As we are growing up we often hope that we’ll eventually grow to become taller than our class mates and will settle at somewhere in the upper-average region. Some of us start off short and then get a burst of growth where we end up taller than everyone we know, while others of us start of tall but then sort of plateau and do not get any taller. Of course others will stay consistent, growing at about average rate until the end. At this point then it is anybody’s guess who’ll end up the giants and who’ll get short changes.
Once we reach about the age of 20, most of us consider ourselves all grown-out, and at this point it can be frustrating if we didn’t reach the kind of height we were hoping for. It is a fact that taller people are more likely to earn higher salaries, be more attractive to the opposite sex, and reach things off the top shelf… So the question is, can you continue growing past the age of 21, and how can you facilitate this growth if so?
Many people claim that you can continue to grow past the age of 21 with the range of ages growth is thought to end spanning all the way to 27. Others meanwhile believe that we can not grow past the age of 17. This is because the truth is actually more complicated and there is no ‘set age’ where we all stop growing. Instead we stop growing at the age that our growth plates close, and this changes from individual to individual, presumably determined genetically.
Growth plates are the bones in your joints which facilitate growth and are located in your wrists and knees etc. When we sleep our body produces growth hormone which causes us to grow more, but it is through our growth plates that this occurs. When they close then, usually around the age of 21, it means we no longer use the growth hormone in that way.
If you are 21 then and you are not happy with your height, it does not necessarily mean that you should give up as there will still be a chance that your growth plates haven’t closed (only an x-ray can tell you this). The best way then to improve your growth during this point is to increase the amount of growth hormone in your body by getting more sleep, and also by taking hot showers and exercising which also results in more growth hormone. As these are recommended for your general health and well being anyway it certainly does not hurt to try and get more rest and exercise. If you are short enough that it creates problems in your daily life, then speak to a doctor and they might be able to test your growth plates and supply you with growth hormone.
If your growth plates have already closed then there is little you can do to increase your height. Some claim that you can add up to an inch by stretching your spine, and from improving your posture. Interestingly we tend to measure as taller first thing in the morning due to our spine becoming depressed throughout the day lending credence to this idea. However the amount of growth you can expect is very marginal, particularly considering the amount of work involved in stretching your spine and performing such exercises.
Another option is a temporary one, but perhaps the best idea for anyone who is unhappy with their height, and this is to wear ‘status shoes’ or insoles designed to offer extra height. This way you will become taller when you put on those shoes meaning that you will be guaranteed one to three inches in extra height for interviews, dates, or whenever you go outside if you so wish.
Failing all this, if your height is a serious problem that affects your confidence and lifestyle, then there surgical procedures available that can increase the length of your legs by breaking them and pulling them apart so that they heal between the gaps. This however is a very painful procedure that requires you to endure broken legs and bolts drilled into your bones for months or years. The real best solution to the problem then, is simply to value the benefits of being slightly shorter and to come to terms with your natural height.
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