How to Increase Your Height: Before and After 18

Your height can be determined by a lot of factors and things, including nutrition, health, genetics, etc. Increasing your height after 18 will not be easy, but there are ways to do it naturally and safely.
May 11, 2022 | 08:20

Many people are unhappy with their height. But can anything be done about it?

If you have asked this question, you are not alone. Some claim good nutrition or special exercises can increase your height as an adult, according to Healthline.

What Determines Your Height?

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Before discussing whether it’s possible to change your height as an adult, it’s important to consider what determines your height in the first place.

The easy answer is genetics, but that isn’t quite the whole story.

Studying twins is one way scientists determine the extent to which genetics affect body height.

In general, height in twins is highly correlated. This means that if one twin is tall, the other is likely to be tall as well.

Based on studies in twins, it’s estimated that 60–80% of the difference in height between people is due to genetics.

The other 20–40% is due to environmental factors like nutrition.

Trends in height worldwide help demonstrate the importance of nutrition and lifestyle factors.

One enormous study including 18.6 million people reported changes in height over the last century.

The study found that in many countries, the average person was taller in 1996 than in 1896.

Improved nutritional intake in these countries may be the cause for this change.

Scientists estimate that differences in height are about 60–80% due to genetics and 20–40% due to environmental factors like nutrition. In many countries, average height has increased over the last century.

What factors affect height?

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Babies and children grow continuously. This is due to changes in the growth plates in the long bones of their arms and legs. As the growth plates make new bone, the long bones get longer, and the child gets taller.

In the first year of their lives, babies typically grow by 50%. Between the ages of 2 and 5, children usually grow by 2.5–3.5 inches (in), or 6.3–8.9 centimeters (cm), annually.

By age 10, children will usually grow by 2.5 in, or 6.3 cm, every year. During adolescence, which lasts from roughly age 11 to age 21, teenagers will reach the final 15–20% of their adult height.

After this, the growth plates stop making new bone, and a person will stop growing. Due to typical aging processes, people began to lose height gradually as they get older.

The following factors can affect how tall a person will become:


DNA is the main factor determining a person’s height. Scientists have identified more than different gene variants that determine height. Some of these genes affect the growth plates, and others affect the production of growth hormones.

Normal height ranges are different for people from different ethnic backgrounds, with DNA being the main determinant.

Some genetic conditions, including Down syndrome and Marfan syndrome, can also affect a person’s adult height.


The body produces hormones that instruct the growth plates to make new bone. These hormones include:

  • Growth hormones: These are made in the pituitary gland and are the most important hormone for growth. Some health conditions can restrict the amount of growth hormones the body makes, and this can impact height. For instance, children with a rare genetic condition called congenital growth hormone deficiency will grow at a much slower rate than other children.
  • Thyroid hormones: The thyroid gland makes hormones that influence growth.
  • Sex hormones: Testosterone and estrogen are very important for growth during puberty.

Average height based on sex and age

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Males tend to be taller than females. Adolescent males will typically have a major growth spurt at the onset of puberty, about 2 years after their female counterparts, but they may continue to grow for longer than females.

Females will typically experience a growth spurt that will subside after the start of their menstrual cycle, which on average occurs at the age of around 12.5 years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, the average adult male is 5.7 feet (ft), or 175.2 cm, tall, and the average female is 5.3 ft, or 161.2 cm, tall.

The following chart shows the median height for males and females from childhood to adulthood:

Age in years

Male height (50th percentile)

Female height (50th percentile)


2.8 ft (86.5 cm)

2.8 ft (84.9 cm)


3.6 ft (109.2 cm)

3.5 ft (107.9 cm)


4.5 ft (138.8 cm)

4.5 ft (138.2 cm)


5.6 ft (170.1 cm)

5.3 ft (161.9 cm)


5.8 ft (176.8 cm)

5.3 ft (163.3 cm)

How to help your height before 18


Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

A balanced diet is essential when it comes to growth. Nutrients like calcium and vitamin D are very important, as research shows that both can significantly benefit bone health.

Eating fruits and veggies to hit your vitamin and mineral quota is important for everyone — but especially for those who are still growing.

Research also shows that protein is essential for bone health and can benefit the bone density of the spine. A 2016 study of 45 sets of twins found that nutrition is especially important in infancy, and a lack of protein may be the biggest environmental factor that can influence height.


Photo: Healthline
Photo: Healthline

Research has shown that many of the functions affecting growth happen during sleep, which may mean proper sleep is necessary for proper growth.

A 2013 study found that children with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) had lower growth hormone levels, height, and weight compared to children who didn’t have OSA. Since OSA can cause restless or interrupted sleep, these findings suggest poor sleep quality has a negative effect on growth.

Stay active

Exercise won’t make your bones grow longer, but research suggests physical activity can increase the mineral density of bones, especially during adolescence.

A diet rich in calcium combined with a healthy amount of physical activity can maximize bone mass and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Staying active is also important because it strengthens muscles and bones and likely promotes the release of the human growth hormone (HGH). Unsurprisingly, HGH plays a big role in physical development. It kick-starts growth in childhood and promotes cell repair (ya know, the process that keeps us youthful and healthy).

Pay attention to your posture

Your posture makes a huge difference in how tall you appear. If you’re always slumped over, you can look a few inches shorter than you are. Sitting up or standing tall instantly adds a few inches to your frame (it’s all an illusion, folks). So hold that head high!

Just can’t make yourself un-slouch? If you’re really invested in improving your posture, you can try out a posture correcting device.

Practice yoga

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

You may have heard the popular myth that yoga can make you taller. In reality, a regular yoga practice helps build muscular strength, which can support better posture.

Yoga can also teach you how to focus on your breathing, which can help with posture. In other words, yoga may make you appear taller, but it’s not actually making you grow.

Build and strengthen your muscles

A quick online search for exercises to make you taller may yield some seemingly promising results, but the truth is there are no exercises that will make you grow once you’ve reached your max height.

Gaining muscle mass and strengthening your muscles can support better posture. Building muscle might also make you feel more confident, which can affect the way you carry yourself.

How to Increase Height after 18 Years

Photo: Cleveland Clinic
Photo: Cleveland Clinic

Though it is possible to increase height after 18 years of age, extra effort is required in order to reap positive results as the development of the body slows down gradually. It’s a well-known fact that nutrition is imperative for further growth and development, most importantly natural height gain. In addition to this, a number of other factors should also be taken into consideration to trigger height growth after attaining the age of 18 years.

Healthy Breakfast:It is recommended to have a healthy breakfast always. Skipping breakfast is not at all a healthy option for your growth and hence your height. Having proper breakfast boosts your metabolism and thus has a positive effect on your height also.

Proper Nutrition: Proper nutrition is absolutely vital for a healthy body. Most people fail to reach their maximum height at the age of 18 due to inadequate nutrition. To get proper nutrition, it is necessary to follow a balanced diet. Consumption of essential nutrients provides the required stimulus for increasing the body height both naturally and medically. Apart from these points, including food items rich in zinc, manganese, and phosphorus also contributes to your height.

Have Adequate Sleep and Rest: Proper sleep and rest plays a vital role in overall growth and development. Teenagers require at least 8.5 to 11 hours of sleep every night. This is because the body grows and regenerates tissues during sleep. Moreover, the human growth hormone, which is responsible for increasing height, is produced while sleeping. Hence, proper sleep and rest are mandatory for height gain.

Frequent, Smaller Meals: Have six small meals in a day instead of three in order to boost your metabolism. The results of your height gain regime even after the age of 18 years and the amount of human growth hormone produced depends on what you eat. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you are getting the necessary vitamins, minerals, and protein required for attaining full height naturally.

Exercise and Yoga Regime: Exercise is a vital factor in increasing your height after 18 years of age. Simple exercises like skipping, hanging from an overhead bar, and stretching the body by standing on your toes should be part of your daily workout routine. Additionally, sporting activities like basketball, football and swimming are also beneficial for increasing height. Yoga is also very effective.

Maintain Ideal Body Weight:Obesity can have an adverse effect on your height. Obesity can cause several health problems too. Hence, it is important to maintain the ideal body weight by following a balanced diet and a proper exercise regime.

Drink Plenty of Water: Water flushes out toxins from your body and aids in digestion. Therefore, at least drink 8 glasses of water every day is recommended for better health.

Avoid Growth Inhibitors: Teenagers often adopt the habit of smoking and drinking without realizing the adverse effects on their growth. Antibiotics, drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol act as growth inhibitors; therefore, avoid them to grow taller naturally even after the age of 18.

Practice Good Posture: To increase height even after the age of 18, a good posture can play a vital role in the development and increasing height. Always try to keep your head and neck aligned in a straight posture. Bending and slouching causes your spinal cord to suppress normal height.

Avoid Smoking and Drinking: Indulging in smoking and drinking suppresses your primary growth. It initiates your secondary growth which adversely affects your height. Hence, it is better to refrain from immoral activities.

Here are all the tips on how to increase height after 18 in men & women. Fortunately, it is possible to increase height after 18 years is possible by following the above-mentioned steps. In spite of this, if your height has not increased much in between the time before and after puberty, it advisable to get medical help in order to get to the root of the problem.

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