Does Working Out for Your Abs Affect Your Height?

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Exercising your abdominal muscles can boost your health, but it can't increase your height. Abdominal exercises can develop a strong core, but your height won't change. Besides improving your strength, exercise also increases your aesthetic appeal. Exercising your abdominal muscles might improve your proportionality, assuming you also regularly exercise all of your body’s muscles and stick to a healthy diet.

Factors that Affect Height

  • Many factors affect your height, especially genetics. If your ancestors were tall, it's more likely that you will be tall as well. Race and ethnicity are also important. Proper nutrition throughout your life can affect your physical growth. For example, if you were deprived of nutrients early in life when your body was developing, you might fail to meet your growth potential.

Significance

  • The relative significance of the various factors that affect your height depends on your life experiences, diet and genotype. Generally, 60 to 80 percent of your height is attributable to genetic factors, and 20 to 40 percent is attributable to nutrition and other environmental variables, according to molecular biologist Chao-Qiang Lai of the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

Importance of Nutrition

  • Between nutrition and environmental factors, nutrition has the greater impact on your height. That’s because your body goes through three critical phases of development -- during infancy, childhood and adolescence. A nutritional deficiency during any of these critical periods can have long-lasting negative effects on your height and body shape, according to the book “Clinical Nutrition for Oncology Patients.” The book notes that the most vulnerable stage is during infancy.

Considerations

  • Once you have passed out of adolescence, chances are you won’t grow any taller. At that point, exercise will increase your strength, endurance, health and aesthetic appeal, but that’s it. But if you’re still growing and want to maximize your height, eat a balanced, healthy diet, following your doctor’s guidelines to ensure your body receives all the nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, that can help you achieve optimal growth. Calcium, for example, is vital for healthy bone growth -- and bone growth certainly affects your height.

Improving Posture

  • While exercise won’t increase height, developing stronger core muscles might make you appear taller by improving your posture. For example, developing stronger abdominal, back and pelvic muscles might help you stand straighter. Ask a certified fitness instructor to show you appropriate exercises for developing muscles in your torso. Typical core-strengthening exercises include abdominal crunches, planks, leg raises and situps.

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