If I asked you to imagine a powerful man in your head what image would come to mind?
Likely a well-dressed, clean-cut, tall man who has been successful in whatever path he has chosen. While this image is a stereotype and not at all a requirement to be successful and powerful in life, many men around the world still strive to achieve this look in order to portray power.
Most of these qualities are completely in your control. By this I mean that you can control the way you dress, the way you wear your hair, the amount of work you put in, etc. The one thing that seems to be out of your control is your height.
Actually, that’s where you are wrong.
You DO control your height. Contrary to popular belief, steps can be taken to increase a person’s height in order to reach their fullest potential. I’m here to help every short guy out there gain a couple inches and hopefully some new found confidence so that you go out there and crush whatever you set your mind to.
First it is really important to mention that a large portion of your height does stem from genetics. It’s a simple fact that your genetic makeup is bound to play a part in the person you become. As humans, we inherit various traits passed down to us from our mother, father, as well as extended family. These traits are what make us unique individuals.
Our genes control our eye and hair color, face shape, skin color and of course our height. Height is a polygenic trait. A polygene is a gene whose individual effect on a phenotype is too small to be observed, but which can act together with others to produce observable variation. For those of us who aren’t scientists that basically means it’s a gene that works to make you who you are on the outside. Best way to explain is like this: if you have a lot of short people in your family, the odds are against you.
However, if you have a lot of tall people in your family, you’re not necessarily going to be tall. It all just depends on how everything mixes in your body. You won’t be able to know your final height until you reach full physical adulthood. Generally that comes at about age 18 for women and age 21 for men. There are some techniques for guestimating your final height before reaching it. One way you can do this is by following a few simple calculations:
- Add together your mom and dad’s height
- Add an additional 5 inches
- Divide that by 2
- Whatever number you come up with is a good estimate of your potential height
With this in mind, there are however a few simple techniques you can use to take fate into your own hands and reach your fullest height potential.
One of the most important steps in your growth process is to ensure that you are eating properly. As I am sure you’ve heard a thousand times, your diet affects so much of the rest of your life. Getting the proper amount of minerals and vitamins in your system will assist you in your quest for a few extra inches.
Now you’re probably saying, “Okay great… but what does eating right actually look like?” Here is a helpful breakdown for you:
- Healthy carbs and calories such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, peanut butter and avocados.
- Calcium rich foods like dairy and green veggies
- Vitamin D coming from foods such as fish and mushrooms. Or simply walk outside and get some sunlight on your skin.
- Lots of protein from things like meat, eggs and tofu. Be sure to have at least one meal a day that is high in protein.
- Zinc which can be found in oysters, chocolate, eggs, and peanuts. You may also want to consider taking a vitamin that includes zinc to help ensure you are getting the proper amount.
Theses vitamins and minerals are the building blocks for your body. All of them will help promote bone and muscle growth, allowing you to grow stronger and taller. It’s a two for one deal! So why not do it?! Be sure to avoid fatty/high carb (empty carb) foods. These will only work to slow down the production of growth hormones within your body. Also try to stay away from drinks with high phosphorus content. These types of beverages can cause the calcium in your body to be excreted through your urine. So basically you’re peeing out all your hard work, and no one wants that. You may want to consider taking an age appropriate supplement once a day to help ensure you are maintaining a healthy amount of vitamins. It is also very helpful to stick to a routine.
Our bodies react well to order in our lives.
It is important to eat at least 3 meals a day on a regular schedule with small healthy snacks in between. Overall, the better your diet, the faster you are going to grow. A healthy diet will also allow you to live a longer, more productive life.
Build Up Your Immune System
A strong immune system is a key player in your growth success. This may seem strange, but it’s true. Having a healthy immune system that allows your body to stay strong and fight off disease will keep you on track towards your optimum height. This is because there are certain illnesses that can actually stunt one’s growth.
Now of course there are steps you can take to keep your immune system in check:
- Be sure to receive routine immunizations from your physician when the time comes. These will work to fight off the diseases that can affect your height.
- Make sure you are getting sufficient amounts of vitamin C (found in things like grapefruits and oranges).
- Eat whole/fresh foods. This works directly alongside the diet you should be following for your desired growth. You need to avoid ingesting a lot of processed foods with empty calories and focus on foods that are going to build up your strength.
- Have variety in your diet. Eating the same meals over and over, week after week isn’t doing you any good. Even if what you are eating is healthy, your immune system won’t grow stronger without a nice variety of foods in your life.
- Rest! Be sure to get plenty of rest at the very first sign of an illness. If you aren’t feeling well then it’s time to slow down, relax, sleep, and take care of yourself before the illness gets out of hand.
Resting won’t only help your immune system stay strong, it also aids in your overall growth process. Growing teens need between 8.5-11 hours of sleep a night in order to grow properly. I know, that’s a lot! But let’s be honest, who doesn’t love to sleep? I am literally giving you permission to sleep in until noon, so take it! Of course this isn’t always possible due to things like school and work, so be sure to be getting to bed early enough to get the proper amount of sleep if you need to be up early in the morning.
Why is sleep so important for body growth? Because your body literally grows and regenerates tissue while you rest. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is produced naturally while you sleep, increasing your body’s height. Have you ever noticed that you are taller in the morning than at night? It’s true! You shrink ever so slightly during the day due to your daily physical activities. This is why rest is so essential. If you only allow yourself 5-6 hours of sleep a night, you don’t give your body enough time to grow. This type of lifestyle isn’t going to get you anywhere near your desired height.
Having a healthy sleep environment is also incredibly important. You want a space that is a calm as possible. Don’t sleep with lights on or constant noise because it will work against your natural sleep cycle. You want to aim for an environment that is as dark and quiet as possible. Consider sleeping without a pillow, or with a pillow that has minimum height to it. I know this sounds strange, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to get the results you want. Pillows work to form a rounded shoulder and in turn decrease your height. Sleeping without a pillow will help to straighten out your spine and increase your length.
The rounding of your shoulders due to your pillow leads me directly into the next important step in your growth journey, obtaining good posture. Posture is everything when it comes to your height. Who cares if you’re 6 feet tall if you hunch your back so much that you look like you could be 5’ 8”.
A hunched back will actually work to affect the curvature of your spine. In doing this it will prevent you from reaching your optimum height. Now, you may think the solution is simple, just straighten up and move on. But it’s not actually that easy. Once the damage has been done, it is extremely hard to reverse the spinal curvature to its original length.
That’s why it is so important to catch it early and work hard to fight against the urge to hunch over. Some things you need to focus on are keeping your chin high, shoulders back, hips over feet, sitting up straight and walking with a purpose. I know when you are sitting at your desk having gone out the night before and all you want to do is sleep it is incredibly easy to slump over in your seat and relax your body. However, if you want to be taller, you have to fight against that desire and keep your body in the upright position. You can do it. I believe in you. Good posture = your optimum height.
Exercise is obviously a very important factor in living a healthy life in general. But it also can work to benefit your overall height. If your growth plates have not yet closed due to your age, exercise is definitely the way you want to go. If they have, exercise won’t help you unfortunately.
Activities such as swimming, running, yoga, etc. all work in favor of body growth if they are combined with a healthy diet. You can also do exercises that work to better your posture. Be sure to avoid doing extreme heavy lifting during your growth process. This isn’t to say that in order to be tall you need to be thin and weak. Not at all! I am just saying that you want to be careful with the workouts you are doing during your growth process so that you are not working to stunt your growth in any way.
You may also want to work on doing some stretching to help your overall length. Stretching your muscles and ligaments will help increase the height of your body. You can also work on extending and strengthening the spine to help with growth. You can do this through yoga, chin ups, pull ups, and toe touches. Doing these things regularly will work to increase your height if you are still in the growing process.
Avoid Factors to Stunt Growth
There are tons of growth-stunting factors out there. Your job is to be sure and avoid as many of these as possible if you want to increase your height. A perfect example of these environmental factors are things such as alcohol, drugs and stress. If these things are ingested or experienced in significant amounts while you are young and still growing, they will work against your body’s natural ability to grow and will not allow you to reach your fullest potential. Malnutrition is also a huge environmental factor that can stunt your growth. This is why a healthy diet is so important in your life.
Now, there is lots of talk out there about various other factors that can affect one’s overall height. I’m here to clear things up a bit.
- Smoking: It is a common belief that smoking at a young age will have an effect on your height. Research for this fact has proven to be rather inconclusive. Some research has worked to fight against this idea while others have shown that being exposed to smoke or secondhand smoke during your growth process does in fact cause you to be shorter than those who are not exposed. While this fact has not been fully confirmed, it is still highly suggested that smoking be avoided at any age for multiple health reasons.
- Steroids: Does the use of steroids actually affect one’s height? The answer is a definite YES! Anabolic steroids work to inhibit children/teen bone growth along with affecting their sperm count, elevating blood pressure, decreasing breast size, and putting you at a much higher risk for heart attack. It is been proven that children with asthma who use an inhaler that puts out small doses of budesonide are often at least a half an inch shorter than those who do not use an inhaler.
- Caffeine: We have all been told at one point or another that drinking caffeine will stunt your growth. I’m here to tell you that this is not entirely true. Studies have proven that the caffeine itself doesn’t actually work to stunt growth. It does however affect things in your life such as sleep. With caffeine in your system you are much more likely to sleep less soundly or regularly. We have already addressed the importance of sleep for your growth and overall health. Therefore caffeine may indirectly affect your height if you have it in your system when it is time to sleep.
Following all of these steps, while still of the age when growth is possible, will surely help you to grow to your fullest potential. If you are doing all of these things and still not seeing any gains in height at all, consider talking to your physician. While growth conditions are rather uncommon, they are not unheard of. Talk to your doctor in order to ensure that you are in good health.
After the Growth Period
Now, for those of us who are past the point of no return with our body growth, meaning that we have aged out of the growing process, there are still a few steps we can take to increase our height. Here are a few options you may want to consider if you are past 25 and still not pleased with your height:
- Drugs. While I do not suggest taking this path, it is a possibility for those of you who are desperate to increase your height. There are drugs on the market that have been proven to work for some individuals when dealing with increasing height. However they often come with some very serious and sometimes dangerous side effects such as disorders of the liver, kidneys and heart. Please consult with your doctor before choosing this route.
- Surgery. There are some procedures out there that can be done to increase height. This is a very extreme and costly route to take. While it may seem quick and rather easy, the side effects can be extremely dangerous. Therefore this is another choice I wouldn’t recommend making.
- Natural Ways. There are absolutely many more natural and safer ways to increase your height. These are things such as living a healthy lifestyle, rest, exercise, stretching, etc. All things I covered in the section above. Keep in mind though that these things are working to better posture and keep you from shrinking. They will not add inches to you. This step requires patience, discipline and perseverance but is a much safer and healthier option for you.
- Dressing. What you wear has a great effect on how you look. While you may not be able to add physical inches to your body, there are certainly ways to give the illusion of an increased height. Follow some of these simple yet effect rules for dressing yourself:
- Wear solid/dark colors. This will lengthen your features.
- Go with vertical stripes. These work to elongate your torso and limbs.
- Avoid checked and horizontal patterns. These will cut your body off and make you appear even shorter than you already are.
- Choose tops and bottoms that are of the same or similar color. Monotones are extremely in right now so don’t be afraid to put black on black or grey on grey.
- No turtlenecks, instead consider a nice V-neck t-shirt to elongate your neck.
- Do not chose blazers that only have a few buttons. They will cause you to look short.
- Be sure your pants sit above the waist so as to give the impression of longer legs.
- Choose shoes that have small heels on them.
- However, be sure to pair these heeled-shoes with long pants. You run the risk of looking smaller if you pair them with pants that are too short for your body.
With everything in mind I hope you now go out and take your height into your own hands! You don’t have to completely accept the cards you have been dealt by genetics. Follow these steps and you will be able to feel taller and more confident in no time. Best of luck!