Many short people tend to get disappointed with their height. There is, in fact, no need to have this feeling. Height is just a number. It never comes in between you and your success. It is just the social pressure that you feel you should be taller. But if despite this, you want to increase your height; your dream might come true!
At what age did you stop growing? Most of you may say and believe, you stop growing at the age of 18 years. However, if you didn’t know, you can grow a few inches even after 18 years of age. This can be done easily by incorporating a few healthy habits in your life and changing your lifestyle a bit for better!
Although the physical growth halts to a certain extent when you enter into the adulthood, your body has the ability to produce and respond to the hormones in a positive way. It will be indeed beneficial for short people when they can grow from 2 to 6 inches taller. A clear understanding about the determinants of your height can be helpful in finding and choosing the right solution to increase your height.
What determines your height?
Height is a polygenic trait, influenced by more than one gene. Some of these genes do not have even direct connection to height. If seen in percentage, 60-80% of the difference in height among individuals is determined by genetic factors. The remaining 20-40% is due to environmental effects, mainly nutrition. There’s also a hormone produced in the body which plays important role in determining your height. It is called Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
1. Human Growth Hormone and Height
Pituitary gland produces human growth hormone. However, the natural production of this hormone declines with age. It’s progressive deficiency begins when you are in your 20s. Stress, emotional trauma, diet and aging etc. affect the quantity of HGH production in your body. Changes in some lifestyle factors, like sleep and stress management, as well as right nutrition can cause the pituitary gland to secrete more Human Growth Hormone. This will help you increase your height by about couple of inches.
2. Height and Genetic Factor
As mentioned earlier, 60-80 percent of your height is basically determined by genetic factor. However, it is no where possible to predict your height, neither precisely nor approximately. This is because hundreds of genes are associated with height. If both, your father and mother are short, it is not necessary that you will also be short and vice versa. You can see a lot of siblings in varying heights. Therefore, just genes are not what increase your height but they are one of the most important factors in determining height.
3. Non-Genetic Factors and Height
Non-genetic factors do have a direct or an indirect impact on the overall growth of your body, which may dramatically affect your height too. A lot of factors affect you when you grow up such as nutrition, exercises, etc. Being tall is apparently associated with growth which in turn depends upon genes as well as environmental factors. A child who looks very short until teenage may grow-up taller during teenage. On the other hand, a child who seems to be taller among his peers, may stop growing during teenage.
In most cases, non-genetic factors that affect the growth and height are completely within control. Following are some of the factors that may impact your height.
This is for the parents and soon to be parents:
- Poor prenatal and post natal care
- Low birth weight
- Smoking by parents
- Obese baby or childhood obesity
- Obese mother during pregnancy who suffered from malnutrition
- Nutritional deficiencies during childhood (for instance, calcium deficiency obviously affect your bones and impact the growth)
How to Increase your Height?
There are quite a few ways by which you can try to increase your height. Following are a few simple ways you can give a try to increase your height.
Efforts for increasing your height can be classified under three broad categories.
Changing the lifestyle habits and dietary habits that fall under these categories can help you increase your height.
1. Sleep, Human Growth Hormone and Height!
To increase your height, your body should secrete sufficient HGH which is also influenced by sleep!
I. The link between HGH and sleep
The body repairs and regenerates tissues itself when you take rest. In other terms, the damaged cells and tissues get repaired to perfection when you have adequate sleep. HGH is produced by the body without any difficulties during deep and undisturbed sleep. To encourage the production of HGH in your body, you should ensure to get sound sleep.
II. Sleeping is healthy and essential
When it comes to rest and sleep, it just goes without a need to say anything else, sleep is essential part of healthy growth. Lack of sleep or poor sleep patterns have direct and immediate impact on your health. Even when you wake-up a couple of hours early than usual, you may feel too tired and exhausted. So, sleep is inevitable and healthy!
III. Minimum 8 hours to Maximum 10 hours
Many research findings suggest that 8 hours of sleep is essential. A few may feel fresh and energetic even with 5 to 6 hours of sleep. However, 8 hours of sleep is an average standard which is believed to be essential and you should not compromise with it. When it comes to teenagers and those who have just crossed teenage, they need around 10 hours of sleep daily (studies show, most teenagers need exactly 9 ¼ hours of sleep!) Thus, sleeping for around 10 hours appear to be far more effective in promoting health and growth, especially for teenagers.
IV. How to sleep to stimulate HGH production?
- Focus on getting uninterrupted sleep (don’t sleep during noon and avoid short naps to ensure you sleep without any disturbances at night)
- Develop a sleeping schedule. (Sleep and wakeup at the same time daily to enhance the body functions)
- Avoid taking coffee or tea at night as it impacts sleep negatively
- Keep the bedroom atmosphere dark, cozy and free from disturbances
- Eliminate the unwanted lights, noises, etc. This includes your gadgets too.
- Keep the television, laptops and phones switched off! (Say no to blue light in bedroom)
- Drink a glass of milk or chamomile tea to induce sound sleep
2. How to Eat Healthy to Increase your Height
Healthy eating is quintessential to support proper growth and managing your body without any diseases. Even during the phase of growth until teenage as well as after you reach adulthood, eating nutrient rich foods keeps your body functions intact. The basics of healthy eating is all about eating nutritious foods from all natural sources and avoiding junk foods! To increase your height, focus more on the following healthy eating tips:
I. Fuel your body with carbohydrates
If you could recall what you studied in the high school, you won’t avoid carbs! Carbohydrates are energy giving foods and not high calorie foods, at least for the sake of proper growth. Avoiding carbs definitely impact the growth and height. Carbohydrate foods fuel the body and provide energy for growth. But don’t go for simple carbs like sugar. Have the complex carbs like wholegrain, starchy vegetables and brown rice to get enough carbs.
II. Pump up the protein
While carbs give you energy, proteins build your body. It is like a strong concrete to a construction. Proteins facilitate the strong building blocks for fuller growth. Meat and poultry are rich in proteins. If you are a vegetarian, eat a lot of legumes to get protein.
III. Get plenty of calcium
Calcium is the key to bone health. It not only promotes bone health, but also aids fuller growth. Check the calcium levels in the body, if it is low, increase the calcium intake. Dairy foods and dark green veggies contain a lot of calcium. Make it a habit of eating dark greens daily with all your meals.
IV. Eat Zinc
Zinc deficiency is directly linked with stunted growth in children. Zinc builds your bone tissues. So, include foods rich in zinc namely, nuts, oysters, eggs, asparagus, peas, etc. in your diet, daily.
V. Be strong with and like Iron
Iron is the powerhouse of nutrients! Low iron levels bring a lot of health problems. Women are prone more to iron deficiency. Low iron also impacts your growth and you will have no energy. Adequate iron in the body makes you stronger. Include iron rich foods like beets, spinach, dark green leafy vegetables, beans, figs etc. in your daily diet.
VI. Niacin or Vitamin B3
Vitamin B3 levels in the body is linked with the secretion of Human Growth Hormones. It increases the production of HGH and helps you grow. Niacin is found in beans, cheese, potatoes and broccoli etc.
VII. Soak in the sun for free sunshine vitamin
Well it’s not eating but yes it’s essential to get vitamin D.
Vitamin D! The sunshine vitamin is available in abundance, for free! Vitamin D is not only essential for calcium absorption, but also essential to regulate many vital functions. Vitamin D is essential even for adults and elders to manage stronger and healthy bones. This influences your height too.
Get sun exposure, preferably in the mornings for 15 to 30 minutes.
On a whole, eating a well-balanced diet can help you grow taller and increase your height.
3. Exercises and Activities to Increase your Height
Make exercising a part and parcel of your life. Even when you have reached your growth age, or are in the verge of ending your teen years, exercises combined with good diet should help you increase your height.
Exercise is a broad term that includes workouts, yoga practice, and sports etc. There are no scientific evidences that exercises can stimulate your body and increase your height. Indirectly, exercising helps through stretches, and make you grow a few inches taller.
The link between exercises and increase in height is stretching and toning of body. It also stimulates the glands and secretes healthy hormones; keeps you healthy, energetic and strong.
However, don’t expect to increase your height when you are in 30s or 40s. The younger you are, more chances you have to increase your height.
Top Exercises to Increase Your Height
Young adults and growing teens (even the kids under age of 10) can try these exercises to increase their height and grow tall.
Swimming is one of the most effective exercises you can try to increase height. It tones your whole body and involves a lot of stretching. Swimming thus significantly increases your height. However, you should swim often at least for one hour at a stretch to reap the benefits. If you don’t know swimming, just go for it and learn the art!
II. Skipping Rope
If you cannot make it out through swimming, just go for skipping rope. Rope jumping or skipping a rope isn’t just for kids. It is one of the exercises that provide assured results for increasing your height. When you skip the rope, your body remains straight, while the spine and back are stretched. When you bend knees as you jump the rope, it expands the calf muscles vertically. All these together enhances the bone mass in the legs, which can result with growing a few inches taller.
- Start with doing somewhere around 1000 jumps daily. Do less if you can’t manage doing these much. But just do it!
- Take a break for every 100 or 200 jumps as you feel comfortable.
- You can jump for a maximum of 30 minutes a day to make the most of skipping rope exercise.
III. Hanging Exercises
Hanging exercises literally mean you hold on to something and hang, which stretches your body from head to toe. You need bars to do these exercises. Gym is a good place to do so. If hanging somewhere else, ensure, the bar or whatever it is, has a good strength to take your body weight. Don’t injure yourself.
- Raise your arms above your head and reach to the horizontal bars.
- Lift your body from the ground and hold the bars firmly.
- Hold in the hanging position for a minimum of 10 seconds.
- Repeat it as much as possible.
To make it more effective, try to raise your legs parallel to the floor and hold it for a few seconds.
IV. Simple Stretches
As mentioned above, one of the important aspects of increasing height is stretching your body. Do simple stretches whenever possible. Stretch your arms, legs, do backward stretch, forward bending, etc.
- Stand straight with arms raised and stretch backwards
- Bend forward and touch your toes with fingers
- Stretch side wards and bend the hip
- Rotate your arms in clockwise and anticlockwise direction
- Swing the legs front and back
Do all these stretches for 20 to 30 counts each, 2 to 5 times a day.
Yoga Poses to Increase Your Height
Yoga is a form of alternative therapy. Regular practice of yoga asanas (poses) keeps all diseases at bay and aids in longevity. Practicing yoga is the best way to increase your height. A few yoga poses that involve stretching the body are given below.
I. Mountain Pose – Tadasana
Do you know how to stand straight with body erect? Yes, this pose is nothing but standing straight with an erected body. Tadasana is the base pose for many asanas. Although it sounds very simple, it is very effective in straightening and strengthening the spine, which increases your height.
- Stand straight
- Raise your arms and interlock the fingers above the head
- Stay in this position for one minute.
II. Hand to Toe Pose- Padangusthasana
It is a form of forward bending exercise and provides flexibility to the back muscles and legs.
- Stand straight
- Slowly bend the upper body
- Place the palms under the foot (it will be difficult to do it initially. So, you can try to place the palms adjacent to the feet)
- Hold in this position for 10 to 20 counts
III. Forehead to Knee Pose – Padahastasana (Standing)
It is another forward bending pose to stretch the upper body.
- Stand straight and bend the upper body
- Try to touch the knees with forehead
- Stay in this position for 10 to 20 counts
IV. Forehead to Knee Pose – Paschimottanasana (Sitting)
Another variation of forehead to knee pose can be done by sitting. It is called, Paschimottanasana.
- Sit straight with legs extended in the front (keep the legs straight)
- Slowly bend the upper body and try to touch the knees with forehead
- Don’t bend the legs and try to bend as far as possible
V. Forehead to Single Knee Pose – Janu Sirshasana
If you find difficulty in doing the above pose, you can try to touch the forehead of a single knee. This pose is called Janu Sirshasana.
- Sit straight with legs extended in front, placed around 3 to 4 inches apart.
- Bend the upper body towards right side and touch the right knee with forehead
- Hold the feet for balance and support.
- Repeat this with left side.
VI. Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana
Pose like a King Cobra, with head elevated and the lower body reclined on the floor! Cobra pose is one of the best stretching yoga that stretches your body, most importantly the back and spine.
- Lie on the floor, on your stomach.
- Place both your palms near the chest
- Press the floor for support and raise your head
- The lower part of the body should be placed on the floor and the upper part (from head to abdomen should be elevated)
- Look straight with chin up or look at the ceiling.
- Hold in this position for 30 counts or as long as possible.
VII. Sun Salutation – Surya Namaskar
The king of yoga poses is Sun Salutation. It is a combination of various yoga poses performed in the specific sequence. Doing sun salutation everyday during sunrise and sunset indicates good health and longevity. The poses are accompanied by rhythmic breathing. Doing the sun salutation for 20 to 30 minutes a day increases your height and makes your body strong.
Step 1: Stand straight and hold palms together (Say, ‘Namaskar’)
Step 2: Raise your arms and slightly bend backwards
Step 3: Lower your arms and bend forward (place the palm next to the feet)
Place the palms comfortably on the floor and the palms should not move until you raise the hands.
Step 4: Extend the right leg towards the front and bend it at knees. Simultaneously stretch the left leg backwards, straight.
Step 5: Pull the right leg backwards and slightly raise the whole body. (Your palms should support the upper body and legs support the lower body. This is similar to Plank)
Step 6: Lower your body and lie down on your stomach, slightly raise the hip and thighs from the floor.
Step 7: Lower the body and raise the upper body, this is Cobra Pose.
Step 8: Lower your upper body and raise the hips. Your body appears like inverted ‘V’ and this pose is called downward dog pose.
Step 9: Slowly bend the body, extend the right leg backwards and left leg forwards and bend it at knee. (A repetition of step 4, done with alternative legs)
Until this pose, the palms you placed on the floor shouldn’t move.
Step 10: Slowly raise your body, repeat the step 3, forward bending pose.
Step 11: Raise your body, stretch backwards with arms extended above the head.
Step 12: Do, namaskar pose, repeat the first pose.
In addition to doing exercises and yoga, you can indulge in a lot of sports activities like basketball, handball, etc.
Lifestyle Changes- Avoid Three Triggers that Stunt your Growth
Once you decide to try something to increase your height, the first thing you should do is look for the triggers that stunt your growth and avoid it completely.
I. Caffeine – Say no to Caffeinated Drinks
Is it true? Does caffeine affect your growth, while we can see a lot of taller people who love coffee (one of the popular drinks with caffeine) and who still grew taller? According to the scientific studies, Caffeine is good for health in different ways. It doesn’t actually affect the height. Rather, caffeine exposes you with the risk of poor sleep. Regular consumption of caffeine affects the quality of sleep! (Sleep is the major factor for stimulation of HGH, which is briefed earlier). When you consume any caffeinated drink, it hurts the ability to enjoy a deep, sound and quality sleep! Poor sleep means stunted growth too!
II. Smoking – No Smoking and No Second-hand Smoking
Smoking is injurious to health! How badly smoking impacts your health? Both smoking and second hand smoking has direct impact on your Body Mass Index (BMI). Although there are no conclusive evidences on impact of smoking on height, many researches pointed the negative impact of smoking. According to a study and research by the Columbia University’s Internet Health Resource, children of those who smoke and children or those who are exposed to smoking, are shorter than others.
Steroids are used as a prescription medicine to cure certain diseases. In addition, athletes and sportsmen use steroids to excel in sports performance. However, steroids come with a lot of side effects. It directly inhibits the growth of children and teens in many ways.
Children who use inhalers for asthma and breathing problems inhale the tiny doses of steroids. Those who use inhalers are more likely to grow 1 inch to 2 inch shorter than their counterparts.
Avoiding these triggers during teenage as well as during your adulthood can help you increase your height.
Can you take Human Growth Hormone Supplements?
HGH supplements raged the health care industry a few years ago, claiming to enhance the growth and height. However, HGH supplements may sometimes meet the claims but they have a lot of side effects. So, it is not recommended to take any supplements. Stay away from taking HGH supplements to increase the height. Do it naturally with proper, eating, exercising, sleeping and other positive lifestyle habits.
In addition to these, maintain good posture while sitting and standing as well as drink lots of water. You should also stay away from the growth inhibiting factors if you want to increase your height. A combination of healthy diet and exercises work to certain extent to increase height.