Myths Concerning Growing Taller and Stunted Growth

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There are tons of old wives’ tales out there about strategies for growing taller. They might not all hurt you, but they sure won’t help. If anyone has any studies that back up any of these strategies, I’d gladly move them from my myths section to my realities section:

  • Skipping. How this is a thing I have no idea, particularly when you look at the myths (and realities) laid out earlier about gymnastics and weightlifting. If weightlifting makes you short (myth) and gymnastics makes you short (partially true, as detailed above), how would skipping (relatively high impact asymmetric leaping from one foot to the other) make you taller?
  • Sports like: Swimming, basketball, cycling, any others, making you taller, dispelled above. They’re amazing activities and can help you grow stronger, faster, smarter, and build teamwork and leadership skills, but they won’t make you taller.
  • Stretching and yoga. Things like “Growing Tall for Idiots”. They can help your posture, but as you’re growing they won’t add inches, they’ll just help you express your height.
  • Hanging exercises. They’ll decompress your spinal disks allowing you to gain as much as a half inch in the middle of the day, but the gains will only last a few hours.
  • Salt in your shoes.
  • Praying and wishful thinking. They might make you feel better, but you won’t get taller as a result.
  • Miracle pills — things like Ayurvedic Urea, Ayurvedic “Step Up.” Snake oil is a unsubstantiated claim applied to medicines and supplements. Even actual Ayurvedic practitioners will tell you that there is nothing in any Ayurvedic textbook on height increase. All height increase supplements are snake oil.
  • Particular diets and foods (milk, etc) will make you taller. While eating enough is essential to realizing your full potential, there’s no evidence that any particular food will have more effect than anything else. There’s also no evidence that other animal’s growth hormones (like trace amounts of bovine growth hormone in milk) will help you grow taller or stronger. The only diet you need is one that contains a good balance of carbs, proteins, fats, and contains all the vitamins and minerals you need.
  • Particular foods will stunt your growth. There is NO evidence that coffee stunts your growth. Diet Coke does not stunt your growth. The major problems with diet drinks and coffee are that they contain very little in the way of nutrients and can fill up a kid’s stomach. Plus, caffeine can be used as an appetite suppressant. All of this adds up to a child not getting enough nutrients. Sodas aren’t great because they’re packed with sugar. While you need sugar, you don’t need the amount a couple sodas give you, and you need other nutrients just as much: proteins, fats, vitamins and electrolytes like potassium and calcium. I kept my kids away from these drinks to keep their appetite going so they have enough room to eat.
  • That particular activities like weight lifting will stunt your growth, as mentioned above.
  • Exercise releases HGH that will help you grow. Studies on this phenomenon have shown that HGH release through exercise only has an effect on the localized areas that are exercised. Lifting legs releases much more GH than lifting arms. If you work legs and arms in the same day, it will not make your arms stronger than if you lift your arms by themselves even though your body is coursing with GH. There is no reason to think that your height will be affected by GH released through exercise for that reason and there is no evidence to back up that claim. Exercise and weight lifting during puberty is a great thing, it could possibly set you up to be much stronger and healthier throughout your life…just not taller.
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