Studies show that your height isn’t as fixed as you imagine. It changes from one point in your life to the next. The fastest growth is in your first year, then it continues at a slightly less pace through childhood and adolescence until you reach your adult form in your early twenties (sometimes teens).
Girls usually stop growing about two to three years after their period begins. In contrast, some boys may grow into their early twenties or stop in high school.
By middle age, the body starts shrinking because of spine compression. However, this happens slowly. Regardless, we generally lose 2 to 4 centimetres (0.8 to 1.6 inches) throughout our life compared to their peak adult height.
Again genetics play a crucial role and so there’s no practical way to reduce your height. These are simply the quirks that make each one of us unique. However, there’s a certain belief among many people that people who are below and above average height leave happy and meaningful lives.
Still, it’s important to accept your height because that’s the beginning of actually enjoying a successful life. Again, some conditions might influence your height, thereby casting the illusion of being shorter than you are. So you might wonder – can I get shorter in height?
Can I Get Shorter in Height?
As said earlier, there’s no feasible way to intentionally make yourself shorter. In fact, the long bones in your legs and arms remain relatively the same length throughout your life. The height loss only happens because of the spinal disc compression between your vertebrae.
It is these compressions that might make you appear shorter today and taller the next day. In truth, your height may change by about an inch between the time you wake up and when you go to bed. Still, most people will only witness a half-an-inch difference.
Regardless, it is possible to undergo bone-shortening surgeries but these surgeries are mostly done for counter-balancing leg length differences.
Which Exercises Can Make Me Get Shorter?
Generally, exercises will not make you shorter. There’s also a common myth that lifting weights during adolescence may limit your growth, but there’s no evidence to prove this. In reality, when exercise is done correctly, it actually strengthens your bones and protects your joints from injury.
However, it’s important to note that using poor resistance training techniques or carrying overly heavyweights can damage your growth plates. Growth plates are the soft regions of your long bones that lead to growth.
Again, these aren’t the only factors that can cause injuries to your growth plate. Studies show that 15 to 30 per cent of childhood bone fractures negatively impact our growth plate. But with correct treatment, there are very rare instances of complications.
Amazing Ways to Look Shorter Than You Really Are
Even as there are no practical ways to become shorter, you can still make yourself look shorter than you are. The secret is your wardrobe. As a rule of thumb, aim to wear oversized clothes or clothes that add volume to your stature.
Regardless, it is a common misconception that vertical lines make you look taller while horizontal lines make you appear wider. However, studies suggest the opposite.
- Flat shoes: Shoes without lifts or heels will make you look shorter
- Stay away from pointed shoes: Avoid wearing pointed shoes. These shoes make your legs appear longer
- Skirts over the knee. When your skirts go over the knee, they create an illusion of shorter legs.
- Wear cuffed pants: when you wear pants with cuffs at the bottom or roll up your pants, it gives the illusion of your legs being shorter.
- Color blocking: When you wear tops and bottoms that are two vastly different colors, they segment your body and create the illusion of being shorter.
- Wear shoes that cover more than your feet: For example slide-on sandals, open-toed heels, oxfords, boots, and a pair of mules.
- Wear longer jackets or tops: This really works especially when they are baggy and will make your legs appear shorter. In contrast, you should avoid tight tops.
- Let your hair flow around your shoulders: Longer hair worn down makes you look shorter.
- Accessorize with a large purse; when your purse seems larger than your clothes, you appear shorter.
Factors That Influence Growth
As said earlier, genetics play a highly important role. But that’s only about 60 to 80 per cent. In reality, your entire health, nutrition, and sleep quality are equally important.
As just said, genetics play up to 80 per cent. But the remaining 20 per cent comes from sleep, exercise habits, and diet.
Studies show that the average woman’s height is shorter than a man’s. The CDC’s 2018 National Health Statistics Report, states that the average height of men in the United States over 20 years is 5-foot, 9-inches. For women, that average height is 5-foot, 3.6-inches
Sleep is also important not just for your overall health but for growth as well. Studies show that the growth hormone is more at work while we sleep. The growth hormone is an anabolic hormone that drives protein synthesis in the muscle, bone, and connective tissues, thereby leading to growth. It’s no wonder, we often feel our kids grow taller ‘overnight’.
Your health during childhood can also impact your height as an adult. Some such examples include:
- Down Syndrome
- Delayed puberty
- Russell-Silver syndrome
- Achondroplasia (dwarfism)
Nutrition can also influence growth. When children are malnourished, the result is stunted growth because they lack vitamin D, protein, and calcium. Again when children and adolescents suffer from eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, they experience stunted growth as well. However, if the eating disorder is treated early, they might catch up on that growth. However, if they are dealing with chronic malnutrition, it might lead to permanent impaired growth
Genetics plays a highly important role in your height. So there’s no practical way to make yourself shorter. Therefore, it’s more helpful to realize that your height is a unique part of you and make it work for you.
That said, you can always wear particular clothes or styles to add volume to your body and create the illusion of being shorter. But regardless, taking the focus off your height will lead to living a happier and more fulfilling existence.