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How do we grow and what does stretching has to do with it?

  1. Sep 5, 2007 #1
    As we age till an age(what is it again? 16?) We tend to become faster, stronger, taller, etc. But what is it that makes us grow? And why do stop growing? Why does stretching helps us grow?

    There are exercises that I do which is weight lifting through stretching(put weight in arms then stretch by it) It makes me strong as I can then lift weights that I couldn't before. But I don't like plainly lifting weights because it stiffens my muscles up instead of relaxing them.(since relaxed muscles are good for my athlecity in table tennis, being able to move faster, etc.) So what I am wondering is that if both of them makes my arm stronger, what is the difference between them. Ex. pull ups vs. Snatch
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 6, 2007 #2


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    Growth is mainly genetically determined. Some things can adversely affect growth, such as poor nutrition or hormone imbalances, but stretching and exercise will not help you grow any more. You stop growing when the epiphyseal plates in your long bones fuse, preventing further elongation.

    You seem to have a lot of questions lately related to growth, exercise, muscles, etc. Have you ever taken a proper biology course? If not, you should take one...many of your questions would be answered and with your current curiousity, you'd likely enjoy learning the material.
  4. Sep 7, 2007 #3
    My questions are actually almost done now and yes, I have taken Bio and AP Bio in high school and I have studied bio on my own and am taking bio 200: physiology and anatomy in college and am wondering what I want to do w/ my life. But I didn't learn about these things in those classes.

    Btw, why does that fuse? Why can't it keep growing?
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2007
  5. Sep 8, 2007 #4


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    Perhaps an exercise physiology class would be interesting too, then.

    I don't know that answer. I'd have to dig around and see if any of that mechanism is known. I do know that the fusion occurs following the pubertal growth spurts, so it may be a hormone-dependent process, but would have to see if there is anything known about the details of that process.
  6. Sep 8, 2007 #5
    When it grow, does it only make the bones longer or also wider? I guess what I am trying to say is that if it doesn't stop, would that be a problem? does it grow out of the proportion?(I am guessing it does)
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2007
  7. Sep 8, 2007 #6
    Bones grow both ways. Look up endochondral bone formation. That's the method used by our long bones (arm bones, leg bones, maybe some others I'm not thinking of at the moment). Mostly, the growth is in length -- one end of the bone has a non-calcified region (of cartilage?) that can stretch and call in new bone cells so that lengthening can occur. Eventually, ossification of the entire end of that bone occurs, and then it doesn't grow anymore.

    Yes, if bones either stop growing too soon or too late, we have problems. Unless I'm mistaken, you can find good examples of this with achondroplasia and Marfan's Syndrome.
  8. Sep 9, 2007 #7
    Yeah but what makes the ossification begin?
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