Does Swimming Make You Taller? Or Is This Just a Myth?
No matter how tall you are, you’ve certainly dreamed about adding a few extra inches before.
The problem is; many myths surround this topic, and most height-boosting methods are nothing but marketing ploys made by companies willing to take advantage of desperate people.
That said, some natural methods are believed to increase one’s height, including swimming. That brings us to the million-dollar question: does swimming make you taller?
Well, read on to find out!
Does Swimming Make You Taller? It Depends… How Old Are You?
So my guess is you are probably a guy or gal who is considered short. And now you are wondering if picking up swimming as either a sport or a hobby will help add a few inches to your height.
Well, let me answer that for you.
The short answer is no; swimming won’t make you taller.
“I don’t believe you. Is there a longer, more comprehensive answer?”
Well, glad you asked. Read the long answer below!
When Do We Stop Growing Taller in Height?
Most of one’s growth happens during puberty. That said, the rate at which one grows taller can vary because boys and girls go through puberty at different ages.
On average, boys tend to grow around three inches per year during puberty, whereas girls grow just one to two inches in a year or two following their first period.
That’s why men are taller than women on average.
The maximum height that one can reach during puberty depends on several factors, including genetics, diet, activity level, and the mother’s nutrition during pregnancy.
According to the National Health Service, most boys complete their growth at the age of 16. Girls, on the other hand, usually stop getting taller by 14 or 15 years old.
If you’re curious as to what makes us grow taller (and stop growing) in the first place, hear me up. Basically, we grow taller because our bones increase in length, and that happens because of epiphyses, which are growth plates located in our bones (duh!).
As puberty goes by, the growth plates mature, until they stop growing and fuse at the end of this period. Once that happens, there’s no more getting taller, and we actually all start shrinking slowly as we get older.
Kind of a bummer, huh?
Now, on the bright side, swimming can help you look taller.
Why Swimming Can Make You Slightly Taller
Simple: by stretching your spine, limbs, and joints. So, the longer your swim, the more height you’ll add as your body stretches out.
Keep in mind that you’re not actually getting much taller, but rather correcting your posture and stretching yourself out a bit.
A similar phenomenon happens when you sleep.
Throughout the day, the cartilage in our spine, as well as other parts of our bodies, gets compressed due to gravity.
Once you lay down to sleep at night, that pressure gets lifted, allowing the cartilage to stretch out a bit and us to actually be slightly taller in the morning. Cool, right?
If I’m Younger, Will Swimming Make Me Taller?
Now, we’ve agreed that swimming won’t help you grow taller if you’ve already reached your adult height during puberty.
The question is, does the same apply if you’re younger?
Well, same as adults, children and young adults won’t benefit much from swimming if they’re doing it for the sole purpose of growing taller.
That’s because one’s growth is determined by factors that we cannot control – mainly genetics, hormones, and, of course, gender.
But there is the hypothesis that if you are younger and your plates are not yet fused yet, then swimming which constantly is stretching your body out could possibly make you taller in the long run.
As the opposite goes for people who lift weights or gymnasts who train before their plates are done fusing. Ever notice how they are super short?
Factors That Affect Height
Rather than thinking about picking up the activity of swimming to make you taller, focus on the factors that actually matter when it comes to increasing your height.
Genetics is the main factor that affects one’s height. Over the years, scientists and researchers have identified over 700 different genes that intervene in different components of the growth process.
Several hormones command the growth plates and instruct them to make new bone, including:
- Growth Hormone (GH), which, as the name indicates, is the most important hormone when it comes to growth.
- Thyroid Hormones (TH), which also play a significant role when it comes to how tall you can be.
- Testosterone and Estrogen, which affect growth during puberty.
As you (probably) know, males tend to be taller than females, mainly because they can continue growing for longer periods.
So, I Really CANNOT Gain Extra Height Even If I’m Younger?
Yes, as mentioned above, one cannot control most of the factors that influence one’s height. That said, some factors can indeed increase or reduce growth during childhood and puberty, such as:
Regular exercise through sports like swimming is vital for normal physical development as it can make bones stronger and healthier. Mind you, technically, it won’t make you taller, but it can help you reach the maximum adult height for you.
Not only that, but swimming will also help you build a more muscular, better-shaped physique, which can make up for any lack of height.
Most of one’s growth happens while they’re asleep, which is why you ought to get enough sleep every night to maximize your adult height.
Related Reading: Why You Weigh Less in the Morning
This is an obvious one.
Nutrition plays an essential role in growth, which is why you ought to eat a varied, balanced diet to reach your optimal adult height. Of course, the same applies if you’re an adult.
Remember; Mens Sana in corpore Sano!
How Tall Will I Be?
If you want to predict your height once you’re past the puberty phase, here’s one of the formulas that you can use:
- Add the father’s height and the mother’s height in inches or centimeters.
- Add five inches for boys or subtract five inches for girls. Five inches are around 13 centimeters.
- Divide by two.
What’s your answer? Are you considered to be tall or short?
Remember that there’s no proven way to know your adult height for sure, but that formula provides a reasonable guess for your growth.
So, myth busted, swimming won’t make you taller. Don’t let that stop you from practicing this wonderful sport, though, as it can help with a plethora of other aspects of your physique!
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Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future.
I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics.
Here, myself, and a team of specialist aim to provide the most accurate, and actionable information possible in hopes to help foster the fitness community forward.
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