Does Running Make You Taller?
If you are questioning 'does running make you taller', then you do so with good reason. Even though genetics make up for roughly 80% of our final height, taller people often put their tallness down to factors such as ample sleep and other things which contribute to a healthy lifestyle. This may very well be true, as the other 20% of height growth depends on environmental factors such as diet and exercise.
When it comes to running for height gain it gets interesting, as there are different forms of running, such as jogging and sprinting, with each producing a different effect on the body.
But Will Running Make You Taller?
Evidence suggests that while we are growing, then running or sprinting can raise levels of growth hormone. A good night's sleep also promotes HGH release, so running during the day alongside an early night can have a positive effect on height growth.
So, what type of running will influence growth and what other things can you add to this to further allow your chances for that extra inch of height?
Running Stimulates Growth Hormone
If growth plates are still open, then Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is needed in order to grow. It also regulates the bone length and muscle growth.
After your growth plates are fused and you have stopped growing then running will not influence your long bones to grow, and therefore you will not become taller.
However, as an adult, you can still release HGH and this will influence stronger muscles, cell reproduction and regeneration, brain health, tissue repair around the body (including the brain), speed up healing around the body, and overall performance.
So, if you look at the chain reaction that running can produce, then at any age it can help you to have stronger bones and muscles.
What Running Training Helps You Grow?
The two studies discussed in this article show running methods that release growth hormone, so we will stick to these as ways that influence you to become taller or have stronger bones.
The general rule here is that the higher the intensity of the run, the more HGH you will release.
Jogging is a form of running, but different in pace and execution. Classed as a lower/medium intensity exercise it will not impact the release of HGH in the same way that running or sprinting will. It does, however, impact postural muscles and influence weight loss, and therefore is good to maintain baseline health.
Running on a Treadmill
Running on a treadmill has shown to influence GH levels. One study took a controlled group with no exercise activity VS an experimental group who ran on a treadmill for 30 minutes, at a constant velocity.
Results indicated increased levels of GH release for the experimental group, which also spiked in the evening hours (1). This correlates with growth hormone being released at night, especially as we sleep, and may very well go hand in hand with increased height growth.
Sprinting in Bursts
Sprinting in bursts is similar to running but at a lesser pace. There is evidence that sprinting (running over a short distance) in a 30-second burst can help release growth hormone, resulting in increased GH concentrations in the bloodstream (2).
In a Nutshell:
- Jogging has not been proven to spike HGH levels but is great to maintain baseline health
- Running on a treadmill for 30 minutes will release HGH
- Sprinting will release HGH. Sprint at your max intensity for a 30-second burst ( 1 time only), as the second sprint showed limited GH response
How Much Should I Run to Increase Height?
Firstly, when considering running you should follow guidelines for your age, sex, and fitness level to not overstress your body, and make sure you stretch your muscles sufficiently before any running activity.
Running at a high velocity has shown to increase HGH levels, with repeated running 60 minutes after the first set producing little to no effect on HGH production either at the time of training or later in the day (2). So, don't overwork your body as it will not have a positive influence on growth.
You should not run 7 days a week under any circumstances, or if you experience any new symptoms of stress in your bones or muscles. Having rest days are important to let your body heal.
Things That Will Heighten Your Running HGH Gains
Running will increase the release of HGH, but there are also things that you can do alongside this to ensure you maximize your gains. Think of it as a chain reaction, and if you take advantage of these things, at the very least you will be standing straighter and feeling more confident.
- Good sleep (HGH releases while we sleep)
- A healthy diet, but avoid eating before bedtime (this can potentially block HGH release)
- Reduce sugar intake (insulin is linked with decreased HGH production)
- Other things such as intermittent fasting have shown to have an effect on HGH release, alongside other benefits. However, before you undertake this it is important to thoroughly understand the ins and outs of the process.
Can Microfractures From Running Make You Taller?
Microfractures are mini-breaks in the bones when the force of pressure being applied is stronger than the bone itself. High-intensity activities such as running can cause microfractures, mostly around the lower shin and ankle, which when healed can become denser. Whether the bones become longer, or wider, is questionable.
Also, if you have stopped growing, microfractures are not a plausible way to lengthen bones to become taller.
So the answer is - don't do it...
If microfractures do increase height, then they have not been significant enough or deserving scientific data to back it up, and also not worth the risk of injury by repeatedly trying to create them. In other words - take this risky idea out of your mind.
Running with the correct form and not excessively so will be far more beneficial for height gain, and any micro-fractures that do occur will heal as necessary without causing injury, and if they increase your height a millimeter in the process, then okay.
Other Effects of Running For Height Gain
The good news is there are hidden benefits of running for height gain. These include optimizing the function of hormones, which helps to decrease excess body fat.
For example, sprinting in bursts at a full velocity between 10-30 secs can help to increase growth hormone levels. This has lasting effects, as the afterburn will peak 1 hour after exercise and continue to increase your metabolic speed for 2-3 days after you finish training.
Running will tighten your muscles, and the result of this is appearing leaner, giving the impression of length as opposed to width. This will also have the benefit of detracting attention from your lack of height and onto your body frame.
Your lean frame will also help you to expand your wardrobe and to fit clothes which will further give off an elongated impression. You see, the knock-on effect of running to make you taller is real!
A good posture is the building block for the correct running technique. Running is an intense exercise that stimulates muscles in such a way that encourages our body to adjust accordingly.
Running tall while slightly leaning forwards is the correct way to run, and there should be an emphasis on balance and straightness, where the head should be up, the shoulders level, and the back straight.
So, running can strengthen your core muscles and influence you to stand straighter, and walk taller.
Can Excess Running Stunt Growth?
Running does not make you shorter. However, one thing that is possible is that if you repeatedly load weight more than your muscles and bones can handle, a stress fracture can occur, causing a small crack alongside an aching or burning sensation in the bone. If you still try to run it can get progressively worse and also painful.
It will also make you run with incorrect form, and if you keep on running with incorrect form this can cause a compensatory injury, leaving you with more problems than you started with. This might make you walk slightly shorter as a result, and is not worth the risk.
Can Excess Running Make You Shorter?
Exercise such as running does not stunt growth. The only way it could stunt growth is if you were running excessively and without the correct diet, leaving your body depleted of the nutrition and essential building blocks necessary to grow.
Also, if you do not exercise with proper form and develop a serious injury or illness, then you might stop exercising altogether, leaving you with an incorrect posture and weakened muscles that will lead to you appear shorter.
The phrase. "everything in moderation" comes to mind.
7 Ways to Make Running For Height Gain More Enjoyable
If you aren't into running alone and need an incentive, then here are some ideas:
- Running with your dog in the mornings
- Find a dedicated running partner
- Create a fundraising event that you have to train for
- Use technology to your advantage and download an app to make it more enjoyable
- Buy a treadmill with an inbuilt running game. If you want to run against other people make sure it has an online multiplayer component!
- Place a bet with a friend
- Run in different destinations
The Bottom Line
Evidence suggests that if your growth plates are still open, then running or sprinting throughout the day will raise levels of HGH, which may also promote an additional spike in the evenings. A good night's sleep also promotes HGH release, so running during the day alongside an early night may have a positive effect on height growth.
Even if you have stopped growing, an increase in HGH can influence stronger muscles and bones, resulting in improved posture.
Other benefits include increased exercise capacity, brain health, body image, and the list continues. This can influence your height, enabling you to walk taller with greater confidence and to wear new clothing which can further influence the effect of your height.
So, indirectly regular running will have a chain effect on your health and confidence, to look and feel great, so much so that your height issues might even fade away.
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