Does height increase after 21 years old?

by   |   Oct 12, 2023
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Numerous people grapple with discontent over their stature, yearning for greater height. Yet, the reality that looms disappointingly before them is the stark limitation faced by most adults in their pursuit of height enhancement. Growth plates, pivotal in height development, typically seal shut around the age of 20, rendering the conventional avenues of exercise and nutrition largely futile. Despite this disheartening fact, a glimmer of hope persists, for there exist strategies that can be embraced by adults to stave off height diminishment and craft an illusion of increased stature as the years pass.

Within the pages of this article, we shall embark on a journey through the intricacies that govern our stature and illuminate the artistry behind the most efficacious methods that adults can employ to project a taller presence.

Factors that determine how tall you are

A person’s height is the product of a complex interplay of various factors, each contributing to the final outcome. These influential factors encompass:

  • Genetics: The role of genetics in determining your height cannot be overstated. Research consistently demonstrates that heredity plays a paramount role in shaping one’s physical stature. Put simply, if you have tall parents, you are more likely to inherit their towering genes, while those with shorter parents may face a greater challenge in reaching greater heights.
  • Sex: Sex also exerts a substantial influence on height. In general, men tend to possess a higher potential for greater height than women. This inherent sexual dimorphism accounts for differences in average heights between the two genders.
  • Nutrition: Proper nutrition during childhood and adolescence is vital for healthy growth. A balanced diet that includes essential nutrients like proteins, vitamins, and minerals provides the building blocks necessary for optimal height development.
  • Exercise: Physical activity can stimulate the production of growth hormones and promote bone health, both of which are critical for achieving maximum height potential. Regular exercise, particularly during the growth phases, can contribute significantly to one’s stature.
  • Sleep: Adequate sleep is a crucial factor in height growth, especially during adolescence when the body undergoes rapid changes. Quality rest allows the body to recover and regenerate, aiding in proper development.
  • Living Environment: Environmental factors such as access to healthcare, sanitation, and overall living conditions can impact a person’s height. Children growing up in adverse environments may face obstacles to reaching their full height potential.

The role of genetics in your height growth is significant as studies show that the biggest factor that decides the body type in fraternal twins is heredity. In other words, you are more likely to become tall if you have tall parents; on the contrary, your chance of having a good height is relatively low if your parents are short. Another biological factor that determines your height is sex. Men tend to have more total height potential than women. Some medical conditions also alter the growth of your height during childhood and adolescence, including:

  • Cancer: Some cancer treatments can disrupt growth patterns in children.
  • Marfan Syndrome: A genetic disorder that can lead to excessive height due to abnormal skeletal development.
  • Turner Syndrome: A genetic condition that often results in shorter stature among females.
  • Down Syndrome: Individuals with Down syndrome may have shorter stature as a characteristic trait.
  • Untreated Celiac Disease: Malabsorption of nutrients in untreated celiac disease can impair growth.
  • Arthritis: Chronic inflammation can affect bone growth and development.
  • Dwarfism and Gigantism: Rare conditions characterized by extreme deviations from average height.
  • Prolonged Steroid Use: Certain medical treatments that involve long-term steroid usage can stunt growth.

In summary, a person’s height is determined by a multitude of factors, with genetics and sex playing significant roles. Proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, and environmental factors also contribute to height development, while various medical conditions can either enhance or hinder this natural process. Understanding these influences can provide valuable insights into the complex journey of human growth.


Nutrition also impacts your height potential to a large extent. In fact, it can be as powerful as genetics in increasing height during your growing years. Having good nutrition from dietary sources of bone-nourishing minerals and vitamins can help children and teenagers grow taller fast and effectively whereas a lack of nutrition will prevent them from reaching their genetically predetermined height. Researchers have discovered that people have become taller as nutrition has improved over time. As a result, children and teenagers who consume a diet rich in protein, calcium, and other height-increasing nutrients will be able to maximize their growth potential.

Another determinant of height growth is exercise as growth hormone is released when you are active and involved in various physical activities. Once this hormone is secreted, children and teenagers with active growth plates in their bones will experience more growth than they would if they have a sedentary lifestyle.

Notwithstanding this, people will generally stop growing taller if their growth plates have fused completely. While boys tend to reach their final adult height by the age of 16, most girls achieve their adult height between the ages of 14 and 15. Cases of people growing taller after 19 are really rare.

Why do people stop growing taller after 21 years old?

The cessation of human height growth is a fascinating phenomenon that hinges upon the condition of one’s growth plates. These growth plates, situated at the extremities of our long bones, such as the tibia and femur, play a pivotal role in the elongation of our limbs and, consequently, our overall height.

Height growth does not extend indefinitely; it halts once these growth plates undergo ossification or complete fusion. Typically, this pivotal moment occurs approximately two years after the conclusion of puberty. For males, their final adult height is often attained around the age of 16, while for females, it usually transpires between the ages of 14 and 15. Instances of individuals experiencing further height growth beyond the age of 19 are exceedingly rare.

How to maximize height growth effectively before the age of 21

Ensure good nutrition

As discussed earlier, nutrition plays an instrumental role in a person’s height development. During years of growth, good nutrition can support the body in growing healthily and help you achieve full height potential.

Here are some foods that can make you taller or at least maintain your height if you have already stopped growing:

  • Leafy greens such as cabbage, kale, spinach, and arugula. Known as superstars when it comes to nutrition, these leafy greens are rich in nutrients helpful for height growth.
  • Almonds. They are incredibly nutritious and bring a host of essential vitamins and minerals to the table.
  • Jam-packed with protein and a range of important nutrients, chicken is another excellent addition to your diet.
  • Eggs also contain many height-boosting nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, protein, vitamin B12, and folate.
  • Dairy is such a rich source of calcium that should not go unnoticed.
  • Fruits are a bountiful supply of vitamins, especially vitamin C. This vitamin is needed to produce collagen – a critical element in bone strength and cell growth. 

Lead a more active lifestyle

An active lifestyle can improve our quality of life in a variety of ways, including enhancing our mental health, increasing physical attractiveness, and promoting faster height gain. 

Studies have revealed that the production of growth hormone, one of the factors regulating height increase, is triggered by physical activity. It is especially so for exercises and sports that target your legs or large muscle groups such as swimming, bar hanging, cycling, basketball, or badminton.


Basketball is a sport that helps to increase height effectively

You can start developing an active lifestyle from today by:

  • Choosing a sport or exercise you like best and setting a schedule to practice it weekly.
  • Joining one of your school’s sports clubs, external clubs, or other sports academies.

Get enough sleep every night

Not getting the required amount of sleep might stunt a person’s vertical growth as growth hormone is released at the highest levels during sleep. If you keep getting too little sleep or sleep deprived, growth hormone secretion is suppressed, thus hindering proper growth.

What is more, sleep is pivotal to other biological systems and processes. Research shows that most of the bone growth and bone mass formation take place during the night. Bone formation also relies on one’s immune system, which is potentially impaired by lack of sleep. Besides, lack of sleep can lead to fragile bones, low bone density, and risks of bone fracture.

Spend time in the sun

The best way to absorb healthy vitamin D is spending time in the sun. If you are under 21 years old and are still growing, try to get some sunlight exposure, even 15 minutes a day is enough. That way your body can synthesize vitamin D by itself to better absorb calcium and grow your bones.

There are many activities to get involved in while spending time in the sun. You can exercise, play sports, walk your dogs, or take a stroll.

Keep a healthy weight

If you follow the above tips regarding nutrition, sleep, and exercise, not only can you grow taller but you also keep your weight in check. A healthy weight will make sure your body can grow to its maximum potential without all the extra pressure on your spine caused by excess weight.

Read more about how losing weight can make you taller here.

Stay away from stimulants

Smoking and drinking are two major growth-stunting factors to stay as far away as possible if you are still in your growing years. As if the constantly promoted health risks of smoking are not enough, smoking is recently found to stunt growth in teenagers. On the other hand, alcohol can lower growth hormone levels in teenage girls and boys. In particular, chronic alcohol consumption throughout adolescence severely affects limb growth.

Practice good posture

We are well aware that good posture while sitting and standing makes us look taller. But did you know poor posture can actually devastate your height potential?

It is easy to develop slouching habits when sitting at our desks or sleeping positions that are not good for our posture in the long run. Although breaking these habits can be challenging at first, you can start today by being mindful of your posture and attempting to correct it while standing, sitting, or even sleeping. 

Taking note of your posture will pay off by reducing muscle tension, and it might get easier for you to attain your full potential height.

Take supplements to grow taller

Height growth supplements are gaining in popularity as more and more people realize their effects in accelerating height increase rate. The most common ingredients found in these supplements are calcium and vitamin D; however, some natural supplements also include collagen, herbs, and other nutrients that support faster bone growth and better overall health. Learn more about the top 10 best height growth pills in this article.

How to look taller and avoid height loss for adults

Now that you have uncovered the truth about whether height can increase after the age of 21, it’s essential to explore effective strategies for appearing taller and thwarting height loss as you age, without resorting to dubious methods from unreliable sources.

Strengthening Core Muscles for Height and Posture

The key to looking taller and maintaining an upright posture lies in cultivating a strong core. Your core muscles, which encompass your spine and abdomen, play a pivotal role in supporting your spine and preventing compression that leads to slouching.

To fortify your core muscles effectively, consider incorporating these exercises into your routine:

a. Abdominal Crunch: Begin by lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Engage your core muscles to raise your shoulders and head.

b. Superman: Lie face down and lift your arms, legs, and head off the ground, holding this position to engage your core.

c. Plank: Assume a push-up position and engage your abdominal muscles to maintain a plank pose.

Improving your posture

Optimal posture not only contributes to a taller appearance but also reduces back pain and headaches associated with slouching. Follow these tips to improve your posture while standing:


  • Keep your head level and aligned with your body.
  • Retract your shoulders, keeping them back.
  • Gently engage your abdominal muscles, drawing your belly toward your spine.
  • Avoid locking your knees.
  • Maintain a shoulder-width stance.
  • Allow your arms to hang naturally at your sides.
  • Distribute your weight mostly onto the balls of your feet.

When seated, pay attention to the following:

  • Allow your shoulders to rest comfortably.
  • Use a small pillow or towel to support your back.
  • Avoid crossing your legs.
  • Adjust your chair’s height so your thighs remain parallel to the floor while keeping your feet flat on the ground.

Good posture ensures adequate spacing between your vertebrae, creating the illusion of increased height and improved overall stature.

Preventing Age-Related Height Loss

Rather than seeking methods to increase height in adulthood, it’s prudent to take steps to mitigate height loss associated with the aging process. After the age of 40, individuals may experience a gradual height reduction, often attributable to vertebral compression, osteoporosis, and other factors. To counteract this, consider the following measures:

  • Maintain proper hydration.
  • Prioritize adequate rest.
  • Refrain from smoking.
  • Incorporate weight-bearing exercises into your routine to combat muscle loss.
  • Ensure your nutritional intake, particularly calcium, is sufficient.

In conclusion: Can you grow taller after the age of 21?

The potential for height increase beyond the age of 21 hinges on the status of your growth plates. Typically, most people’s growth plates close by the age of 20, rendering further height increase impossible. Nonetheless, adults can employ various strategies to appear taller, correct their posture, and adopt preventive measures against age-related height loss beyond the age of 21.


Joy Bauer is a renowned physician and nutrition expert who has dedicated her career to helping people live healthier, happier lives. With over two decades of experience in the field of health and wellness, Dr. Bauer has become one of the most trusted voices in the industry.
About This Researcher
One of Dr. Bauer’s areas of expertise is in the field of height growth. She has worked with countless patients over the years who were looking to increase their height naturally, and has developed a range of effective strategies and techniques to help them achieve their goals.

Dr. Bauer believes that a healthy diet and lifestyle are essential for optimal growth and development. She works closely with her patients to develop personalized nutrition plans that are tailored to their unique needs and goals. These plans include a variety of nutrient-dense foods and supplements that are designed to support healthy bone growth and development.

In addition to her work in height growth, Dr. Bauer is also a leading expert in the areas of weight loss, disease prevention, and overall wellness. She is a regular contributor to a number of popular media outlets, including The Today Show, The Dr. Oz Show, and Good Morning America.

If you’re looking for a physician who is passionate about helping you live your best life, look no further than Dr. Joy Bauer. With her expertise, compassion, and commitment to excellence, she is the ideal partner for anyone who is looking to achieve their health and wellness goals.

The reason behind the creation of the website HowToGrowTaller is to provide effective guidance and support to individuals who are looking to increase their height naturally. Dr. Joy Bauer recognized that many people feel self-conscious or insecure about their height, and that there is a great deal of misinformation out there about how to grow taller.

With HowToGrowTaller, Dr. Bauer wanted to create a comprehensive resource that would provide individuals with the tools, knowledge, and support they need to achieve their height goals. The website includes a wide range of resources, including nutrition plans, exercise routines, and other proven strategies that are designed to support healthy growth and development.

One of the key benefits of HowToGrowTaller is that it is a one-stop-shop for all things related to height growth. Instead of spending countless hours researching different strategies and techniques, individuals can turn to the website to access everything they need in one convenient location.

Overall, the goal of HowToGrowTaller is to help individuals feel more confident and empowered in their bodies. By providing them with the resources and support they need to grow taller naturally, Dr. Bauer hopes to help people achieve their height goals and improve their overall quality of life.

Researcher Locations:

33 Whitehall Street, New York

Education & Training
Pediatric Psychology – Nemours Childrens Clinic – Jacksonville, 2003

Child Psychology – University of Florida, 2002

Board Certifications
American Board of Professional Psychology

Areas of Research


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