People in general associate certain ages with certain things. For example, most people can drive at the age of 16, you are considered an adult at the age of 18, you are legally allowed to take alcohol at 21, and so much more. It's no wonder then, that people always ask, “Can I still grow taller at 25?”
Truth be told, we would be lying if we gave you a definite “yes or no” answer. It is more of a “there is a possibility that you can still grow taller.” That is because many factors affect your height as an individual. While there are some you can control and modify, there are some factors you cannot control. Before we delve into these factors and how you can modify them, let us see why humans stop growing in the first place. This will provide a foundation we can build on.
Why Do We Stop Growing Taller?
See, height in humans is a direct link to how long our bones get. Bones (long bones to be specific) have what are called the "epiphyses or growth plates." These growth plates respond to hormones like the growth hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and sex hormones by increasing in length.
After the growth spurt associated with puberty, the production of the aforementioned hormones reduces, and the growth plates of long bones fuse. This typically occurs around the age of 16 for women and somewhere between 14 and 19 for men.
So in theory, after those ages, you cannot grow taller. However, if science has taught you anything, it should be that theory is more often than not, different from practicals.
Factor 1: Genetics
Genetics is the biggest, single most important factor affecting a person’s height. Scientists estimate that it takes up about 80% of all factors determining a person's height. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your point of view, you cannot control your genes.
There is a rough calculation that parents can do to determine a child’s height. It is called the “mid-parental height”
- Step 1: add the height of the mother and the father.
- Step 2: divide the total by 2
- Step 3: for a boy, add 2.5”; for a girl subtract 2.5”
It is important to note that the above arithmetic is a rough estimate. It is not a concert fact. So before you break up with your boyfriend, examine the other factors.
Factor 2: Nutrition
After the big daddy factor genetics is done, nutrition is the next big determinant of height. Adults who are stunted more often than not, have a history of one form of nutritional deficiency or the other.
Protein deficiency is the number one culprit. There are, however, several other nutrients that could cause a limitation in a person's height. These include minerals like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins like vitamin D.
All these nutrients are essential for bone growth, which in effect, makes them important for height. A diet that contains these nutrients in the right amount can help you gain a few millimeters in height.
Factor 3: Sleep
Yup, sleep as simple as it sounds plays a role in your height. This is because while most bodily functions slow down during sleep, the levels of growth hormone and other growth-inducing hormones like thyroid-stimulating hormones increase during sleep.
Although the exact science behind sleep and height gain is not fully understood, lack of sleep is known to stunt growth. Note though that different age groups have different sleep requirements.
So before you go sleeping the whole day, here is a table that contains the CDC's recommended sleep requirements per day for the different age groups. For the sake of this article though, teens are recommended to have about 8-10 hours of sleep every 24 hours and 20 – 30-year-olds need 7 hours or more per night.
Factor 4: Exercise
Even for an individual below 25, exercise helps when it comes to increasing height as it stimulates the secretion of growth hormones. Exercises especially those that involve stretching also improve posture which itself can add about an inch to your height.
Stretch exercises work not just by physiologically promoting growth through hormones but also through mechanical stimuli by playing on the characteristics of elasticity and plasticity of human bones, muscles and tendons. Yoga poses like Surya Namaskar and the Cobra are especially helpful when it comes to stretching and growing taller after 25.
Much of your height is dependent on factors you cannot control, that is your genes. The other factors are however within your control.
It goes without saying that for maximum effect, those factors are best modulated before the growth plate of an individual's long bones fuses. However, with the right food, the right amount of sleep, and the right type of exercise, a 25-year-old can add 1 or 2 inches to his or her height.
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