Does Running Make You Taller? 5 Famous Myths Debunked

“I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to self-satisfaction.” – Steve Prefontaine.

The reasons to run are countless and the benefits you can gain are endless. However, not everything you think running can do is true.

One of the questions that run in the minds of many athletes is, “Does running make you taller?”

To get straight to the point, running doesn’t make you taller. However, it reveals your hidden height by fixing your posture, drawing your muscles, and straightening your core.

We’re going to show you some running myths that “make some sense,” but we’re also going to explain in detail why those myths aren’t exactly true. Stick around!

Does Running Make You Taller?:Man and woman running during the day in a city

Does Running Make You Taller?

Some rumors are going around that running can make you taller by up to 3 inches, or that running will prevent the reduced height you get from weight training.

Running can’t and won’t make you any taller. It does increase the secretion of growth hormone in your body. However, growth hormone won’t affect your body’s height.

There are some reasons why many people think that running can make you taller

Reason 1: Growth Hormone Makes You Taller

A study in 2003 by Dr. Richard J. Godfrey concluded that running does indeed increase the secretion of human growth hormone.

Growth hormone is responsible for building your muscle mass, increasing your bone density, and your bone growth. Given that argument, why wouldn’t growth hormone make you taller?

The answer is simple; you gain a large percentage of your final height during puberty. The increase of growth hormone during that growth spurt may give you a few inches of height growth.

However, once you’ve passed puberty, the effect of growth hormone on height growth is non-existent.

Reason 2: Running Stretches Your Spine

The human spinal cord bones are separated from each other with cartilaginous discs known as I.V.Ds.

Some people believe that by stretching the spine and those I.V.Ds, you might gain an inch or two of height.

That is correct! Humans wake up taller by half an inch than when they go to sleep. That’s because the pressure applied by our weights on those I.V.Ds compress them to make us half an inch shorter.

However, running doesn’t stretch our spines. If anything, the constant bumping during the exercise compresses our I.V.Ds to make us shorter!

Whether your spine is stretched or compressed, the gain or loss of height is so little that it’s neglectable.

Reason 3: Healthy Diet Increases Height

There’s no denying that a runner’s diet must be a healthy one. But again, much like the growth hormone, a balanced diet doesn’t increase height growth after you reach adulthood.

Before your body matures, a good diet can certainly contribute to your height gain, especially if it’s rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D.

However, once you’re no longer a teenager, a balanced diet can only improve your health, but not your height!

Reason 4: Higher Bone Density Can Increase Height

Running is an exercise where you carry your body weight for long distances at high speeds.

Some runners even use ankle weights for that extra push; all in hopes of getting greater strength, bone density, and muscle mass.

Such exercise will help your body to stay healthy. However, it won’t contribute to height growth.

Reason 5: Repairing Bone Microfractures Can Increase Height

Microfractures are small cracks in our bones that we could get in our daily lives. We hardly feel these microfractures as they don’t have a major impact.

We can get such fractures from dancing, running, gymnastics, or any exercise that includes minor repeated traumas to the human body.

With constant running, you get more and more growth hormone. That helps in repairing these microfractures a lot faster.

The myth here is that it will also help the bone grow faster by repairing it faster. This isn’t true.

These small fractures are localized to small areas of the bone. Whether they get repaired quickly or not, this won’t affect the bone height.

How Does Running Make You Look Taller?

Here’s when things get interesting. Everything we mentioned points to the fact that you can’t get physically taller by running.

Yet, have you noticed how most runners seem tall? That’s right. Running won’t increase your height, but it will modify your body to make you “seem” taller.

1. Improving Your Posture

Running helps your body to get a better posture. When you run regularly, your shoulders start to relax and widen over time.

Additionally, the constant heavy breathing you do as you run improves the strength of your core muscles. As you push your chest back to breathe in more air, your body will slowly adapt to that better posture.

This is extremely helpful in the age of technology where most things are automated and we sit down a lot. Our backs start to arch and our postures slowly deform.

Running is a fantastic way to negate the negative effects of prolonged sitting and helping us in getting back that good posture.

2. Increasing Your Muscle Mass

Running, especially sprint running, has a large influence on increasing growth hormone and bone strength.

The extra growth hormone paired with the improved blood circulation of your body makes your muscles grow bigger.

Bigger muscles always give the illusion of increased height, especially if most of that growth is in your leg muscles.

3. Providing Leaner Muscles

Pairing your running with stretching exercises works wonders in making your muscles leaner.

Each muscle in our body has two endings; the origin and the insertion. When you stretch your arm, your biceps get pulled between its origin and insertion.

Doing this repeatedly in an exercise form can result in more slender or “taller” looking biceps. The same concept applies to all the muscles involved in running.

The constant movements of your muscles as you run make them longer and more slender. Leaner muscles always give the illusion of increased height.

You can make your muscles look even leaner by using a core exercise like a jumping rope.

Female sport runner striving into bright future. Fit body requires hard work. Urban sport concept.

Is It Too Late To Start Running?

Running is ageless. It’s never about speed or winners; it’s about finishers. If you had some hopes that running can make you taller, don’t be discouraged; even if you’ve already reached adulthood.

Your body may not grow any taller. However, everyone is guaranteed to look taller after they practice running for a considerable while.

In theory, we can say that after six months of running; you will feel and seem taller to people. Not to mention the better health, mentality, and general lifestyle.

Don’t lose hope if you think that your age won’t help you. If your legs can carry you, use them to walk. If they can walk, use them to run.

In Short, Does Running Make You Taller?

After everything we’ve learned, it’s safe to say that running doesn’t add to your height. However, it helps you to get the possible posture and reveals every bit of hidden height you might have.

Have a healthy diet, never forget to stretch, and keep your motivation up by running with other people. In turn, your muscles will get bigger, leaner, and more slender.

This can and will make you seem like you’ve gained height. After all, the height gain myths must have come from somewhere, right?