‘Napoleon complex’ is attributed to people who are naturally short. It appears that short people showcase aggressive social behaviors in order to compensate for their lack of height. Whether there is enough evidence to accept it, as a rule, is debatable. However, if increasing height were as easy as swallowing a pill, most people would want some.
Being tall comes with its own advantages. Apart from reaching high shelves, it makes you look leaner, muscular, and sometimes naturally more confident. Sadly, unlike weight, ideal height as a number cannot be chased. Height is a function of a lot of factors. All we can do is to ensure that we do everything to reach our optimum height.
A general measurement is a growth of 2 inches per year from age 1 till puberty. During pubescence, the growth rate can increase to 4 inches every year. Adults reach their maximum height during this period. The exact age varies depending on multiple factors. Typically, the growth spurt for girls begins early and stops around 16 years of age. Boys tend to see a sudden hike in height at the end of their teens. The real question of increasing height lies beyond the teenage years.
The main contributor to height is a person’s genetic structure. Having taller members in the family is more likely to benefit you than other factors. External elements like nutrition and exercise contribute to smaller percentages. It is no surprise that you cannot modify the genetic structure for the benefit of your height. However, some steps can ensure your growth potential is maximized during adolescence. Even as an adult, following an appropriate diet and exercise may help you to appear taller. It may also help to gain back height lost due to poor posture.
Factors that Affect Height
Research says that your genetics control about 80% of your height. The involvement of about 700 gene variants determines the height of a person. Some genes affect the growth spurt, while others have an effect on the growth hormone. People from various ethnic backgrounds have different average heights due to their DNA. Conditions like dwarfism and gigantism are results of genetic makeup too.
Including a healthy diet is crucial throughout. Especially during the teenage years, eating a well-balanced diet is essential for growth. Nutrient-rich foods will ensure your growth potential is maximized. Adults can retain their height in the same manner. Add foods to your diet that help to strengthen bones and joints to maintain height.
Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are micronutrients to consider for bone strength. Proteins help to repair tissue damage. Some studies also say that probiotics promote growth in children. Avoid trans-fat and other oily foods that may lead to weight gain. Gaining extra weight can make you appear shorter.
3. Sleep Pattern
A constant sleep cycle is important to fully attain your height capability. The pituitary glands secrete growth hormones at night. These hormones work to lengthen and thicken the bones. Regularly disrupting your sleep pattern or being sleep deprived will hinder its performance. Include correct sleeping posture to help elongate the spine. Constantly sleeping in an incorrect position may strain the spine and neck, leading to its stunted growth.
Regular body movements are necessary for children and adults. Exercising increases growth hormone production. Including weight-bearing strength training exercises and moderate impact, cardio will keep you fit and lean. This may help you to appear taller. Yoga and other flexibility exercises can also help. Exercises align the whole body and promote good posture. Older people can consider mild exercises like walking and low-intensity strength training exercises regularly as they help to prevent osteoporosis.
Effect of puberty on height
Adolescence is a rapidly growing age for all. The timeline for it varies depending on gender.
Girls quickly grow during their childhood. They attain puberty earlier than boys. During this time, their height also increases drastically. Puberty occurs from age 8 to 13. The growth spurt occurs anytime in between. In most cases, menstruation occurs after the peak height is achieved. Girls grow an inch or two post menstruation. The age of 14 to 16 is when the growth becomes stagnant for most girls. They reach their adult height at this age. Beyond this, no more increase in height occurs.
On average, boys reach their growth spurt two years later than girls. They tend to be taller than their average female counterparts. Some boys mature early at the age of 11 to 12. The others mature around age 13 to 14. This difference only affects when growth begins and ends. It does not affect the actual attainable height of a boy. The late maturers grow at faster rates to compensate for lost time. Boys grow three inches per year during puberty on average. They reach their 92 percentile of adult height at the end of adolescence.
Does early puberty affect height?
Precocious puberty or early puberty is when children go through adolescent transformations at a much earlier age. This condition usually affects 1 in 5000 children. In such cases, girls attain puberty between age 8 and 13 and boys between age 9 and 14. The symptoms of precocious puberty are similar to regular puberty. It affects the child physically and emotionally.
One of the main physical effects is visible in the child’s height. They end up relatively shorter than their actual potential. The main reason for this is the end of puberty marks the end of the main growing years. The skeleton and bones mature at a very young age. The children may appear to be taller than their peers when they are younger. Their growth is stunted too soon and they become shorter than later on.
Importance of Posture
The way you sit, stand and sleep has a drastic effect on your height. The spine has its natural curves. Continuous slumping and slouching alter these curves. It shifts the natural shape of the back to adjust to your familiar position. Apart from many disadvantages, it affects your height as well. Practicing good posture on a regular basis will make you appear taller than you are.
- Fixing slouched posture can increase your height up to 2 inches. Your greatest height potential is achievable with a straight back. Compromised height due to bent spine and rounded shoulders is not a lost cause. All it takes is patience and continuous effort to reverse its effects.
- Always remember to keep a straight back when walking. Straight back, straight head with the appropriately retracted chin is an ideal walking position.
- Be mindful about your standing position as well. Keep your feet slightly apart with your hands close to the body. Avoid resting your hands inside the pockets as it will lead to rounded shoulders.
- Practice sitting straight. Long durations of sitting will eventually lead to slouching. Correct your posture from sinking into the back. A good tip is to use backless chairs to avoid slouching.
- Sleeping positions play an important role too. Avoid any position that causes back and neck strains. Sleep straight or sideways with a pillow in between your legs to correctly align the spine.
What Can You Do to Reach Your Optimum Height?
- Working on factors like diet, sleep and exercise are the best way to reach your full height potential.
- Apart from weight-bearing strength training exercises and moderate impact cardio, practice yoga regularly. Yoga improves posture and breathing. It helps to make you stand straight and tall. Mountain pose, child’s pose, and cobra pose are some of the effective yoga poses for better posture.
- Strengthen your core. Exercises like planks and abdominal crunches strengthen the core muscles. A strong midsection will support the spine better. This will prevent slouching and maintain a tall posture.
- Use fashion hacks. Several clothing tips and tricks are available to give the illusion of longer legs or torso. For example, high waist pants and skirts give the appearance of longer legs. Wear shoes with thicker soles or heels to boost your height temporarily.
Height is mostly predetermined by your genetic structure. There are no supplements or solutions to dramatically increase one’s height. However, following some steps can ensure you reach your maximum growth without hindrance. A nutrition-rich diet and a good sleep pattern along with regular exercise are the keys to enhanced growth. Some cardio exercises like swimming, cycling, stretching are rumored to help increase height. However, there is no conclusive evidence found that proves that height actually increases by performing these.
Most of the growth takes place during puberty itself. Girls are generally shorter than boys but have a growth spurt much earlier than them. Almost everyone reaches close to their adult height before their teenage ends. Some children undergo early puberty or precocious puberty. This often leads to stunted growth as their body matures too soon.
Taking all factors into consideration, many of them come down to posture. A good posture can make you look taller by one or two inches. Follow the steps given above or visit a doctor to correct issues like slouched back, forward head, and rounded shoulders.
The bottom line is that there is no magical secret to suddenly increase height. Following ideal posture and a good lifestyle will help you look your best self without compromises.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A. One cannot increase height by doing anything specific. Good nutrition, adequate physical activity, proper sleep during formative years, gender, genetics, puberty, and age are the factors that determine the final height of a person.
A. Unfortunately, there are no natural remedies or magic pills that can increase one’s height. Height can reach its optimum level by inculcating a good lifestyle and proper nutrition from an early age. Children should spend at least 90 minutes in extensive physical activities such as playing outdoors or engaging in sports activities and doing yoga and stretches. Post puberty growth in both genders gets stalled. Since childhood, a routine helps the body to get these additional support parameters to remain fit and supple, which optimizes height increase.
A. Height may not increase after one reaches the age of 18-20. For girls, usually, the height reaches its full potential by the time they are 14-15. For boys, the growth spurt occurs later in many cases. The height potential can be maximized during the teenage years by including the right amount of exercise and diet. Bone density and muscle growth also play an important role.
Vitamin D and calcium deficiency may lead to the weakening of bones, thus, leading to not reaching the full height potential. However, height is largely a function of genetics. Even with the right diet and lifestyle measures, one may remain short if genetically the body is designed to reach that level of height.
A. Vitamin D and calcium deficiency may lead to the weakening of bones, thus, leading to not reaching the full height potential. A balanced diet with ideal amounts of Vitamin D and calcium is essential to reach the body’s full growth potential. Height is a subset of the bodily growth. The body requires the right impetus with proper nutrition and daily physical activity to prepare itself for puberty. However, height is largely a function of genetics. Even with the right diet and lifestyle measures, one may remain short if genetically the body is designed to reach that level of height.
A. Genetics plays the most important role in determining the final height that will stay with you forever. Among all the parameters, the weightage of genetics is close to 60-80%. The remaining are environmental factors like nutrition, lifestyle, overall health, puberty, and physical activities.