Out of all our physical features, our height is one that can cause concern and worries. Teenagers going through puberty are even more prone to worrying about what their adult height will be and how to grow taller.
Throughout history and even now, physicians, companies, and inventors have offered treatments that were supposedly able to increase a person’s height. So are there any methods that can help you increase your height? Read this article to find out.
There are many factors that determine your adult height. Many people believe that human height is only determined by genetics, but that’s not entirely true. Genetics are the main factor that determines how tall you’ll be once you’re done growing, but there are others.
Environmental and lifestyle factors also come into play during our childhood and adolescence. Nutrition, for example, plays a big role in determining our height. In fact, scientists have theorized that improved nutrition may be the main reason why the average human height has significantly increased over the last century. That’s why it’s so important to make sure children are well fed, from the time when they are breastfeeding until they’re fully grown.
Once you’re approximately 18 to 20 years old, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to grow taller naturally. By that age, the growth plates in your bones — areas of cartilage where bones are able to grow longer — have become solid.
The growth plates are active during childhood, but once puberty starts, hormonal changes cause these areas to harden. They usually finish developing completely around age 16 for girls and sometime between ages 14 and 19 in boys. Unfortunately, that means you can’t really make yourself taller once you’ve reached adulthood.
You can still experience small daily variations in your height. These variations are the result of your spinal discs becoming compressed during daily activities. As a result, you can lose up to half an inch (1.5 cm) of height during the day, which will be restored while you sleep. This variation is so small that it’s hardly ever noticeable.
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There are many websites that claim to have figured out how you can grow taller fast. Many explain how stretching and performing certain exercises are the keys to getting taller. Some websites or self-proclaimed experts post climbing and hanging exercises that are supposed to make you taller. Others advise swimming or using an inversion table for the same purpose.
However, no scientific evidence exists to support these methods. At most, some of these activities could cause your intervertebral discs to decompress, temporarily restoring your natural height a tiny bit. This, coupled with stretching your muscles during these exercises, could make you believe that you’re really getting taller. But the truth is that there’s no magic way to get taller fast.
A surgical procedure called distraction osteogenesis can make patients grow taller even during adulthood. This procedure was originally intended to treat dwarfism or uneven legs.
During the procedure, doctors surgically break the bones in the patient’s legs. Afterwards, the ends of the broken bones are separated. This is achieved through the use of a device called an Ilizarov apparatus, which stabilizes the leg. Each day, the apparatus is opened so that the separation between the bones grows by approximately one millimeter.
As the device maintains the separation, a callus is formed between the two parts of the bone. This callus is then replaced by collagen and, eventually, by bone tissue. The process requires at least a month of treatment for each centimeter of growth, and it usually only results in a couple of inches in increased height.
This procedure is traumatic and painful; once the bones have healed, the patient essentially has to learn how to walk again. This surgery also carries a high risk of complications which include infections, leg axis deviation, joint disease, and psychological problems.
It is widely believed that children need lots of sleep to reach their full height. Sleep apnea has been found to have a negative effect on children’s growth and development.
The bottom line is that, unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to increase your height once you’ve reached adulthood. However, that doesn’t mean that you should be unhappy with your height. If you’d like to appear a little taller, consider the following tips:
- Wear comfortable heels or inserts inside your shoes.
- Practice your posture. Having great posture can make you look taller and feel more confident.
- Try styling tricks. Wearing prints like vertical stripes or creating long lines with your clothes can make you look more elongated.
- Some exercises, such as yoga or pilates, can strengthen your core and improve your posture. Additionally, increasing your muscle mass can make you look stronger and more confident.
If you’re a parent and you’d like to make sure that your kids reach their full growth potential, there are some things you can do. Ensuring their nutrition is the most important step. From the moment your child is born, you can improve their nutritional intake by making sure they get enough nutritional elements. In many cases, that comes with breast milk. That’s why learning tips such as recognizing when your breast milk comes in and how to store milk for future feedings can optimize their nutrition from a young age.
Once they’re older, maintaining a balanced diet and providing age-appropriate exercises will ensure that they reach their physical potential. Make sure that your kids get enough sleep so that their bodies get enough rest and they keep their energy up.
At the end of the day, height is only a single physical feature out of the many characteristics that make up your appearance. Even though many of us would love to know how to get taller, people are beautiful at any height.