A lot of people are not happy with the height they have, so can they do anything about it? Can you actually increase your height after 18 years of age? Read on to find out. But can anything be done about it?
What Determines Your Height?
Before we talk about whether or not you can increase your height after 18, we must see what is in charge of it. What determines your height are genetics, but there is much more to it. Between 60% and 80% is due to genetics, while the rest are nutrition and factors of the environment. Global trends show how important lifestyle and nutrition is to the height of people. A giant study of some 18.6 million people showed changes in height during the last century, as average people were taller in 1996 than a hundred years prior. What probably contributed the most are nutritional developments and healthier choices over the years.
Height Will not Increase 18 for Most
However, even with a healthy diet, most people will not experience an increase in height after 18 to 20. Our physiology is such that growth stops almost completely between these years. Your growth plates, or epiphyseal plates, stop growing. These are the areas of specialized cartilage at the end of long bones. Height increases because of the lengthening of long bones while the growth plates are still “open.” Towards the end of puberty, growth plates harden and “close”, which means that the lengthening of bones stops. They close around age 16 in women, and between 14 and 19 in men.
There may however be some daily variations in height because of the discs in your spine. Some daily activities might impact the cartilage and fluid of the spine, causing small height reductions, of around 1.5 cm.
Exercise and Stretching do not Affect Your Height
There is a height myth that some exercises or stretching can make you taller, mostly hanging, climbing, and swimming. However, no such evidence exists.
Some also worry that particular exercises and weight lifting are detrimental to height. It is safe to lift weights and exercise at all ages, without any harm to your height. Children, adults, and elderly individuals should do activities free of this fear.
If an injury occurs, it is probably due to poor form, overdoing it, or the lack of adequate supervision.
A Healthy Lifestyle before 18 May Help Your Height Potential
Since you cannot change your height as an adult, you can make sure to maximize your height potential while you are in your teenage years. During this time, you have to be eating enough and not be deficient in vitamins or minerals.
Because of many poor diets among children, individuals in modern society lack important nutrients like vitamin D and calcium, which are important to overall health and the growth of bones. Fruits and vegetables should be on the menu daily for all children while eating enough protein is essential for bone health as well. A great way to increase protein intake is to have 20 grams of protein whenever you eat. Eggs, poultry, lean meats, dairy products, soy, and other legumes are all high in protein.
Additional lifestyle choices like not smoking and drinking also benefit your height during the development stages.
Some Medical Conditions May Cause Height Increase
There are exceptions to the rule of not growing after the age of 18. In some people, the closing of the growth plates is delayed, so height can continue to increase for them. In addition, some people might suffer from gigantism, a condition where too much growth hormone causes excessive growth in people. A type of hemochromatosis can also increase height. This is a condition where excessive iron is absorbed in the intestines.
Growth for these people also stops eventually, usually at around 22 years of age.
What Can You Do About Your Height?
Try the following if you are an adult, not satisfied with the height you have:
Practice good posture, as a poor posture can rob you of a few inches.
Try heels or inserts in your shoes to add several inches to your height.
Gain muscle to look and feel stronger, and more confident.
Although these simple strategies could help, some turn to extreme measures like medical treatments and procedures, like the lengthening of bones. These are banned in some counters, are not at all recommended.
Others tend to take growth hormone, although benefits of this in adults are unlikely to happen.
Finally, it is usually recommended to find your own way to accept your height, instead of turning to extreme measures. To increase your height over 18 years of age is simply not possible.