Can You Increase Height With Exercises? You Can't

I have a friend who considers himself a little shorter than an ordinary man. Though I don't think so as he is 5"7, i.e., 170cm in height. He is very good when it comes to bodyweight exercises like running, pushups, pullups, lunges, and others. He is filled with a passion for physical exercise and has a good athletic body. You can easily see 8 pack abs on his athletic body.

The only thing that makes him feel low in physical appearance is his height. I explained many times that his height falls under the normal category in our region. He recognized it but not completely. 

One evening, when I was exercising with him, he said to me that he will be doing some height-increasing exercises. He talked many times about this thing with me and I replied to him,

There is nothing like "height-increasing" exercises. This term is just a myth created in the air.

In this article, I will try to explain to you the fact that is mentioned above. Before moving on to read the full article, please make sure that you read the below section about me so that you can make a better opinion on the information provided here.

Why Should You Listen to Me?

Hello everyone, I am Ganpat Rawat. I am just to enter my 20s at the time of writing this post. I wasted a lot of time thinking about height and the methods to increase height when I was in my teenage. I used to read articles and pdf files, watch videos and infographics, see social media posts and listen to people in my contact about the methods to increase height.

They all came with various yoga poses, breathing techniques, accu-pressure points, and some herbs and medicines to increase height. I applied many of these techniques but didn't see any increase in height.

It is my experience that makes me the right choice for you to listen about height. For nearly three years, I had this opinion that height can be increased with some exercises and herbs. But now I don't think so and I will break such myths in this article.

I will not only claim things based on my experience but also cite some studies that openly accept that height increases naturally and you cannot do anything except maintain your physical fitness with diet and exercise. Links to some of the resources that are useful are given at the end of this article.

What Causes Height to Grow?

This question is not something that I should discuss in detail as you all know about it. When you search this question on Google or social media, you will get the right answer. I know you are searching for this for a long time and therefore you know a lot. But, let me again briefly describe how the height of an individual grows.

There are some hormones in the body that stimulate the growth of an individual. The excess or scarcity of these hormones may result in big losses to our physique. Here are the main hormones responsible for growth:

  • HGH(Human Growth Hormone) released by the pituitary gland.
  • Thyroxine hormone released by the Thyroid gland present near the throat.
  • Sex hormones released by the glands responsible for the development of sexual characters.

These hormones are released by the respective endocrine glands and therefore directly get mixed in the blood. When mixed in blood, these reach various parts of the body and stimulate their growth. This results in the development of the body parts.

As I said above, the imbalanced secretion of these hormones in the body may result in disfigurement, there are many examples of such disfigurement.

For example, the secretion of pituitarine hormone in excess may result in gigantism in which the individual's body becomes very large as compared to others. It is not always compulsory that the person suffering from gigantism will have a large body in good shape. In most cases, the subject of gigantism does have a bad shape of the body.

A well-known example of gigantism is the Great Khali, the WWE wrestler from India. 

What Factors Decide the Height of an Individual?

There are some factors that play important role in the growth of an individual. Most of which are not controlled by humans. These are automatically governed by the nature. While there are also some other factors which if handled with a little care, may result in a good physique. So, let's discuss the most important factors of growth.

1. Genetics

Science says that the height of an individual majorly depends on the gene of the individual. Some experts claim that genetics play up to 80% role in height while some claim that this percentage is 60 and others claim differently. While all of these claims differently, the conclusion comes to one thing,

"Genetics Play a Major Role in the Height of an Individual" 

This means that the child whose parents are short tends to be short and vice-versa. While the height of an individual can be compared with that of his parents, it is not compulsory that the child with short parents always tends to be short. Even two siblings may have different heights.

In general terms, the height of a person depends on the overall sequence of the ancestors. The ancestors may be from his mother's or father's side. The genetic characters of the ancestors decide the height of the individual.

2. Health Condition

The other factor that significantly contributes to the height of an individual is the health condition. This means that a person who is in a good state of physical well-being generally tends to be taller than one who is very weak.

What I mean here is that if we take the example of a particular individual, who does not do any physical work and whose diet is always a deficit in the key nutrients, will be short as compared to his state of the body where he gets enough diet and is physically active.

Children born with low birth weight or malnutritioned during childhood are not healthy and therefore they may be shorter than average. This is one of the health issues. A child will not grow to its full potential height if he has any chronic disease that severely affects his health.

Some complex syndromes are also responsible for the hindrance in the growth of a child such as Klinefelter's syndrome, Turner's syndrome, and others.

Who Is Actually a Tall or a Short Person?

The terms 'tall' and short both may have different meanings depending on the average height of the people living in a particular area. In the region where the average height of a man is 6 feet, the man with 5"6 will be considered a short one and vice versa. In many developed nations, the average height of an individual is more than that in under-developed nations. The average height of humans has increased in the last century because of good nutrition and health conditions.

The average height of a person may be different based on the different regions, ethnic compositions, gender, etc. The term 'short' for a man be 'tall' for a woman because men generally tend to be higher than women. So, depending on your region, you should decide whether you are a tall person a short one.

Can You Increase Height with Exercises?

We discussed above the factors deciding the growth of an Individual. There is obviously, a role of physical work in the growth but it is not the only factor that decides the growth. Exercises keep oneself physically fit and therefore the whole body works actively and digests what we eat. Exercises keep our bones, muscles, blood, lungs, and every other part healthy. So, there are chances that a good amount of growth hormone will be released if we do physical work which in turn will result in a well-developed physique.

Physical exercise whether it be a stretching exercise or any other exercise keeps our growth plates healthy and therefore contribute to our growth.

But there is no particular exercise to increase height. Many YouTubers with half knowledge claim that yoga poses like, Tadasana, Bhujangasana, Chakrasana, etc. help in the increment in height. Many also say that hanging on the bar will help you gain some inches of height in the spine. These claims, no doubt, are without any scientific base. If you ask them about the science behind these things, then they will not be able to give you any particular answer.

With stretching exercises of the spine, we can add a maximum of a half-inch. But, for the sake of this very small increment, you will have to continuously stretch your body for years without any other physical work. This so gained half an inch will soon get lost gradually if we leave doing stretches and start other exercises. So, there is not any sense in wasting time doing height-increasing exercises.

Here, I would like to clear one thing I am not intended to say that stretching exercises are not good for your body or you should do not stretches. In fact, stretches are very helpful for maintaining flexibility in your body. Stretching exercises like various yoga poses help us maintain good posture and improve blood flow in the body.

What I am intended to say is that in order to increase height we should not leave doing other muscle strengthening exercises. Like a footballer constantly should do legs strengthening exercise and if he leaves such exercises in order to gain height, it will not be good for him.

Gym and Height: What's the Connection?

Young guys consider that going to the gym and lifting heavy weights hinder growth. They will not be able to reach their potential height if they lift weights in the gym. Especially in India, it is widely prevalent and weightlifting at a young age is denied. People think that those children who indulge in physical work which requires lifting weight do not grow well.

These conceptions are totally wrong and are prevailing just because of the fake information presented to us on popular social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and others. I am not saying that all the information available on social media is wrong but intended to say that most of this information does not have a strong scientific base.

You can easily see plenty of examples of fitness models who have been working on their physique since a very young age but still have a very good height. Active and aware parents start their children's gym training from age like 12 or earlier. Still, their children have a very good height in the adolescent's age.

One thing that should be taken into consideration is that children at a young age should not be sent to the gym unless and until they have a well-experienced mentor. If a child lifts very heavy-weights without any proper technique, then it may result in injuries in their growth plates which may hinder the growth. So, injuries should be avoided.

How to Naturally Increase Height?

We have discussed a lot about the factors deciding height, the process of growth, exercise, and nutrition. Now, the next and most important question that arises in our mind is, Is there any way to naturally increase the height?

Here I will say yes and no. As we discussed earlier, the majority of your height is inside your genetics. If you are following a good lifestyle then chances are that you will grow to your full potential height.

When the child is in the mother's womb, proper health care should be availed to the mother so that the child does not bear with low birth weight. When it is born and is fed with the mother's breast, then we should also take care of the health of the mother and the child. A strong foundation of a house leads to a strong house. The foundation of the growth of a person is in childhood.

Besides this, sufficient nutrition and physical exercise till the end of puberty are required for a well-developed body in adulthood.

Let's Wrap-Up: the Importance of Height

Guys this section comes out to be the most important one. When you are physically fit and active, you should never think about height. There is nothing wrong with you if you are 5"3 if you have good physical fitness. By the term 'fitness', I don't mean that you should build a body like Arnold Schwarzenegger or like that of Bruce Lee. You should have a normal physique with proper body-fat percentage and flexibility. Though you should focus on building a body like that of Arnold or Lee if you are working in that field.

We have seen many examples of great persons with a very low height. So, height should not be a concern if you are working for your dreams.

Now, it's time to hear from you. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. It is just for you and your ideas. I will be very happy to hear your response.

Links to important resources for reference:

  1. Article written by Grant Tinsley on Healthline about height: Link
  2. Studies show that the height of an individual majorly depends on the genes: StudyStudy, Study
  3. Study showing the dependence of height on environmental factors: Study
  4. The height of most, grow till 18: Study, Study
  5. You cannot increase height with stretching: Study, Study, Study
  6. Weighlifting does not have any impact on height: Study
  7. Lifting weight without supervision may impact the height: Study, Study

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