Many people wish to change their physical appearance, and height is one attribute that often comes up. The idea of being able to make yourself a few inches taller through stretching has been around for years.
Nonetheless, while stretching can make you look taller, you cannot increase your height. Now let us discuss and explore further.
Does stretching make you taller?
No, stretching doesn’t make you taller, but it can help you look taller by improving your posture. When you slouch, you look shorter, but stretching helps you stand up straighter and walk taller, making you feel like you are taller.
However, in children, stretching promotes healthy bone and muscle development, aiding in growing taller indirectly.
Factors that influence a person’s height
Age is a significant factor that affects a person’s height. Children grow approximately 1 inch per year from age 1 until puberty.
According to a study National Library of Medicine: Advances in pubertal growth and factors influencing it: Can we increase pubertal growth?, during adolescence, a growth spurt occurs, resulting in a rapid and intense increase in height and weight. Thus, during this period, the growth rate can reach up to 4 inches per year, and then it slows down around age 17-18.
Along with age, several other factors influence a person’s height. Here is a list:
Gender is a crucial factor that affects a person’s height. On average, males tend to be 5-10 inches taller than females. This difference is mainly due to hormones, with testosterone playing a significant role in promoting growth.
Thus, it is clear that a person’s genes play an important role in determining one’s height.
Good nutrition is crucial in achieving one’s potential height, as it plays a vital role in childhood growth.
Consuming essential vitamins and minerals can significantly contribute to tall stature, while deficiencies in certain nutrients can lead to stunted growth. Vitamin A National Library of Medicine: What is vitamin A and why do we need it?, in particular, aids in the development of bone and muscle tissue, making it essential for growth.
4. Exercise and physical activity
Physical activity plays a significant role in determining childhood growth and height by promoting the production of growth hormones.
Children who engage in physical activity and have bones with open growth plates experience more growth than those who are physically inactive.
Once the growth plates close, further growth in height is not possible. Thus, to increase height before reaching adulthood, stretching exercises are essential.
5. Certain medical conditions
Medical conditions such as Gigantism, Untreated celiac disease, Cancer, Dwarfism, Arthritis, Down syndrome, and Turner syndrome, as well as prolonged steroid use, can affect a person’s height potential.
Height loss in adulthood
It’s common to notice that some people appear taller in their twenties than in their forties. This is because some individuals experience height loss as they age, often due to poor nutrition and medical conditions such as osteoporosis.
However, there are ways to prevent or minimize this loss of height in adulthood, including:
- Maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet
- Regular physical activity
- Adequate sleep and rest
- Avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol
- Drinking enough water and fluids
Stretches to help your posture look taller
Strengthening and stretching the back, chest, core, hip flexors, and glutes can improve posture and make you look slightly taller.
Tight hip flexors pull the pelvis forward, causing a slouching appearance, while weak glutes lead to a posterior pelvic tilt, making you look shorter.
Incorporating stretches for these muscle groups can relieve muscle tension, reduce spinal curvature and help you appear taller.
The glute bridge exercise is a popular stretch that can improve posture and make you appear taller. It is known for its benefits, such as toning the glutes, reducing back pain, and improving overall posture.
This move involves hip flexor stretch that increases the flexibility in the back, which can elongate entire body especially the lower back and thighs.
- To perform this exercise, lie on your back with arms by your side and palms down.
- Bend your knees and place feet hip-width apart.
- Slowly lift your hips and knees, keeping your back stretched and parallel to the floor.
- Hold for 30-60 seconds, then release and repeat for 10-12 reps.
The Child’s Pose is an excellent yoga pose for improving spinal alignment and reducing tension in the back muscles.
By elongating the spine, it can also helping you in standing tall. This deep-seated stretches and lengthens your spine, glutes, and hamstrings, aiding in the release of stress in your lower back and neck.
- To perform Child’s Pose, begin by sitting on your heels with knees hip-width apart and big toes touching.
- As you exhale, bow forward from your hips and bring your forehead to the mat.
- You can rest your arms by your sides or extend them in front of you with palms flat on the mat.
- Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then slowly sit back on your heels to release the pose and bring your arms by your sides.
Pilates roll over
The Pilates roll-over exercise can stretch the spine and upper body, leading to a taller appearance.
It can also elongate the neck’s vertebrae and improve posture. Furthermore, Pilates can also assist with weight loss when paired with a nutritious diet.
- To do this stretch, lie on your back with arms at your sides and palms down.
- Straighten and raise your legs towards the ceiling, keeping them together.
- Extend your legs a little and tilting your pelvis backward.
- Then, gently move your legs up and over your head while keeping your hands on the mat.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and slowly lower your legs until they are parallel to the ground.
Myths about stunted growth
There are several myths surrounding stunted growth, including:
- Weight lifting and strength training can stunt growth: This is not true. Weightlifting and strength training, when done correctly and under the guidance of a professional, can, in fact, promote bone structure and muscle growth.
- Specific food can stunt growth: Eating a balanced diet is essential for growing taller, but no evidence suggests that any specific food can stunt growth. Some people also believe that certain foods can help you grow taller, but this is also a myth.
- Prolonged can make you shorter: Sitting for extended periods may compress the spine but has no evidence of influencing bone length or height.
Stretching can help you look taller by improving your posture, but it will not make you grow any taller. If you want to look tall and reduce muscle tension, incorporate stretches like glute bridges, child’s pose, and Pilates roll-over into your daily routine.
|↑1||National Library of Medicine: Advances in pubertal growth and factors influencing it: Can we increase pubertal growth?|
|↑2||KidsHealth: Growth and Your 13- to 18-Year-Old|
|↑3||PubMed: Genetics of human height|
|↑4||National Library of Medicine: What is vitamin A and why do we need it?|
|↑5||University of Rochester Medical Center: Acquired Hypothyroidism in Children|