Does Running Increase Height? (8 Ways in Which it Helps)

Matea Matošević, Olympic Runner
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If you are dissatisfied with your height, you must have asked yourself if there’s anything you can do about it.

It is important to know that there are numerous factors that determine your height. Scientists estimate that genetics contributes about 80% to your height, while other factors, such as diet and exercise, contribute about 20%.

In this article, I will answer in detail the question of whether running increases your height.

does running increase height

Does running increase height?

Running increases height by stimulating the production of growth hormone (HGH) and strengthening the muscles around the spine, which contributes to proper posture. Likewise, the process of healing microfractures caused by running increases the length of your bones and, with it, your height.

Before you start running, I advise you to read below in detail all the ways in which running can increase your height, but also how to make this effect as pronounced as possible.

How does running increase height?

Your height greatly depends on your genetics. However, the lifestyle of runners will make you introduce positive changes in your life such as proper posture, a balanced diet, and better sleep. All these factors will help you increase your height.

Below you will find more details on how running will increase your height.

1. It stimulates the production of growth hormone (HGH)

Running, together with a proper diet, can help increase height by stimulating the production of growth hormone. Furthermore, the intensity of running is of great importance for increasing your height. In order to stimulate the production of growth hormone as much as possible, it is necessary to run with as much intensity as possible.

Research has shown that anaerobic high-intensity interval training can increase the production of growth hormone by up to 530% compared to resting. Your body will produce growth hormone for up to 24 hours after exercising.

2. It stretches the spine

During running, the muscles of the whole body expand and contract. With a proper diet and recovery, your muscles will strengthen and grow in length. The muscles of back and core are especially important for your height since their growth in length also stretches the spine.

3. It improves posture

Running helps improve poor posture that causes a person to appear shorter. When you run, you relax your shoulders and keep your back straight. That way, you will develop proper posture.

4. It increases the length of your bones

With intense running, you will increase the length of your bones. Microfractures formed in the lower leg and ankle heal over time. That way, running helps increase the length of your bones and, with it, your height.

The process of healing these microfractures is faster than regular changes in the bones, since it can take place every three weeks. That way, the healing of microfractures actually speeds up your growth by increasing the length of your bones.

5. It helps with a proper and balanced diet

Many studies have shown that diet is one of the most important factors for growth, so don’t forget about good nutrition. Although runners are usually slim, most of them eat a lot due to the large number of calories they spend during training. This repeating cycle of exercising and diet helps build muscles, bones, and joints.

Not only will a proper and balanced diet make you feel better during running, but your body will also get the nutrients necessary for growth.

Info

To increase height, it is recommended that you eat foods such as beans, chicken, nuts and seeds, leafy vegetables, yogurt, berries, salmon, and milk.

6. It improves sleep quality

Quality sleep is an extremely important factor for growth. Research has shown that physical activity improves sleep quality, but that better sleeping did not result in increased levels of physical activity.

As a physical activity, running tires your body and thus improves your sleep quality and, with it, your height.

Info

Depending on your age, you should sleep between 7 and 8 hours. Quality sleep will not only contribute to faster recovery for the next training but will also help you grow.

7. It helps with weight loss

Good nutrition, active lifestyle, and quality sleep help runners reduce excess weight. Losing extra pounds will make you feel better and be healthier, while also making you appear taller. That way, running indirectly increases your height.

8. It encourages a healthy lifestyle

Runners usually live a healthy lifestyle, avoiding alcohol, nicotine, and drugs; that is, all substances that negatively affect your growth. Likewise, runners avoid a stressful sedentary lifestyle that also negatively affects their growth.

Running exercises to increase height

Runners do a lot of exercises that make them taller without even knowing. These most often include strength exercises that strengthen the core and upper back muscles. Such exercises stretch the spine and improve your posture.

Read more: Strength Training for Runners (Top 19 Workout Exercises)

1. Up & down plank

Up & down plank

Perform the exercise for 30 to 60 seconds as follows:

  1. Start in a high plank position with arms perpendicular to the floor. Arms and legs are shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your left arm at the elbow and lower your forearm to the floor, resting on the palm of your right hand.
  3. Bend your right arm at the elbow and lower your forearm to the floor, resting on the elbow of your left arm.
  4. Extend your left arm at the elbow, resting on the elbow of your right arm.
  5. Extend your right arm at the elbow, resting on the palm of your left hand.
  6. Repeat the movement until the end of the exercise.

2. Push-up

Perform the exercise as follows:

  1. Get into the starting position, face down with your palms and toes on the floor. Your feet are hip-width apart. The arms are outstretched at the elbow and are perpendicular to the floor. Your head, neck, and spine are straight, and you are looking down at the floor.
  2. Lower yourself until your elbows are at the right angle.
  3. Return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat the movement until the end of the exercise.

3. Shoulder taps

Perform the exercise for 30 to 60 seconds as follows:

  1. Get into the starting position, face down with your palms and toes on the floor. Your feet are hip-width apart. The arms are outstretched at the elbow and are perpendicular to the floor. Your head, neck, and spine are straight, and you are looking down at the floor.
  2. Touch your left shoulder with your right hand, leaning on the palm of your left hand.
  3. Return to the starting position.
  4. Touch your right shoulder with your left hand, leaning on the palm of your right hand.
  5. Repeat the movement until the end of the exercise.

4. Superman

Perform the exercise for 30 to 60 seconds as follows:

  1. Get into the starting position, lying on your stomach, face down with arms outstretched and legs aligned with your hips. Your head, neck, and spine are straight, and you are looking down at the floor.
  2. Lift your outstretched arms and legs off the floor and hold this position for about 30–60 seconds.

5. Bird dog plank

Perform this exercise for 30 to 60 seconds as follows:

  1. Get into the starting position, on your knees with your palms on the floor, looking down. The arms are outstretched. Your head, neck, and spine are straight, and you are looking down at the floor.
  2. Lift your outstretched left arm and right leg so that they are aligned with your spine.
  3. Return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat the movement until the end of the exercise.
  5. Repeat the exercise on the other side.

6. High knees

How to do High Knees Running Drill? | OLYRUN

Perform the exercise as follows:

  1. Begin by standing with your feet hip-distance apart, look straight ahead, and keep your upper body straight.
  2. Raise your left leg to hip-height while standing on the ball of your right foot.
  3. Hit the ground below your center of mass with the ball of your left foot while raising your right leg to hip-height.
  4. Continue alternating sides and moving forward.

High skip is one of the running exercises that will improve your running technique, while also increasing your height.

Read more: Top 8 Running Drills To Improve Your Form (Video)

8 ways in which running helps increase height

Does running increase your height after the age of 18?

For majority of people, the height won’t change after the age of 18, even with proper nutrition. Towards the end of puberty, hormonal changes cause the epiphyseal growth plates (cartilage areas at the end of long bones) to tighten and thus prevent bone elongation and, with it, your growth.
The graph below shows the average growth rate of boys and girls from birth to the age of 20. The graphs show that the growth lines fall to zero between the ages of 18 and 20, which means the end of growth.

human height growth per month

Source: Healthline

What is the best way to run to increase your height?

The way you run will affect the production of the growth hormone, so if you want to increase your height:

1. Run at a higher speed – Running at a higher intensity with longer pauses will stimulate the production of growth hormone and give your body time to recover and regain lost energy.
2. Run consistently – You should run consistently if you want to achieve effective results. Besides helping you increase your height, by running consistently, you will adjust your body to physical effort and thus help increase your fitness level.
3. Do strength exercises for runners – Besides running, you should also do strength exercises for runners with which you will increase your height and lower the risk of injury.

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Matea Matošević
Matea Matošević
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Matea Matošević

Hi, I’m Matea! I’m Olympic Marathon Runner, founder, and writer behind OLYRUN.com. On this site, I provide help in the form of my knowledge and experience to all who love running and active living. Read more…