Does Exercising Slow Down Puberty?

Ah, puberty. It’s one of the ~*joys*~ of growing up. Well, I wouldn’t go that far. But, we still all go through it. Before you go through it, you wonder what it’s going to be like. You might even be excited for it to happen. If you’ve been waiting a while for all those body changes and they aren’t happening to you, you might feel concerned. The feelings will probably get worse if you see your friends going through puberty.

If you’re wondering when your turn is, you might have Googled things that can slow down puberty. You might have seen some wild theories. It’s also likely that you came across something about exercising impacting puberty. If you’re wondering whether getting your fitness on can actually impact puberty, here’s the deal with whether exercising slows down puberty:

Does exercising actually slow down puberty?

You might have heard stories about athletes who didn’t get their period because of their intense workouts. And you probably wondered whether it was legit. Your Hormones reports that excessive exercise can actually cause delayed puberty. FYI: Delayed puberty is defined as, “no secondary sexual maturation or any sign of puberty by the age of 13 years in girls and 14 years in boys.” In girls, that means no breast development, menstruation, etc.

What does exercise really have to do with puberty? explains that girls’ bodies require a certain amount of fat before they can go through puberty or get their periods. If someone is into very intense physical exercise, they might not have enough have fat on their bodies which could explain why puberty is delayed.

Should I stop exercising so I can go through puberty?

Don’t do anything drastic without first discussing it with your doctor. You will want to discuss all types of physical exercise you do including sports, exercising, running, gym class, etc. Your doctor will hopefully be able to provide feedback on whether your exercising is impacting puberty or whether you’re just a late bloomer. He/she will also be able to provide advice on what’s the best thing to do going forward.

Are there any other things that can delay puberty? reports that there are some medical problems that can cause delays in puberty. They include chronic illnesses like kidney disease, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and even asthma.

People who are also malnourished or very underweight can experience delays. This is for the same reason athletes can have delayed puberty because they don’t have enough body fat.

You could also be late bloomer. Speak to your family about whether your relatives have a history of being late developers. Your Hormones points out that in over 90 percent of cases, delayed puberty is actually due to “constitutional delay.” This means puberty occurs in children who are healthy but simply have a slower rate of physical development than average.

If I don’t want to go through puberty now, should I start exercise to slow it down?

Hold up, girl. You don’t want to do anything drastic. Exercise and physical activity are built up so you don’t want to start doing intense workouts without building up to them because that could lead to injury or other issues. What’s more, you shouldn’t feel that you have to delay puberty. Everyone goes through it and now is your time. It shows your body is developing the way it should. You shouldn’t change that.

Anything else?

You shouldn’t stress when you’re going through puberty. Whether you go through it earlier, later, or the same time as people your age, there’s nothing to worry about. If you are concerned, don’t make any drastic lifestyle changes before speaking to your doctor.

What else have you wondered about puberty? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Heather Cichowski, on Twitter.


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