Live Science—August 4, 2016
Live Science reports on how gymnasts' feats of flexibility and strength make their sport one of the most popular to watch during the Summer Olympics.
How are these athletes so flexible? Female gymnasts tend to have smaller, more agile bodies because they exercise at intense levels which tends to delay puberty.
"Puberty is delayed in young athletes in part, because the body needs a certain amount of fat to go through puberty, which these young athletes don't have because they burn so many calories," said Sabrina Strickland, MD, sports medicine surgeon at HSS.
Puberty in girls leads to a growth spurt and weight gain, both of which are delayed in many gymnasts, added Dr. Strickland.
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