Regardless of how tall you currently are, I’m certain that at some point in your life, you’ve dreamed about adding some inches.
There are many myths surrounding this topic, most of which are nothing but marketing ploys made by companies who want to exploit people. However, there are certain natural methods that are believed to increase your height, the most common of which is stretching.
So, can stretching really make you taller?
Well, there’s only one way to find out! (hint: keep reading)
Can You Grow Taller by Stretching?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but sadly, stretching won’t add a few inches to your height.
The moment you reach your full physical maturity, which can happen anywhere between 18 and 25 years old, your epiphyseal plates are sealed. Once that happens, there’s literally nothing that you can do which can make you taller, including stretching.
However, stretching does remain a good exercise as it can help you to get a proper posture, which can make you look taller.
BUT, and that’s a big and happy BUT, you still have a chance to increase your height if you haven’t reached your full physical maturity yet.
Curious to know how?
Factors That Determine Height
As babies or children, we continuously grow due to the changes in the growth plates of our leg and arm bones.
Once you’re eight years old, you’ll grow at an average of 2.16 inches (5.5 centimeters) per year. You’ll also experience some sort of a “growth spurt” around puberty.
Shortly after this, most of your growth plates will stop making new bone, and you’ll stop growing as a result. This process starts in the hands and feet, then the arms and legs, and finally, the spine.
Here are the factors that can influence the potential height of a person:
This is the main factor in influencing a person’s height.
Nowadays, scientists have managed to identify well over 700 different genes that determine a person’s height. Some of these genes affect the production of growth hormones, while others can directly affect the growth plates.
You have probably noticed that the average height of people differs from one ethnic group to another. This is a great example of genes in play.
There are also some genetic conditions that can greatly affect a person’s height, such as Down syndrome and Marfan syndrome.
The body continuously produces hormones that give instructions to the growth plates to make new bones. These include:
- Growth hormones: these hormones are produced in the pituitary gland, and as the name already suggests, they are the most important hormone for growth. There are certain health conditions that can limit the production of growth hormones, such as the rare condition known as congenital growth hormone deficiency.
- Sex hormones: Testosterone and estrogen production are detrimental for growth, especially during puberty.
- Thyroid hormones: The thyroid gland produces hormones that influence growth.
It is a known fact that males tend to be taller than females. There is also proof that some males continue growing for much longer than females.
Statistically speaking, an adult male is on average 5.5 inches (or 14 centimeters) taller than an adult female.
When it comes to which factor is the most influential in determining one’s height, nutrition sits right next after genetics.
It has long been concluded that children who don’t receive enough of certain essential nutrients often experience hasty growth.
For example, protein deficiency is the most common cause of stunted growth. Deficiencies in minerals, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D can also affect growth.
A great way to take all the nutrients you need is to add meal replacements like Kachava or Huel to your diet. Meal replacements like Kachava, which as you’ll see in this Kachava review, provide you with all the nutrients you need and is easy and fast to prepare and there are a lot of tasty recipes you can do with it.
In case you didn’t know, most, if not all, of the production of growth hormones and thyroid hormones, happens when you’re asleep.
In other words, not getting enough sleep during your early years of life can be detrimental to your growth. However, this correlation is still subject to doubt by numerous researchers.
As I have mentioned before, there are numerous chronic or genetic conditions that can stunt your growth, including:
- Down Syndrome
- Turner Syndrome
- Marfan Syndrome
- Russell-Silver Syndrome
- Thyroid Disease
- Bone Disease
When Do You Stop Growing in Height?
When do boys and girls stop growing? We start with boys:
At What Age Do Boys Stop Growing?
It has long been proven that boys grow the fastest during their puberty period. Some might begin puberty as early as nine, while others can go through it as late as 15. The general period where boys experience a noticeable growth spurt is between the ages of 12 and 15.
Although puberty lasts differently from one person to another (2 to 5 years), spending more time in puberty doesn’t necessarily equal more height.
Most studies conducted on this topic concluded that the majority of boys only grow a little once they pass the age of 18. However, there are instances of people who continue to grow into their early twenties.
The reason for this sudden yet gradual stop is the fact that the growth plates of most people fuse shortly after their puberty period ends. In case you’re still unfamiliar with what growth plates are, well, they’re layers of cartilage that can be found near the ends of long bones. They’re the only part of the bone that continues growing.
Once a bone starts fusing, it’s the endgame.
At What Age Do Girls Stop Growing?
Similar to boys, girls experience a dramatic increase in growth once they reach puberty. However, this growth spurt is usually not as significant as the boys’.
More often than not, girls will stop growing earlier than boys, around the age of 14 or 15. There have been speculations that stunted growth can be caused by workout and exercise for teenage girls, but these claims are far from founded.
Can You Gain Any Extra Height Before You Stop Growing?
For those of you reading this who haven’t reached your biological limit yet, the answer is yes.
Here are a few steps to follow in order to ensure that you get the most out of your body:
Consume a Balanced Diet
It is important that you get all the nutrients that your body needs during your growing years.
A well-balanced diet should include:
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh fruits
- Dairy foods
- Whole grains
And it shouldn’t include much:
- Trans and saturated fats
That’s why I tried to stop eating sugar entirely and the benefits I got from that were too many to count. Besides, watching your diet helps avoid sudden weight gain (ever woken up and wondered how you gained 2 pounds overnight?) and becoming chubby, which could make you look shorter than you actually are.
However, if you’re someone who’s way past their growth limit (old age), or you have an underlying medical condition that’s affecting your bone density, then it is recommended that:
- Women over the age of 50 and men over the age of 70 consume 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day
- Consume a lot of vitamin D, which can be found in tuna, egg yolks, and fortified milk. This is because Vitamin D heavily promotes bone health.
Use Supplements with Caution
The cases that necessitate the use of supplements are a few. For example, if you’re someone with the condition that affects the production of human growth hormones (HGH), then your doctor might recommend a synthetic HGH supplement.
There are also cases of adults who take calcium or vitamin D supplements to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
If you’re a healthy person, however, then I recommend that you avoid supplements that are marketed towards people wanting to gain height. As I have said before, once your growth places are fused together, there’s nothing on earth that will increase your height, especially not some unreasonably expensive “height-increasing” supplement.
Get the Right Amount of Sleep
Occasionally missing some hours of sleep won’t affect your growth in any way. However, if you find yourself regularly sleeping less than the recommended amount, then some issues might occur.
The relationship between sleep and height/growth is the fact that your body releases human growth hormones (HGH) when you’re asleep. Consequently so, your body might not produce as much HGH if you’re not getting enough sleep.
The suggested hours of sleep per age are 8 to 11 hours for children and teenagers and 7 to 9 hours for adults.
Although unproven, getting some extra sleep might increase HGH production, so keep getting those power naps!
Regularly exercising comes with numerous benefits. Exercise can increase metabolism and thus helping you to lose weight, you can exercise in so many different ways (calisthenics or using weights for example) it strengthens your bones. And, it helps muscle growth in both the lower body like the legs (making it ideal for building bigger quads, calves and hams) and upper body in the long head bicep, chest and shoulders, and even the neck region – although you should use a neck harness if you want a bulky neck.
It also promotes HGH production.
Children should get at least an hour of exercise each day. They should focus on:
- Strength-building exercises (pushups, sit-ups)
- Flexibility exercises (yoga)
- Aerobic exercises (jumping rope, biking, tag)
As an adult, exercising has its benefits too. It’ll improve your overall health for one. It can also reduce the risk of osteopetrosis.
Practice Good Posture
It’s a known fact that having a poor posture can indeed make you look shorter than you truly are. Even worse, over time, slouching can permanently hurt your height.
If you happen to regularly slouch or slump, some of the curves in your back might try to accommodate with the new posture, causing you significant back and neck pain as a result.
In order to avoid this, you’ll need to be vigilant of how you stand, sit, and sleep. You can check with your doctor, and the solution for a bad posture can simply be a memory foam pillow or a standing desk, for example.
I did squats everyday for 3 months and the results I got were amazing. I also tried two other challenges the first one was doing 100 jumping jacks a day and the second challenge was 100 pushups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats for 30 days, these two challenges are great for your posture and also a great way to measure your fitness level before you attempt more advanced exercises.
How Stretching Can Make You Look Taller
What are the ways that stretching can make you look taller
It Can Improve Your Posture
Stretching is an effective way of improving your posture, which makes you appear taller than usual.
It should be done in a methodical way, though. For example, if you find yourself sitting hunched at a desk for most of the week, the muscles that you should focus on when stretching are your pecs.
Additionally, putting a consistent focus on stretching and lengthening your muscles at a young age can help to guard your height once you get older.
As I’ve said before, stretching will definitely not make you taller. However, it can help youlook taller and stay that way, regardless of age.
Stretching Exercises That Help with Posture
Here are a few exercises that help you get a better posture:
- Start with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Place your fingertips on the top of your mat. Make sure your knees and shins are hip-width apart. Put your head in a central, neutral position and look downward.
- Slowly move into a Cow Pose: Simultaneously drop your belly towards the mat and inhale. Lift your chest and chin and gaze upward.
- Broaden across your shoulders to the point where they draw away from your ears.
- Move into Cat Pose: As you’re exhaling, draw your belly to your spine and then round facing the ceiling.
- Release the top of your head to the floor; however, don’t force your chin towards your chest.
- Inhale and return into Cow Pose, then exhale and go into Cat Pose.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps (recommendation: 5 to 20 times).
Standing Hamstring Stretch
- Sit on the floor with both your legs extended upfront.
- Cross your right leg over the left, then place your right foot flat on the mat.
- Place your right hand on the floor behind you.
- Place either your left elbow on your right knee or your left hand on your right quad. Press your right leg to your left as you’re twisting your torso to the right.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
The Standing Hamstring Stretch
- Stand, sit or kneel with feet hip-width apart and arms extended overhead.
- Bend your right elbow and try to touch the top middle of your back with your right hand.
- Try to grasp below your right elbow with your left hand by reaching it overhead.
- Slowly pull your right elbow down towards your head.
- Switch to your left arm and repeat.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
- Sit straight on the floor with your knees bent out to the sides and your soles together.
- Hold onto your feet or ankles, engage your abs, and slowly draw your body toward your feet as much as you can with your knees pressing toward the floor.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
The Butterfly Stretch Exercise
Other more advanced exercises you can try include, planche lean and the superwoman workout, these might require a bit of physical ability though, so if you a beginner you can do wall angels, push ups or planks first to get into the shape needed for these exercises.
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