Sports That Can Stunt Your Growth

The impact of physical activity on human height has captivated parents and health enthusiasts across generations. Recognizing the vital role of exercise in a child’s development, many parents encourage their children to participate in sports early on, hoping to optimize their height growth. However, not all sports contribute equally to height promotion; some may inadvertently hinder a child’s growth. To delve into this intriguing topic, this article explores the nuances surrounding the relationship between sports and height.

Scientific studies indicate that engaging in at least one hour of daily exercise can result in three times greater growth hormone production compared to those who are inactive. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to note that exercises or sports aimed at increasing height should be performed correctly for optimal results. Contrary to common beliefs, not all sports are equally effective in fostering height growth.

Sports That Can Stunt Your Growth
Sports That Can Stunt Your Growth

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Marathon running

Jogging is often hailed as a beneficial sport for both health and height growth. However, the same cannot be said for marathon running, which is considered less favorable for height development. The extensive distance of a marathon, covering up to 42,195 kilometers, demands a substantial expenditure of energy from runners.

A study conducted by Swansea University in the UK revealed that marathon runners could experience a temporary reduction in height by approximately 1 cm after completing the race. The intense nature of marathon running compresses the discs in the vertebrae, leading to this height decrease. Although the compression typically resolves within a day, it can still impact height growth. Prolonged and continuous compression of the vertebrae may hinder the optimal mineralization of cartilage into bones, essential for proper height development.

Furthermore, the excessive energy depletion from activities like marathon running can induce a state of fatigue in the body. This fatigue, in turn, affects eating and resting patterns, exerting additional adverse effects on height growth. Therefore, while jogging is generally considered conducive to both health and height, marathon running may pose challenges and should be approached with consideration for its potential impact on overall well-being and growth.

Marathon running
Marathon running


Gymnastics involves physical exercises utilizing gym equipment and machines to expend energy, sculpt well-proportioned and toned bodies, and eliminate excess flab. The proliferation of gyms serves as a clear testament to the widespread adoption of this form of exercise, recognized for its positive impact on health. While gymnastics is highly beneficial, it is essential to acknowledge that not everyone can engage in it, and improper execution can lead to severe consequences for height growth.

Participating in gymnastics demands substantial strength to manipulate gym machines and lift weights. For individuals with bones and joints that have not reached full growth, this exertion can compress articular cartilage, hindering normal growth. When bones and joints fail to grow, the likelihood of achieving increased height becomes nearly nonexistent. Consequently, experts advise against gymnastics during puberty to safeguard the well-being of bones, joints, and overall height.


Artistic figure skating

Artistic figure skating is a highly challenging sport that seamlessly blends athleticism, grace, and artistic expression on the ice. Skaters typically commence their training during childhood, investing extensive hours in refining their routines. While the sport brings about various physical and mental advantages, it also introduces distinctive challenges concerning the growth and development of young skaters.

Artistic figure skating demands a delicate balance between technical precision and artistic flair, requiring skaters to master intricate movements and routines. The dedication and discipline required to excel in the sport often lead young skaters to devote significant time and effort to training.

However, the intensive nature of figure skating can have implications for the growth and development of young athletes. The physical demands of the sport, including jumps, spins, and intricate footwork, may impact the musculoskeletal system. Skaters may face challenges related to bone density, joint development, and the overall growth process.

Despite these challenges, the sport provides a myriad of benefits, fostering physical fitness, coordination, and mental resilience. The combination of strength, flexibility, and artistic expression makes artistic figure skating a unique and captivating discipline. To navigate the potential challenges associated with growth and development, skaters, coaches, and parents alike must strike a balance between rigorous training and ensuring the overall well-being of young athletes in this demanding but rewarding sport.

Artistic figure skating
Artistic figure skating

Martial arts

Many parents nowadays encourage their children to engage in early martial arts training, aiming to enhance self-defense skills and promote overall health. However, what they may not be aware of is the potential impact of early martial arts practice on their children’s height growth.

Intensive martial arts training can lead to the development of harder and firmer bones in children. While this may seem advantageous, especially in terms of self-defense, it has implications for height growth. In children below the age of puberty, the increased hardness and firmness of bones may inhibit the growth of cartilage at the epiphyses, resulting in shorter diaphyses compared to those who do not practice martial arts or opt for different sports.

Martial arts involve fast and powerful movements, exposing practitioners to high-intensity impacts. In response, the body adapts by thickening the bones to withstand this pressure, prioritizing thickness over length in bone growth. Children engaged in martial arts utilize a significant amount of calcium in the bone membranes to reinforce the outer structure. This calcium consumption leaves the cartilages at the epiphyses deficient, imposing limitations on height growth.

In light of these considerations, parents should be mindful of the potential effects of early martial arts training on the growth patterns of their children and weigh the benefits against the impact on height development.

Martial arts
Martial arts


The mechanical stress exerted on the developing bones and joints of young weightlifters can impact the growth plates, which are regions of cartilage located at the ends of long bones responsible for longitudinal growth. Subjecting these growth plates to excessive weight or improper lifting form has the potential to disrupt their normal development.

The growth plates, also known as epiphyseal plates, play a crucial role in the growth and elongation of bones during adolescence. They consist of cartilage that gradually ossifies into bone as individuals mature. During weightlifting, especially with heavy loads or improper technique, the stress on these growth plates may lead to various issues.

Overloading the growth plates with excessive weight can result in damage to the cartilage, potentially affecting the normal growth process of the bones. Improper form, such as lifting with incorrect posture or using improper technique, may also contribute to increased stress on the growth plates, heightening the risk of disruptions to their development.

It is essential for young lifters to prioritize proper technique, gradual progression in weightlifting, and supervision from qualified trainers or coaches. This approach helps mitigate the risk of placing undue stress on the growth plates and ensures a more optimal balance between strength training and the healthy development of bones and joints during the crucial growth period.


Professional ballet

The emphasis on maintaining a particular body type, combined with the rigorous demands of perfecting intricate choreography, can impact the timing and pace of an individual’s growth during their formative years. Consequently, professional ballet dancers may undergo variations in their height and physical development compared to peers who are not involved in such intensive training.

The discipline of ballet places a premium on a slender and elongated physique, often leading dancers to adhere to strict standards of body shape and size. The pursuit of these ideals, along with the demanding nature of ballet training, can influence the growth patterns of individuals immersed in the art form.

The repetitive and physically demanding nature of ballet movements, such as jumps, turns, and extensions, may impact the musculoskeletal system and potentially affect bone density and joint development. The dedication required to excel in ballet may contribute to alterations in the typical growth trajectory experienced by individuals who are not engaged in such specialized training.

It’s important to recognize that these variations in height and physical development are often part of the unique journey of professional ballet dancers. While the pursuit of artistic excellence in ballet demands certain sacrifices, including potential changes in growth patterns, it is a testament to the dedication and passion that dancers bring to their craft.

Professional ballet
Professional ballet

Extreme calisthenics

Extreme calisthenics, marked by highly demanding bodyweight exercises and intense training regimens, has the potential to impact growth, especially when pursued without proper supervision and attention to nutrition. This type of exercise involves advanced bodyweight movements, static holds, and high-intensity interval training.

While calisthenics can provide various health benefits, the extreme nature of certain routines may subject the body to additional stress, particularly in adolescents and young individuals who are still in the process of growing.

The intense physical demands of extreme calisthenics can potentially influence factors related to growth, including bone density and joint health. Overexertion without adequate recovery and nutritional support may have implications for the overall well-being of individuals engaging in such strenuous activities.

It is crucial for those involved in extreme calisthenics, especially younger practitioners, to approach their training with caution, ensuring proper form, gradual progression, and sufficient attention to recovery. Adequate supervision from qualified trainers or coaches, coupled with a balanced and nutritious diet, can help mitigate the potential risks associated with extreme calisthenics and support healthy growth and development.


Diving is an exhilarating sport that seamlessly blends grace, precision, and athleticism. However, it is important to acknowledge that divers, especially those engaged in competitive diving, frequently encounter distinctive challenges pertaining to their physical development and height.

The requirements of diving, such as mastering complex aerial maneuvers, refining entry techniques, and ensuring impeccable form, necessitate rigorous training starting from a young age. This intensive training regimen often leads to extended periods spent outside the water, particularly on dry land for practice sessions and perfecting diving techniques.

The nature of competitive diving demands not only skillful execution in the water but also disciplined and repetitive training on land to enhance performance. This can potentially influence the growth patterns of divers, affecting aspects of their physical development, including bone density and joint health.

Despite these challenges, the discipline and dedication required in competitive diving contribute to the development of a unique set of skills and abilities. The exhilarating nature of the sport, combined with the commitment to perfecting techniques, showcases the athleticism and precision that make diving a captivating and rewarding endeavor.

In conclusion,

The preceding information highlights several physical activities that could potentially have a negative impact on height growth. Therefore, it is crucial to exercise caution and discretion when participating in these sports, moderating involvement levels and using appropriate techniques. Even if there is a strong passion for these athletic pursuits, it is essential not to overindulge, as doing so may hinder the prospect of achieving greater height.

The overarching message to take away from this discussion revolves around the concept of balance. It is vital to remember that engaging in physical activity is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, and the world of sports offers numerous advantages beyond its potential impact on height. The choices made, whether as parents guiding our children’s development or as individuals navigating our own fitness journeys, should involve informed decision-making and mindfulness.

Therefore, if a child aspires to pursue a career in athletics, there is no need to be discouraged by concerns about potential height restrictions. Instead, it is essential to explore the myriad opportunities available and seek guidance from experts to make wise choices. Ultimately, the journey in the realm of sports is not solely defined by how tall one stands; it is an extraordinary odyssey that embodies determination, discipline, and passion, cultivating champions in every conceivable sense of the term.


What sport makes shorter?

Engaging in certain sports that involve repetitive, high-impact activities, such as weightlifting, gymnastics, or extreme calisthenics, may potentially have an impact on height and could lead to stunted growth.

Which sport affects height?

Sports like weightlifting, gymnastics, and extreme calisthenics may affect height, particularly if practiced intensively or with improper techniques, putting additional stress on the developing bones and joints.

Which sport is best for short height?

While there is no specific sport that guarantees an increase in height, activities like swimming, cycling, and yoga are generally considered beneficial for overall health without exerting excessive stress on growth plates.

In what sports is it better to be short?

Sports such as gymnastics, diving, and weightlifting often favor individuals with shorter stature due to factors like agility, strength-to-weight ratio, and biomechanics.

Do any sports stunt growth?

Certain sports, especially those with high-impact and repetitive movements, may potentially stunt growth if not practiced with caution and proper supervision, particularly during periods of growth, such as adolescence.

Do athletic kids grow taller?

Engaging in sports and physical activities can contribute positively to overall health, but there’s no guaranteed direct correlation between athletic participation and increased height. Genetics, nutrition, and overall well-being play significant roles in a child’s growth.

This article is shared by Silas, an expert and admin of the website, who has many years of experience in the field of maternal and child health.

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