Some people are bothered by the fact that they are shorter. It is widely believed that by the age of 21 it is not possible to gain additional height, and you must make do with whatever amount of growth your body has already managed, but this is not necessarily true. In some cases it is possible to add to your height after you have reached the age of 21, both naturally and with a doctor's assistance.
Can You Grow Taller After the Age of 21?
There are two main factors that determine how tall you will grow. A majority, 60-80 percent, of your height is determined by your genetics while 20-40 percent of your height is determined by your environment. Nutrition is the largest contributor in your environment that contributes to your height.
Within genetic contributions, there is a great deal of variation that needs to be considered when evaluating height. In most cases, men are taller than women. There is also a great deal of variety between different ethnic groups which will play a factor in how tall a person is likely to become. Parental height also plays a large factor in how tall a person is likely to become. Of course, recessive height genes can also play a factor in the height of children so this is not a foolproof standard for how tall a child is likely to become.
Four to five centimeters of height can be determined by nutrition during the growing phase. The body requires certain nutrients such as protein, calcium, vitamin D and others to produce the muscle and bone necessary to allow the body to reach its maximum height. Girls usually have this spurt in their mid-teens while boys go through this change a few years later.
Do I Stop Growing?
There is no specific set age where growing will stop, but rather growing will stop when the growth plates located in areas such as the knees or wrists around the bones close. Growth hormones trigger these plates and cause them to start producing additional structure at regular intervals as the body develops. Around age 21 the production of this hormone slows down and will eventually stop, causing the growth plates to close.
How to Grow Taller
If your growth plates have not yet closed, you can stimulate the growth hormones in your body to gain more height.
One of the best ways to do this naturally is to get more sleep, which helps facilitate the proper conditions for growing. Taking hot showers and getting a lot of exercise can also create the conditions which can help you develop these hormones. In some cases, doctors can also supply you with growth hormone treatments that can be taken to help stimulate growth if it is appropriate.
Healthy Eating Habits
Eating on a regular schedule and getting the proper nutrients into your system is essential to allowing your body to add healthy mass. Eat foods rich in calcium, vitamin D, protein, and zinc so that your body has everything it needs to build more bone and muscle. You may also want to add additional vitamin C to your diet to boost your immune system as some illnesses can diminish your height. You will also need to avoid smoking or drinking alcohol as these substances can also diminish your height.
Keep Good Posture
Gaining height after the growth plates have been closed is more difficult, but still possible. Practicing good posture can help maximize the height you have so you look taller and leaner. In some cases, performing spine stretching exercises can also help you gain an additional inch or two of height if practiced regularly.
In some cases, surgical procedures can be done to help add length to the legs to make you taller. These procedures are performed by breaking the legs and stretching them apart, forcing the body to create more bone when they heal. Sometimes, bolts are also added to the bones to help maintain this new size with the right amount of support. These procedures can be quite labor intensive and are only recommended to those who have serious difficulties stemming from their short stature.
While this is not a permanent solution, people can wear "status shoes" to add height to their appearance. These shoes contain lifts with large insoles that add extra height without making it obvious. Sometimes this footwear can add 1-3 inches of height to the wearer.