Standing at 5 feet 5 inches tall, I’m pretty happy with my height. That said, if I was offered the chance to grow a few inches to make my #legsfordays dreams a reality, I’d most certainly take it. Sadly, there’s really no way to increase your height aside from those platform sneakers in your closet. Still, some people insist that regular stretching does the trick. But is there any merit to that claim? Does stretching make you taller?
Stretching can help to improve mobility, boost energy, fight off aches and pains, and prevent injury. Far beyond that you’re out of luck I’m afraid. “Stretching will not make you taller—that’s determined by your bone structure, among other factors,” says Katie Sun Worrall, DPT, physical therapist at Zion Physical Therapy. There is some good news, though: If you’re a chronic sloucher (like me!), stretching could make you appear to be taller.
“If you slouch when standing or sitting, your trunk muscles may be in a constant shortened state. Stretching can help improve your posture and allow you to stand up straighter, effectively making you appear taller,” says Worall. “If you sit hunched over at a desk all day, the muscles you should stretch to help improve your posture—and stand up straighter!—are your pecs. I would also recommend any exercise that will help lengthen your spine, like yoga.”
Also cool: Putting a focus on lengthening and stretching your muscles while you’re young can help maintain your height when you’re older, since your stature often diminishes with age, says the Cleveland Clinic. Sure, stretching won’t actually make you taller. But you’ll definitely stand a little taller now and in the future if you’re consistent with a stretching routine.
Ready to get your stretch on? Here are the two key components your routine needs. And, of course, make sure you’re stretching the right way.