From Short to Tall – Yoga or Exercise?
Short people know the struggle – from reaching for the containers on the topmost drawers to dragging in a chair with a resigned sigh to repair the fan or set the light bulb properly. While this has pushed many of us, the author of this article included, to try new and daring positions to gain our different goals left hanging in the air – literally – one may never get over the feeling of want for height. Genetics has more often than not been blamed for this, a proof of evidence to be found in me and my family, but exercise and the right sources of nutrition have been found to be extremely helpful.
One’s height will not increase after the closing of your growth plates – closure of those plates will lead to stunted growth. Exercises can help you to a high extent, before 18 years of age, as has been found by research recently. One’s body reacts differently at different points of age and hence, experts have suggested that by 21 years of age, an increase in height has been witnessed in those who regularly practice yoga, especially certain sections of it.
Exercise as a tool for the increase in height:
Active participation in sports can help a lot – somebody of short genes with active participation in sports will see an influence in their skeletal system; an elongation of their bone structures and a flow of nutrition towards the bones will be witnessed, making them long and strong. Exercise helps best when your body is flexible and willing enough to accept and implement change while testing the body’s limits. Stretching exercises are best recommended in your pursuit for height, to strengthen the muscles and make the backbone long and firm. Development of the muscles of the backbone ensures elongation by an inch or two, something termed as ‘spinal decompression’. Stretching exercises could include but not be excluded from hanging upside down, pull-ups, pushups, swimming, crunches, etc.
Some of the most effective ones are mentioned here:
- The Cobra is the most effective and most famous in increasing height – lie on your front with your belly facing down and then lift the torso without moving your hips from the floor. This exercise helps in the elongation of your upper body length.
- The Yawn, similar to the stretching done when we wake up in the morning is effective in the lengthening of one’s body, provided it is done in routine and in the right form.
- The Pelvic shift is another exercise that is increasingly becoming reputed; it allows for the strengthening of the thighs and the calf muscles while increasing the blood circulation and metabolism.
There are many other exercises, too – like the Table Stretch exercise, which is to be done under strict supervision and is one of the most rewarding ones. Hanging from monkey bars, an activity that we have all indulged in at some point of time during our childhood is another remarkable way of elongating your spine; this exercise allows the vertebrae to lengthen, which subsequently allows the spinal discs to retain more fluid and resulting in the lengthening and the stretching of the spine. The activity also calls for the involvement of the neck muscles, thus acting as a trigger for the release of growth hormones, where the thyroid gland is situated. This also helps in height synthesis. Swimming aims to give a full-body workout, gradually increasing your height by making you stretch a lot, but rigorous and regular practice is required for witnessing any solid result. Exercises like cycling and skipping belong to the category of exercises that provide results quickly and resoundingly; these involve the full usage of all the hand and the leg muscles while working on the balance of the body and the coordination of the entire system. They influence the cardiovascular systems of the body while being highly intense and involving a continuous usage and stretching of the muscles required. Regular walking, in fact, is the safest cardio exercise and is more slowly and steadily effective.
Yoga as a tool for the increase in height:
Yoga is the act of influencing the steady – it is more useful in cases where the body has achieved firmness, but still desires agility, stability and a sense of balance. The foundation of yoga is relaxation; every asana is built upon that point of steadiness. Many poses in yoga help in two ways to increase height – by correcting one’s slouch and another by stimulating the growth hormones present in one’s body. One’s unconscious, yet uncomfortable, posture and possibly a lack of confidence leads to a slouch which subsequently leads to you looking shorter than you originally are. Yoga is also framed to relax one’s mind, de-stress, and de-clutter, simultaneously leading to the secretion of growth hormones. The inner cleansing and detoxification that your body goes through help in the stimulation of this hormone and rigorous practice would definitely help in seeing a sold change.
The asanas that most help are as follows:
- Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation) is the most famed of all the asanas in yoga. It is a complete body workout of twelve exercises and helps in the improvement of the body’s blood circulation. Your spine’s flexibility improves and this consequently strengthens your muscles and your joints.
- Sukhasana (Pleasant Pose) is an easier pose and imitates a meditative stance. Best done on an empty stomach, it strengthens the back and stretches the knees while spreading calm and peace throughout. An elongated spine in this manner will assist in healthy body alignment.
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose) is based on posture improvement and the strengthening of your joints. Your balance is aimed at, proper blood circulation and the relieving of tension from your body frame while confirming the flexibility and agility of your spine.
- Marjariasana (Cat Pose) imitates a cat’s stance, strengthening your shoulders and making your spine more flexible. It tones the body by removing the unnecessary fat while urging blood circulation along. Regular practice of this pose ensures that all the unnecessary strain left in your body is removed.
- Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) again helps in the stretching of the spine and in a healthy increase of appetite and reduction of obesity.
Many more poses like the Vrikshasana, the tree pose as the name suggests, helps in the improvement of one’s focus, concentration, and your posture. All these poses aim to strengthen your body frame and all your joints while improving your stability, agility, flexibility and the strength of your spine, an important determinant of your body structure.
Other factors that influence height:
Sleep is an added surprise factor – human growth hormones are produced in higher quantities when the body is at rest, the apt time being when you are sleeping. Eight hours of sleep is the minimum recommendation for a general adult. Factors like meditation, high levels of stress, immunity strength and proper exposure to sunlight matter in the contribution to one’s height. Meditation helps in the secretion of the essential pituitary gland hormone, a key contributor to one’s height. Exposure to sunlight works well as it generates Vitamin D, an important component in the strong and healthy growth of the bones; however, it must be done while keeping ultraviolet radiation in mind. Abusive substances like drugs and alcohol must be kept far away and consumed none at all, as they interfere with our growth metabolism and our hormone secretion. Stress is another negative cause of stunted height. Simply understood, the factors that affect you negatively, affect your body negatively, which in turn affects the capability of your body to secrete the necessary ingredients that culminate in your height.
Keep yourself happy, well-rested, well-fed with all the necessary nutrients and the needed exercises routines suited for your age (either exercise or yoga, since both include the essence of your goal, one focuses on the strain and the sweat, while the other focuses more on the relaxation factor) and you’ll find yourself happy and satisfied, standing tall at the height you desire.