Although some men may continue to grow in their 20s, most men’s growth plates are closed by 21 years. Hence, it is unlikely for men to grow after 21 years, with some exceptions.
In a healthy growth pattern, your bone increases in length due to the growth plates in the bone called epiphyses. During puberty, your epiphyses mature, and at the end of puberty, they fuse and stop growing.
Growth stops in the following order:
- Hands and feet stop growing
- Arms and legs stop growing
- The spine growth stops
Once the epiphyses fuse, the person’s height does not increase anymore. A person's growth is controlled by growth hormone, thyroid hormone, and sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.
8 factors that determine your height
Your height depends on various factors, including:
- Genetics: Your height is primarily determined by genetics or rather by the height of your parents. Studies have reported that height in twins is related. For example, if one twin is tall, the other twin tends to be tall. Similarly, people having well-built and tall parents are more likely to be tall and well-built, whereas people having short parents are more likely to be short. According to studies, 60 to 80 percent of growth is determined by genetics, whereas 20 to 40 percent is determined by other factors such as nutrition and lifestyle.
- Nutrition: Nutrition can play a key role in determining your growth, as visible trends in height are taken worldwide. A study has reported that malnourished children and adults may not achieve their desired growth and fail to survive. In the same study, the height difference between 1896 and 1996 has been highlighted. With increased awareness about nutrition and lifestyle, people today have better growth and development, on average, than their ancestors 1,000 years ago.
- Cultural reasons: Cultural factors can affect the height of human beings. Some changes in the geographical area distribution can significantly influence a child's height.
- Socioeconomic reasons: Socioeconomic factors can play a significant role in children’s growth. Some ways in which socioeconomic factors can influence physical growth include:
- Children of higher socioeconomic status, including higher income, have better growth due to adequate nutrition, better childcare, and better medical and social services.
- In a developed country, obesity is commonly seen in lower social classes due to poor diet, whereas the reverse is true in a developing country.
- The size of a family can indirectly influence the height because children in large families are usually smaller and lighter.
- Sex: Women tend to be shorter than men. Girls hit puberty earlier than boys, meaning the ends of their growing bones fuse earlier. Moreover, hormonal differences in boys (such as higher testosterone levels) stimulate the bones to grow thicker and longer.
- Certain medical conditions: Some of the medical conditions that can affect height include
- Turner syndrome (genetic problems occurring in girls due to complete or partial absence of one X chromosome)
- Down syndrome (a genetic disorder that causes poor growth)
- Achondroplasia (genetic bone disease)
- Cushing syndrome
- Precocious puberty
- Digestive tract diseases
- Exercise: Exercise or physical activity during childhood can significantly influence a person’s growth. Exercise can promote the release of growth hormones responsible for increasing height.
- Medications: A few studies have reported that children who take medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder tend to be marginally shorter than their peers. Other studies, however, have disproved this finding and stated that the child would likely catch up with their peers once the medications are stopped.
3 efficient ways to achieve your desired height before the age of 21 years
Although it is hard to increase your height as an adult, there are ways by which you can maximize your height during your teenage years, which include:
1. Good nutrition
A healthy diet comprising all the essential vitamins and minerals is crucial for growth. Some of the important minerals associated with growth and height include:
- Vitamin D
One of the best ways to prevent nutritional deficiency is to include fruits and vegetables in your diet. Including protein can be favorable for proper growth. Proteins from egg, soy, lean meats, and dairy can significantly affect your growth.
2. Adequate sleep
Growth and thyroid-stimulating hormones are normally released during sleep. Both these hormones are crucial for the proper development of bones. Sleep deprivation can suppress these hormones, thereby affecting your growth. Getting the recommended amount of sleep for your age might help you achieve your desired height. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recommended hours of sleep per day for different age groups are as follows:
|Age group||Recommended hours of sleep per day (24 hours)|
|6 to 12 years||9 to 12 hours|
|13 to 18 years||8 to 10 hours|
3. Regular exercise
Moderate physical activities can have a positive effect on growth. However, intensive physical training can negatively affect your height. Exercises that strengthen core muscles may help achieve your desired height. Some of the core stability exercises may include:
- Abdominal crunch
- Hip bridge
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3 ways to look taller after reaching 21 years
There are three ways by which you can look taller including:
- Wearing heels or inserts: Always choose shoes with taller heals, or you can even place inserts in your shoes to make you look taller.
- Maintaining a good posture: Maintaining a good posture will not only make you look taller but also prevent many issues, including
- Prevents neck, shoulder, and back pain
- Improves your flexibility
- Reduces the risk of falling and maintains your balance
- Helps digest food
- Helps you breathe easily
- Improves joint motion
- Losing weight and getting toned: A muscular body can make you confident about yourself. It can improve your posture and make you appear leaner and taller.
Being tall or short is mainly dependent on your genetic makeup, and it is always better to accept yourself the way you are. Try to embrace yourself the way you are and the fact that you cannot change yourself.
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