Many short people tend to be disappointed with their heights because a tall stature can be a desirable trait for many reasons. Even if you don’t have a specific reason for increasing your height, being tall provides many advantages. It can boost your confidence, save you from wearing uncomfortable high heels, or simply make it easier to reach that top shelf without having to climb onto a wobbly stool.
So, what can you do to grow taller if your genes dictate that you’re meant to be short? Well, only a small percentage of people with a short height can grow taller. Studies also show that most people stop growing in their mid-twenties. So, if you’ve not reached full adulthood, your growth plates have not yet closed. This means that you could add a few more inches to your current height and how tall you can grow depends on many factors, which shall be explained below.
Factors that Affect Height
There are several factors that can affect your height either in a positive or negative way. Generally, these factors can be categorized into the following:
- Genetic Factors
For the most part, your height is determined by genetic factors. However, if your parents are both short or of average height, it doesn’t mean that you’ll suffer the same fate. Height is a polygenic trait, meaning that it’s influenced by a range of genes. If there are tall people in your family tree, chances are that the tall gene could be passed down to you.
There’s no way to accurately calculate how tall you can grow until you reach full physical adulthood. But you can use this simple formula to estimate your height potential:
Predicted height in inches = (the sum of both your parents height, +5 if you are a boy or -5 if you are a girl) / 2
The answer you’ll get is your predicted height plus or minus 4 inches. Keep in mind that while this is just a rough estimation, it should still be very close to the eventual height you’ll attain.
- Non-Genetic Factors
Other non-genetic factors can have an impact on your growth potential too. Most of these factors are determined by the environment an individual finds him/herself in while growing up. Being tall is associated with growth. So, factors which hinder growth will also have the same effect on your height.
Some of the non-genetic factors that will affect your height include:
- Exposure to tobacco smoke during fetal development
- Illness during childhood or puberty
- Quality of parental or postnatal care
- Low birth weight
While many factors that determine height are beyond your control, there are several things you can do to reach your full height. With that in mind, here are top ways to increase height and grow taller naturally.
Tips to Grow Taller Naturally and Increase Height
- Get Adequate Sleep
When it comes to restful sleep, it goes without saying that this is one of the more important factors for healthy growth. Research suggests that growing teens need at least 8 hours of rest every night, with 11 hours being far more effective at promoting healthy growth.
Adequate sleep is essential because the body grows and regenerates tissue during rest. Our brains release Human Growth Hormone specifically when we are in the slow wave and deep sleep cycles. So, if you’re not getting adequate sleep, this will result in low amounts of HGH being produced thus keeping you from growing to your maximum height.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to get adequate sleep. For starters, make sure to manage your time so that you have enough hours to sleep even after a long day. Secondly, create a conducive sleeping environment to ensure that you get your beauty sleep. Eliminate factors that can interfere with sleep like strong lights and noises. Also, avoid drinking caffeinated drinks before going to bed because they will steal precious sleeping time.
Instead of coffee, opt for chamomile tea before retiring to bed since it has the ability to induce sleep. In addition, taking a warm bath just before bedtime can greatly improve your quality of sleep.
- Eat Healthy
Eating healthy is absolutely essential when it comes to supporting proper growth since it’s important to ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs to grow and develop fully. The key to eating healthy is to stick to a balanced diet and avoid junk food. In order to grow to your full height, practice the following healthy eating habits:
- Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a vital nutrient for healthy bone development, especially in children. You can get vitamin D from foods such as fish, mushrooms dairy products, eggs, pork, alfalfa, and tofu or by getting adequate sunlight exposure.
- Get Enough Calcium
Intake of calcium is also very important since bones require this nutrient to grow and develop. Rich sources of calcium mostly include cheese, soybeans, sardines, green vegetables, dairy products and fortified cereals.
- Eat Zinc
Increase your zinc intake with foods such as peas, asparagus, eggs, chocolate and oysters to further promote healthy development. Zinc is especially important in children since lack of it causes stunted growth.
- Load Up On Other Essential Nutrients
Other nutrients apart from those mentioned above should not be ignored too since they also contribute to proper growth. You need carbohydrates to energize cells as well as sufficient amounts of protein to provide your body with the essential building blocks it needs to grow. If there are any nutrients lacking in your diet, you can bridge the nutritional gap by taking supplements.
- Develop a Good Eating Schedule
As a general rule of thumb, you should have three balanced meals throughout the day. Eating healthy snacks in between meals will also keep your metabolism up and hence promote healthy growth.
- Engage in Sports or Regular Exercise
Engaging in regular exercise or playing your favorite sport is one of the best ways to grow taller. Children and teens are always encouraged to be physically active as this promotes growth. Even if you’re past the age of 18, you can still add a few inches to your frame before the growth plates close when you reach mid-twenties.
The science behind how physical activity affects growth is simple. If the body is physically active, it demands more nutrients. Consequently, an increase in nutrient intake translates to growth. What’s more, participating in sports and exercising regularly helps in stimulating growth hormones.
When combined with a healthy diet and adequate sleep, exercising on a regular basis will help you grow taller. Some of the best exercises and sports that can enhance height include:
One of the best full body workouts, swimming is a great sport that can contribute to a taller height. Swimming tends to elongate your muscles and if you start at an early age, it will help you reach adequate height. However, you need to swim at least 2 hours daily for 4 to 5 days a week to reap the benefits.
- Hanging Exercises
Hanging from a horizontal bar with your arms stretched out overhead is an effective routine that can instigate an increase in height. To perform hanging exercises properly, stay in the same position for about 10 seconds before breaking off and repeat this several times.
For an even better stretch, bring your legs up so that they are parallel to the floor and hold that position for a few seconds. You need to perform these routines several times a week if you want them to have any positive effect.
- Toe Touching Exercises
Toe touching is one of many stretching exercises you can perform for a taller frame. When you bend over to touch your toes, this elongates the spine. This routine can be done when standing or sitting down and it’s a great way to warm up before more intense exercises.
- The Super Stretch
Much like toe touching, the super stretch is another great exercise that may possibly help you grow taller. To perform this simple exercise, simply stand upright and stretch your hands overhead as far as you can.
Leaning back slightly enhances the stretch and you should be able to feel your lower spine stretching. Combining this routine with toe touching will help you complete full body stretch reps. Ideally, hold repetitions for about 4 to 7 seconds then alternate between the super stretch and toe touching exercise several times.
- Skipping Rope or Rope Jumping
Rope jumping is not just a fun game for kids, but also a great exercise for gaining height. When jumping rope, your body remains erect while stretching the back and spine. Constant bending at the knees causes calves to expand vertically. These physical movements work together to add bone mass in lower legs, which help in gaining a few inches.
- Form a Habit of Practicing Good Posture
Many people have a bad posture due to the formation of poor habits when sitting down to work on a computer or when they use handheld gadgets. Over time, these habits cause the spinal cord to bend. A slouched form in the upper body will suppress your normal height, making you seem shorter than you really are. On the other hand, a good posture aligns the head with your neck besides straightening the spine. This can add a few inches to your frame by bringing out your true height.
If you already have a bad posture, fret not. There are many stretching exercises that can correct damage caused by poor sitting habits. The ideal exercises to perform will depend on the type of abnormal spinal curvature you’ve developed. To prevent damage to your spine, make sure to practice good posture habits in the first place. Good posture habits take time to master and there are many ways to incorporate them into your daily routines.
For starters, keep your shoulders back and chin up all the time when walking. If you often use a computer or other handheld gadgets like tablets and smartphones, avoid using them for excessively long periods or take frequent breaks if you have to utilize them for significant amounts of time. Exhaustion will cause you to sit in awkward positions that put undue pressure on your spine or neck. You should also educate yourself about proper ergonomics when using these devices. Even though good posture habits won’t make your grow, they can very well help you look taller.
- Make an Effort to Keep Your Immune System Strong
The body’s immune system plays a key role in the development of your height. With a strong immune system, diseases will have a hard time slowing down the progress of a growing body. Being able to fight off disease is especially important when you’re young and still developing. While some illnesses can stunt growth during childhood or puberty, the good news is that you can boost your immune system by simply eating healthy meals. Instead of eating processed foods, diversify your diet with whole grains, low fat dairy products, protein, fruits and greens.
Citrus fruits such as grapes, oranges and lemons are particularly rich in antioxidants and they help counteract the damaging effects of free radicals to keep the body disease free. On the other hand, foods such as fish, cod liver oil and nuts provide abundant omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to boost immune function.
- Drink Plenty of Water
Guzzling down gallons of water won’t make you grow into a towering giant, but the body needs to stay hydrated in order to reach its full growth potential. Drinking water is often overlooked when it comes to growing taller. However, water improves digestion, flushes out toxins, and improves your metabolism. As such, it will have a direct impact on your height.
You need at least 8 glasses of water a day for optimum health. Another great way to keep your body hydrated is to eat water-based fruits and greens like watermelons and cucumbers.
- Keep Away from Factors that Hamper Growth
Certain growth inhibitors can keep you from attaining into your inherent height and you can keep these external factors from affecting your height by avoiding them.
Drugs and alcohol are two of the most common growth stunting factors that should be avoided at all costs since these substances interfere with normal growth. Steroids have also been found to stunt growth when taken at a young age. These drugs should therefore not be used if you’re still a teenager because they tend to inhibit bone development by closing your growth plates. In fact, research shows that children and teens who use asthma medications containing small doses of budesonide (a type of steroid) usually grow an inch shorter than their healthy peers.
Apart from steroids, drugs, and alcohol, caffeine can also interfere with growth especially in young children. It doesn’t inhibit growth directly but keeps you from sleeping soundly. Since both children and teens require 8 to 11 hours of sleep to develop properly, too much caffeine will cause inadequate sleep, which in turn leads to a short height.
- Consider Using “Grow Taller” Supplements
When searching the Internet for tips and information on how to grow taller, you’ll most likely come across supplements that promise to work wonders on your height. In most cases, the supplements are just a combination of minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that promote growth. Therefore, don’t be quick to use these supplements without first doing adequate research on what they actually contain. Some of these supplements can cause serious side effects and a few others just fail to work.
To stay safe, opt for height enhancement supplements that contain 100% natural ingredients. One of the best examples is Ashwagandha. This herbal product is an “Indian ginseng” featuring several minerals that broaden bone skeleton and density. As a result, consuming it can improve your height if you still have a growing body. For the best results, mix 2 tablespoons of Ashwagandha with milk and drink the mixture before going to bed.
- Seek Medical Assistance
If you have older siblings who had hit a growth spurt when they were your age, and yet you don’t seem to be getting any taller like they did, then it may be a good idea to see a doctor. Conditions that cause a deficiency in human growth hormone are not common, but they do exist. A health expert can help you deal with such problems and increase your chances of growing to your full potential.
Some childhood conditions such as rickets tend to stunt growth at an early age. These conditions also make it difficult to grow fully when one reaches full physical maturity. A doctor will be able to suggest healthy lifestyle choices that will help you reach as close as possible to your maximum growth potential.
Leg lengthening surgery is also one of the modern medical interventions that many healthy individuals seek in hopes that it will increase their height. In essence, the procedure involves breaking through the tibia and fibula (the bones in your lower legs) and inserting a telescopic rod between them. The inserted rod sits outside the leg framework and need to be adjusted several times a day. When adjusted, the rod pulls both bones in the hopes that new tissue will fill the gap. The telescopic rods pull the bones about 1mm a day, but the whole process can last up to 6 months followed by 3 to 6 more months of physically-demanding therapy.
Lengthening surgery usually provides only about 3 inches of growth if it’s successful. However, 3 inches to a short person can be considered quite substantial. Keep in mind, however, that this procedure should be a last resort because it can be very expensive, painful, and may result in complications.
This winds up our list of top ways to increase height and grow taller. Remember that the best way to increase your height is by adopting the natural solutions that have been shared above.