Does Cycling Increase Height?
The idea that cycling can increase height has been circulated around the internet, raising questions on various forums with conflicting viewpoints. This may be to do with no scientific data to either prove or disprove the idea. However, while there is not any direct evidence to support the idea of exercise helping the body to produce growth hormone us one that can't be dismissed easily.
So does cycling increase height, or not?
Height is mainly determined through genetics, but there is some evidence suggesting high-intensity exercise can influence the body to release growth hormone, yet cycling itself has not been directly tested. Cycling does act by strengthening core muscles for a straighter posture which may add some height.
Can Cycling Increase Height Through Puberty?
Cycling may influence growth through puberty, but the amount of growth is dependent on how the body reacts to exercise through releasing growth hormone. Some people may see no benefits, while others may see a good amount of growth.
If you have a bad posture then it is also possible to strengthen your core back muscles through cycling and to stand a small amount taller as these muscles can support the spine to be held upright throughout the day.
Two things that go hand in hand with each other to propel additional height gained from cycling through puberty are diet and sleep.
To grow you need to feed your muscles, helping them to strengthen and support the body. As you cycle more, you will start to see your legs toning up and becoming leaner. If you feed your muscles in the correct way you are going to look taller and stand with a better posture.
A good night's sleep will repair your muscles. Sleep is also where a large amount of human growth hormone (HGH) gets released, feeding the bones, and enabling bodily growth, so combine good quality sleep and cycling, and who knows the effects - it certainly won't harm you.
Can Cycling Increase Height as an Adult?
After growth plates have fused there will be no way to increase bone height through exercise. However, the proper form of cycling involves keeping the body upright, which strengthens core muscles and helps maintain mass by keeping them active.
It also helps to shape the body into a toned appearance, and a defined, slender shape can certainly help you to look taller.
So, at any age cycling provides a core workout, targeting back muscles and abdominals. This can help you to maintain a better posture, supporting the spine. All of these things stand side by side to help you to stand straighter for longer periods of time. Although you will not be physically taller, the result of a straighter posture can make you appear taller when an adult.
Indoor Cycling For Height Gain
Like swimming in an indoor pool, indoor cycling lacks the rocky, uneven terrains that the outside brings, giving a steady ground (no ascents or descents).
The benefit of this is a steady stream which can be beneficial for evenly targeting and strengthening certain muscle groups, without the sudden jolts of uneven terrain.
However, a stationary cycle tends to primarily use hamstring and calf muscles due to the flywheel, and while it still works out your core, it is not to the extent of outdoor cycling, and a good core workout can help you to stand straighter and taller.
Boredom is another component that can leave you feeling like you are working harder than you really are. It is also easier to become lazy, as once the pedals are spinning they take some of the load off of you and in effect do the work for you. It is also possible to turn down the resistance of the pedals if you are feeling tired, and so on. To get maximum gains a good workout is necessary, and cycling indoors will rarely beat the outside.
Outdoor Cycling For Height Gain
Outdoor cycling has the chance to be more intense than indoor cycling, getting the heart pumping faster than possible when indoors. This is because of the terrain and the option of climbing up hills that can push you to your limits much faster.
High-intensity exercise has been shown to consistently help release growth hormone and intense cycling falls into this category (1). If you are still growing and looking for the greatest chances of cycling to increase height, then outdoor is the way to go.
As long as you don't go into cruise mode, and have determination, it will also target your muscle groups at a higher intensity than indoor cycling, which can help strengthen your core for a straighter posture. It will also burn the most calories, and help you to shape your body into a leaner, vertical look, which can help you to look taller than you really are.
That being said, if you are prone to injury then outdoor cycling may not be for you, as uneven terrains pose a greater risk of falling off the bike, as do other general hazards.
Correct form is also very important for outdoor cycling, to maintain balance on the bike, and to improve efficiency.
How Many Hours of Cycling to Increase Height?
There is no set amount of hours to exercise for. But It is best to stick to the recommended guidelines and to not push yourself too hard, especially as a beginner, and slowly build your strength and form.
As we have discussed, outdoor cycling is more intense and will burn more calories than cycling indoors by targeting the muscles at a higher intensity, therefore less time is needed to see results.
Even 10 minutes of cycling a day can increase fitness levels. Indoor classes tend to last for around 45 minutes, but they are varying in intensity, and if you were cycling outside it is possible to reap similar benefits in less time than this.
Can You Lengthen Your Legs Through Cycling?
Cycling can certainly help to slim down the legs, and if you incorporate a stretching routine before and after cycling you can stretch the muscles and give the impressions of toned, lean legs which can help them to look longer.
However, once you have finished growing your bones will not become longer through cycling.
Is Running or Cycling Better to Increase Height?
Both running and cycling have options of lower and higher intensity workouts.
However, forms of running have actually proven to release a burst of human growth hormone, while cycling has not (2). So, running is the winner here. That being said, even with a lack of evidence, cycling still might give similar results to running, and has other benefits such as improved core muscle strength, supporting a straight posture.
It is important to note that cycling and running can actually benefit each other, targeting different muscle groups which can affect the ability of both activities in a positive way.
If the body is still growing then there is no harm in practicing cycling, as high-intensity exercise has shown to have many benefits, including growth hormone release. Although cycling has not been scientifically linked to height gain, it is still something that could very well help with growth. Some people have commented how they grew significantly after cycling, while others determine this to genetics and the debate of cycling increasing height rages on.
For any age though, cycling can help to increase height a little, although indirectly. It will strengthen your leg and core back muscles, and a few of us walk as straight as we could, this can help you to stand with a straighter posture.
Also, if you practice cycling then you will create a lean, streamlined look that can help you to look taller, and with some effort, you may be surprised at what you see!
2: Journal of Applied Physiology: The growth hormone response to repeated bouts of sprint exercise with and without suppression of lipolysis in men: Growth hormone responses to treadmill sprinting in sprint-and endurance-trained athletes