play or other physical activities, as it has many advantages such as;
- Strengthens bones
- Keeps their heart strong and healthy
- Improves coordination
- Reduces risks of heart disease and other illnesses
- Manages healthy weight
- Improves posture
- Helps with flexibility
- Improves balance
- Strengthens lungs
- Helps prevent diabetes
Children are active from a young age, and as they become older, the more active they will become, which is why they are provided with adequate ways to perform the activities needed for their age group. Often around the ages of 11 – 14, they show more interest in organized sports and activities that focus on muscle and strength building.
What Exercises Affect Growth, and Does Working Out Stunt Your Growth?
On the contrary to strength training exercises stunting or affecting growth, this has been proven to be untrue. Many workouts and forms of exercise out there are completely safe for children’s development.
There have been major debates considering whether weight lifting is harmful to children’s growth, but this has been debunked as there is no scientific proof that it causes the epiphyseal plates (growth plates) to close or be negatively affected. This is the same for a lot of other exercises, there is no direct evidence to support the stunting of growth from standard exercise practices.
In retrospect weight lifting is actually a great way to strengthen bone and it is actually considered that sports such as rollerblading, soccer and football can be more harmful solely due to the fact there is a higher risk of breaking or damaging the growth plates.
Of course, there are limitations to the extent of exercise as over-exercising and pushing the body beyond its capabilities can prove to have very negative effects and be harmful to children’s health along with adults. It is best to find adequate workouts and activities that fit the child’s abilities and stamina as using too much energy on exercising can take away important nutrients and energy conservation intended to help development.
What Are Child-Friendly Exercises?
Physicality is an essential part of children’s development and helps keep their body and mind healthy. As parents, we want the best for our kids and this can often cause us to fear activities and situations that may cause harm to them. However, keeping our children in a bubble and away from any forms of slightly dangerous acts will have negative effects on their ability to properly develop mental and physical skills.
If you fear your child playing aggressive sports such as football or wrestling there are an abundance of other ways they can interact and play sports. There are activities and exercises that children enjoy at home too if they are either too young or unable to join in on sports. Some of these homebound activities include;
- Play child-friendly exercise videos and get involved
- Create a fun series of exercises for them to do and mix it up each day.
- Jumping rope
- Dancing to upbeat music
- Place the tape on the floor and teach them to hopscotch
- Yoga is a wonderful way for them to connect both mind and body
- Give each other acts and movements to do and take turns
- Try balancing activities such as on one foot. See who can do them the longest
- Have fun races, such as three-legged, sack, or crab crawl.
- Balloon hot lava. Blow up a balloon and make sure it doesn’t touch the floor
- Create safe and fun obstacle courses outside
If you don’t mind the risks of organized or outside activities and sports then finding a good after-school sport or club for them to join can be beneficial in many ways.
When Can Children Start Sports?
When young, children can be susceptible to injuries as their bones and bodies aren’t as strong as adults yet. Although it is very unlikely that exercise stunts growth there are still other aspects to consider such as injuries, development, and mental exhaustion. Here are 10 sports and their recommended age groups to start;
- Soccer 7-9
- Football 10-12
- Gymnastics 5-6
- Swimming 5-7
- Baseball 4-6
- Karate 4-6
- Ballet 4-8
- Track and field 8
- Tennis 5-6
- Hockey 5
Does working out stunt your growth? It has been believed for a long time that children who start exercising too young will have stunted growth. This is incorrect and finding fitting exercises and sports for your child can be very beneficial for their development.