We've all likely wondered if it's possible to change our height once we've finished our last growth spurt. Are there natural and healthy ways to do so? Is it even worth trying? Height is dependent on a number of factors, some of which we might be able to control, so it's worth a shot if growing taller is high on your priority list. If nothing else, incorporating a few of these lifestyle changes will definitely improve your health and wellbeing, so it's a win regardless!
Genetics is a major factor, and you can hold it about 60 to 85% responsible for your height. We inherit specific DNA sequences, but science is still figuring out how exactly these sequences and related genes affect growth and when growing stops. Scientists are still discovering new gene variants. Generally, genetics play the most important role in how tall we are going to grow. Other smaller factors also contribute to our height. However, understanding and embracing the fact that we can't really go against nature and drastically increase our height should be the first step in this journey.
Other environmental factors, such as nutrition, contribute to a growing person's height. It is crucial to have a healthy balanced diet during childhood and adolescence. After about 18 or 20, the average human stops growing regardless of what they eat. A well-balanced diet should include lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, protein and dairy. It is also very important to limit sugar and saturated fat intake. While it might not make you taller in adulthood, a healthy diet keeps bones healthy, which can improve posture.
Any major height increases happen due to the growth of the long bones, such as the humorous in the upper leg. After going through puberty, these long bones stop lengthening and there is nothing much we can do. That's why it's very important to maintain bone health during and after adolescence. Calcium and vitamin D are great for avoiding osteoporosis. However, there's no scientific evidence that taking supplements will directly influence your height, so if you've seen supplements that make these claims, be sure to check with a doctor, too.
Now that we have established that there's not much that you can do to grow taller apart from leading a healthy lifestyle, there are a few things you can do to appear taller. Due to largely sedentary lifestyles, a lot of people have bad posture. Keeping active, focusing on standing tall, and avoiding hunching will certainly help express your full height. Mindfully practise correct posture whenever you remember: head straight with the chin parallel to the floor, shoulders comfortably back and down and abs slightly flexed to support the body.
During sleep, our body releases various hormones and tends to much physical recovery, so it is always a good idea not to skimp on sleep, especially during puberty. A significant lack of sleep could cause major health issues, including reduced growth rate. There aren't any studies linking lack of sleep directly to reduced height. However, sleep issues can cause a lower "puberty score," meaning they could interfere with growth and development.
Here's an easy way to look taller instantly: wear shoes with higher heels. It doesn't have to be anything over the top — even chunky trainers will do the trick if you're not into heeled boots. You can also get creative by wearing specific insoles inside the shoes that you currently have, which will give you a little boost in a subtler way. Just remember that shoes that raise your heel and place more pressure on the ball of the foot can have negative health repercussions in the long run.
Focus on tight-fitting clothes such as skinny jeans and fitted shirts to give you a vertical edge. They instantly make your body look longer. Wearing horizontal stripes can also trick the eye into thinking you're taller than you are. Avoid baggy outfits, because these will visually shrink your body.
Working out should be more of a lifestyle choice than a chore, so choose an activity that you enjoy. To impact your perceived height and increase health, you don't have to develop extreme muscles or become overly lean. Not only will feeling stronger and fitter give you confidence to make you stand taller, it can actually improve your posture, too.
A cautionary word on all the internet advice on growing taller: things like stretching, skipping, hanging exercises with strap-on weights, miracle pills, and specific diets will not make you grow taller. These are mostly myths with no evidence that they work. You can incorporate stretching or skipping, but do it for the right reason — your overall health.
We all have something we wish we could change about ourselves, and it is often something genetic that we're biologically stuck with. Sometimes we just need a reminder that we don't have to wear ourselves out stressing about every little part of our appearance. By all means, try a few of the things mentioned above, but don't forget that your primary goal should be accepting yourself as you are. Focusing on self-love and investing your energy in improving your wellbeing, both mentally and physically, can go a long way to increasing confidence. And once you're there, increasing your height might not matter so much anymore.