January 22, 2023

From the annals of marketing bullshit

Here is a nifty bit of marketing from a purveyor of bicycles. They are selling the idea that cycling can make your kids (or you) taller. Exercise cannot help you become taller. If you were malnourished or severely immunocompromised (suffering repeated bouts of infections) during the growing stages of your life, you might not attain the height you were destined to as coded in your genes. A malnourished or underfed mother can also impact growth of her foetus for life.

Hanging, playing basketball, cycling have no bearing on your height. They are necessary elements of a healthy lifestyle for kids and adults. But here are a few ways to increase your height:

• Send you or your child into space. With no gravity in play, you can temporarily gain 3% in height. This gain is due to an increase in spacing between the 24-33 bones in your spine. This gain is reversed rapidly on your return to the earthly realm bound by pesky gravity that is constantly pulling you down and compressing you. Literally.

• Wilfully volunteer to have the bones in your leg fractured, have a metal rod inserted. The length of this rod is increased by a millimetre a day as bone heals and grows excruciatingly slowly. You need hours of exercise to learn to walk and the bones may take months to fully heal and sometimes don’t fully heal leaving you mildly crippled and at the mercy of the metal rod in your leg.

In the distant future, you could have the surgery done on Mars or on the moon where gravity is your friend for both easier healing and a less compressed spine. Until then make sure your growing child has an adequate dose of protein, calcium, sunshine, activity and calories. If after all this, you still are not happy with your progeny’s height, blame your parents, family and spouse for not being tall enough.

Kids might have issues with growing taller if they fracture the growth plate which is at the end of the bones. This is where new bone growth occurs. It’s a fragile part of the growing bone and fracturing this region can result in crooked or stunted bone growth. Nope, lifting weights or doing some strength training cannot cause fractures in the growth plate of children thus stunting them.

About Adarsh

- I run a strength and conditioning facility in Chennai, India
- I work with my clients to make training and eating for better body composition a part of everyday life
- I coach online and in-person
- I design and manufacture strength training equipment for use in our strength training facility