How To Get Shorter (or Not)

If you are a taller person and are looking at how to get shorter then you are in the minority. Tallness is generally considered a gift in society, with height being something that is valued highly throughout the world. 


Of course, this is not always the case, and being tall can have it's drawbacks. Maybe it doesn't suit your personality, or you feel your body frame would look more balanced, and it is understandable to question how to become shorter. 


There is not any practical way to become shorter, or to stop growing if your growth plates are still open. The only legitimate way to get shorter is to have bone-shortening surgery which is lengthy, expensive, and generally not performed if you are either still growing, or for cosmetic purposes.

How to Become Shorter

What Height Will You Start to Feel Tall?

According to height data from the CDC, the average height for a man in the USA is 5'9" (175.3 cm) and for women is 5'3.5" (161.3 cm). The 75th percentiles are where you should start to feel tall, as you will be taller than 75% of people you walk past in the street. For a man, this starts at 5'11 (180.2 cm) and for a woman, this starts at 5'5.3" (166 cm).

This is just a general guide, and in real life, you may feel average height or even short at these heights depending on the situation you are in.


What Age do You Stop Growing?

We stop growing when our growth plates have fused. This means that your bones will no longer be able to grow taller.


The average age for a boy to stop growing is around 16, and for a girl, it is around 14. However, this is not always the case, and continued growth can occur until your early 20's in exceptional cases.

If you want to find out if your growth plates have fused then a simple x-ray can determine this.


Can You Stop Yourself From Growing?

You cannot stop yourself from growing as this is determined by around 80% genetics and a natural process.

However, other factors influence growth, such as quality of diet and sleep. As we sleep the pituitary gland regulates vital body functions and this includes the release of growth hormone essential for muscle, tissue, and bone growth. Irregular sleeping patterns and low quality of sleep may affect the HGH levels that are produced.


It may also be possible to influence the levels of growth hormone (HGH) that you produce, which may have a knock-on effect on your height. It has been shown that through high-intensity exercise you can produce greater levels of HGH, so avoiding high-intensity physical activities might help.


We Shrink Throughout The Day

Did you know that the average person will lose 0.8" (2cm) of height during the day? This is due to the spinal discs, which act as shock absorbers in the spinal column. They dehydrate and compress throughout the day, and this is how we lose height. However, for taller people, you may lose more than average due to having longer spines and discs than average height people.

When we first get out of bed in the mornings we will be at our tallest height. This will last a matter of minutes before our spine starts to compress and we gradually shrink throughout the day. By lunchtime, it is common for us to have shrunk and by dinner time you will be within a few millimeters of your evening 'low' height.


Exercise Affects Height

If you are looking to get shorter in a matter of minutes then high-intensity exercise will help you to shrink to your daily low height a lot faster during the day. For example, if you hit the gym at 8 am you might reach your usual lunchtime height by 9 am, and continue to shrink throughout the day.


Other exercises to get shorter consist of anything where you are taxing your body and spine. These include lifting exercises and HIIT workouts. You will most likely be able to reach your extreme low height which would not be possible without a high-intensity workout.


Sleeping Positions Affect Height

If you are looking to get shorter overnight then it is not possible! Although, the position we sleep can affect our morning height. If you are sleeping on your back then your spine will have more of a chance to stretch out and therefore you will be slightly taller when you wake up in the morning.


If you lay on your side in a more hunched position then this can minimize your height by a few millimeters in the morning.


Aging Makes Us Shorter (Studies)

The natural way to get shorter is through gravity which eventually takes its toll on the body, and inevitable height loss occurs.


One study of age differences in height collected data from 2,084 men and women aged 17-94 years old and measured men nine times over 15 years and women five times over 9 years. 


The results showed that on average between the ages of 30 and 70 men will lose 1.2" (3cm) of height, and women will lose 2" (5cm) of height. Women will lose height at a faster rate than men. This speeds up, and between the ages of 70 and 80 men will lose 0.8" (2cm) and women 1.2" (3cm) more height (1).


By the time you have become noticeably shorter, you will most likely be far from your peak form and also not care about your height the way you do now.


The natural aging process is something that none of us can avoid, and this includes a loss of height. Unfortunately for those asking how to become shorter, this is not something that happens overnight.

Limb Shortening Surgery 

The only way to become significantly shorter is through limb-shortening surgery. This is usually performed on people with leg length discrepancies and it is possible to remove 3" (7.6 cm) from the femur bone and 2" (5 cm) from the tibia bone, and then hold the bones together with screws and rods until they have healed.


This surgery is performed on adults who have finished growing. However, it is a highly invasive procedure with several risks involved, months of recovery time, and is also highly costly. Therefore most doctors around the world will refuse to perform leg shortening surgery for cosmetic reasons.

limb shortening surgery to get taller femur bone

Tricks To Look Shorter

Although this will not magically make you shorter, it can help to give you the appearance of being shorter.


  • Flat shoes can add only 0.5" (1.3 cm) of height, compared to the average of around 1" (2.54cm), so you will automatically look a little bit shorter. You can also remove the insoles of your shoes and add flatter insoles, which can also help you appear shorter. Finally, avoid pointy shoes as this can elongate the look of the legs.
  • Having a relaxed posture can also help you to look shorter, but of course, this isn't advisable because of bad posture. (hunching), can lead to back problems
  • Color contrasting your outfits you can divide your body into sections, and therefore you will appear less elongated
  • Avoid hairstyles where you are putting your hair up, as this can add height. 
  • Vertical stripes can help you to appear boarder.
  • Wear accessories on the lower half of your body, drawing attention downwards. Avoid accessories that site above the waistline, as if you are drawing attention upwards then people are going to think you are taller.
  • Wear midrise and low-rise pants, as these will help your legs appear shorter. 
  • Bulkier clothes can help you appear wider and therefore shorter. Avoid tight-fitting clothes. 
  • Wear longer shirts, blazers and tops in general as this can elongate the body and help to make the legs look shorter. Also wearing skirts below the knee will help your legs look shorter. 

Benefits of Being Taller

Maybe being tall does not suit your personality, as you feel you get unwanted attention, and all eyes are on you walking down the street. Yes, more people will indeed look your way if you are taller, but it is not because you look too tall, and more so because it is a natural thing for us to do.


  • Perceived Instant respect
  • You can see over crowds of people (awareness of the environment)
  • People focus on you during conversations
  • It has been proven that taller people earn more money annually than their shorter counterparts (2)
  • Health benefits such as less likely to have dementia and lower risk of heart disseize. 
  • An advantage sports such as volleyball and basketball, etc
  • If you visit supermarkets regularly then you are bound to be asked to reach the top shelf for someone, and 1 good deed goes a long way! 

Conclusion

If you are looking for how to get shorter then unfortunately there are no practical ways to get shorter or stop growing. However, your tall height is something that you can learn to work around, accept and even enjoy. 


There are ways you can give off a shorter impression, through style tricks can help you to balance your height and as a result feel more confident. 


References

1: American Journal of Epidemiology: Longitudinal Change in Height of Men and Women: Implications for Interpretation of the Body Mass Index


2: American Psychological Association: Standing tall pays off, study finds