Load stimulates bone to grow.
This leads to interesting results. For example, violinists have longer fingers, tennis and handball players have longer a dominant hand, jumpers and athletes have stronger leg bones.123 They all load different bones, which eventually lengthen.
There are 2 sources of load:4
- Gravity. We experience its effects constantly.
- Muscles. Muscle tension compresses and decompresses the skeleton during physical activity.
Gravity is the main helper in strengthening bones and accumulating minerals in them. To fully utilize it, make jumping and striking movements.
A hypogravitational environment better promotes elongation. For example, in water, we do not have to overcome vertical resistance, and at the same time, muscles can push bones to lengthen. Looks good, right? But the downside is that this often does not lead to bone strengthening.
Combine high impact and stretching exercises. The more the bones lengthen, the more you need to accumulate minerals in them. Otherwise, you risk suffering from fractures, especially in old age.
Johansson, F. R., Skillgate, E., Adolfsson, A., Jenner, G., De Bri, E., Swärd, L., & Cools, A. M. (2017). Asymptomatic elite young tennis players show lateral and ventral growth plate alterations of proximal humerus on MRI. Knee surgery, sports traumatology, arthroscopy : official journal of the ESSKA, 25(10), 3251–3259. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-016-4024-2 ↩
Gomez-Bruton, A., Montero-Marín, J., González-Agüero, A., García-Campayo, J., Moreno, L. A., Casajús, J. A., & Vicente-Rodríguez, G. (2016). The Effect of Swimming During Childhood and Adolescence on Bone Mineral Density: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 46(3), 365–379. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-015-0427-3 ↩
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