Tom Cruise is known to wear shoes that have an extra sole to give him a bit of height. He is not alone; many people would like to be a bit taller. But the question is, can one increase your height after you have turned 18?
Some people are suggesting a good diet will help, and other are preaching you need to do special exercises to increase your height once you are an adult.
Genetics is a 60 to 80 % contributing factor of your height, but 20 to 40 % is due to environmental factors such as nutrition. This indicates the importance of a good healthy lifestyle, packed with nutritional meals.
It was a recent study that had a population of 18.6 million respondents, which indicated that people were taller in 1996 than they were in 1896. The study pointed towards improved nutritional intake in different countries that lead to the change.
That said, for most people they will not be able to increase their height after the age of 18 to 20 for men, and at 16 for females, when most people’s growth spurs ends, even with a healthy diet.
A reason why people’s growth ends is since your bones, particularly the growth plates that are the areas of specialized cartilage near the end of your long bones. As you grow, your growth plates are still open, but once you hit the end of puberty, the hormonal change causes the growth plates to harden. Thereby they change from open to closed, and the lengthening of the bones will end.
That said, even though your growth ends and there is no more changes for the long bones to increase in length, you will still present different height variations throughout the day of up to 1.5 cm (half an inch). This can be as your spine’s disc compresses, or the impact on the cartilage and fluid in your spine, which can cause slight reductions in height during the day.
The myth that stretching and exercises can make you taller
Hanging, using an inversion table, climbing, and swimming will not increase your height. What these activities do is as your spine compresses during the day, they help to temporary increase your height to some degree. But this is not real change, as the changes will revert back very fast.
Weightlifting exercises will not decrease your height
There is a belief that weight lifting, such as holding dumbbells can decrease your height. This is a concern for especially young adults, which growth plates have not harden yet. True that the cartilage of the plates will be weaker than someone older and as such can be subject to be injured. Still, if the training is conducted in a safe manner and under expert supervision, the training could be to your advantage irrespective of age. In fact, research studies has indicated that your growth is not decreased if you do weight training before adulthood.
The only issues are the lack of expert supervision and the incorrect use of the gum equipment, which could cause damage. But has the growth plates harden, the risk of damage decreases dramatically.
If, however, you develop a herniated disc the size and health of the disc will be compromised and this can cause a decrease in your height.
Take your vitamins and minerals
A healthy, balanced diet is important for more than just your height. But, most children and adults have poor diets. We are not eating right, and therefore lack essential minerals and vitamins, mainly vitamin D and calcium. These two vitamins are vital for bone growth. Nevertheless, if you eat fermented foods like natto, they are packed with vitamin K2, which will remove calcium out of your arteries and place it in your bones, making your bones stronger.
Children will need proper nutrition to ensure they reach their ideal height, but adults, especially females that are at a higher risk for osteoporosis, should also ensure their diet is well balanced. Also that bad lifestyle choices like smoking are avoided, as these can impede growth.
In the end
Your height is limited by your genetics, but with proper nutrition during your growth years, you can maximize your height.
You can do few things to feel tall. Stand tall. A good posture will not only make you look taller, but you will feel more confident. Alternatively, you could try inserting inserts into your shoes, which will raise you an inch. For the females, you can wear higher heels. Also, eat right; get your vitamin D and calcium to prevent any loss of height. And add to that some resistance training. This will make you feel and look your best, irrespective of your actual height.