Body height loss

In all seriousness - does running cause you to shrink in height?  I ask as I always remember being measured at 5'11 and a bit (the bit is important!), and it was noticed by my mother last weekend that I had in fact shrunk in comparison to my dad and my brother.  I was always taller than them. (sulks)  I am aware that with age, apparently we shrink, but given that dad is older than me, he'd further shrink and I'd remain taller than him - relatively speaking.  My mum then said, in an 'I told you' sort of way - "it's all because of that running you do. You've compressed your bones". I'd like to know if there could be any truth to this - Oh! and no jokes about it stunting my growth!.


  • I'm always being told I look too thin by my mum especially when I'm in really good shape. I believe there can be a temporary loss in height after a long run but you soon return back to normal.
  • Did you stop wearing heels?
  • HigsHigs ✭✭✭

    It doesn't stunt your growth.

    It make you blind.

  • Now this has degenerated into playground humor (I knew it) . I was always told that my palms would get hairy, but seriously - back to the height issue. I'm not too worried as I love running and won't stop (yes I said running - nothing else) but my family now wind me up - especially my mum who always said I'd pay for it when I get older (the running that is)!
  • I've never heard of it.

    Non runners believe all sorts of nonsense about what running is supposed to do to you.

    The only thing I believe now is it knackers your knee up.

  • tricialitttricialitt ✭✭✭
    "you've compressed your bones"- well, I suppose that it's possible you have a few vertebral compression fractures, but seems unlikely (your a bloke, to start with, and osteoporotic collapse is a condition commonest in elderly women). Seriously though, if you have genuinely lost a significant amount of height, that could be an explanation, otherwise, could it just be a posture thing?
  • Apprrently running reduces your manhood!!!
  • M.ister WM.ister W ✭✭✭
    Running does make you shorter but only temporarily.  After a marathon you'll be a couple of cm shorter than when you started but you very quickly regain that height after you stop.  I think it's due to the impact compressing the discs in your spine, which recover when you stop pounding them.
  • Loss of height with age is usually due to loss of intevertebral space from disc compression or compression fractures resulting in kyphosis.  Both are usually pretty painfully and you'd know about it.  I agree it's like to be a posture issue or you were never actually taller in the first place image

    (And 'the bit' is much more important when, like me, you are 5' 1" and a bit image)

  • You can lose as much as an inch quite quickly from a heavy weight lifting session. Then if you hang from a pull-up bar for a while you can stretch your spine out again and get your inch back.

    Try it, its fun!  Shorter, taller, shorter, taller!

    Actually being serious, hanging from a bar and stretching your spine is very good for the health of your back.

  • MrsK8MrsK8 ✭✭✭

    Apparently from 30, you start shrinking. I'm short enough without having to worry about losing more height!

    People who don't 'understand' running will also pick fault with it. I heard the other day on TV, some woman at a cosmetic surgery company blame running for causing someone's face to drop/effect the collagen or something?!

    With regards to the scientific nature behind it, I have no idea but as long as you're enjoying it & don't mind the apparent height-loss (wtf), then ignore the negative comments.

  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    Non-runners (non-exercisers) do like try and put runners/exercisers off.

    It makes them feel better about not doing any exercise themselves if they can find a good reason why THEY don't do anything.

    I doubt if running is really making you shorter - we do just shrink a bit during the day, then get it back overnight.

    Get someone to measure you properly, then you can decide if you really have lost any height.

  • Right - action plan.  Measure myself in the morning, at noon and at night - before a run, after a run and after a spell of hanging from the doorframe.  I'm going to have pencil marks up the wall ALL OVER THE PLACE (LOL).  Reminds me of when my mum  used to do this when we were kids (the measuring and marking bit - not hanging us from the doorframes!!).  I'm getting itchy feet now and the weather is fine so I'm off to measure myself and hit the cross country route for a 10 miler!  Watch this space for a measurement update...image
  • To save all arguement - I measured my height before and after three individual runs that I've done this last week, a 7, an 11 and a 6.2 mile.  I can assure you all that I have lost NO MORE HEIGHT ( I was dreading the prospect that after another 1000 miles I might be down to being 5 foot!).  It would appear that I am just shrinking with age.  I am resigned to the fact that I am actually , chronologically, 43 years of age, and not what I thought I was mentally - still 18!  Ho Hum. (PS - my sights going too - so it might actually be true....what they say you know!!) imageimage
  • I have run 40 mile a week for the last 15 years and have lost 2 inches in height. Starting to suffer from sore glutes and hamstrings now despite stretching everyday
  • My wife can change height literally by 2-3 inches on a day by day basis, its quite strange. She had compression fractures from a horse riding accident and it caused a slight scoliosis so her posture and height vary upon the health of her spine that day, depending on what she has been doing. So it is definitely possible to be shorter after exercise / running but its never permanent.

  • Yeah it's a combination of posture and disc compression. Everyone is always taller when they wake up - we lose height throughout the day as the discs compress and then they uncompress again when we lay down to sleep. Hydration also plays a factor. Running (and weight lifting, especially if you're doing miltiary presses or anything with a heavy bar on your shouders) will cause more compression than just sitting around.

    It's probably worth doing some yoga or pilates to address any posture issues you might have. Other than that, I wouldn't worry too much.

  • I am 30 and have lost 3cm in height :s I was only 5ft before so for me this is not good!! I am also interested to know if running can make you shrink, there seems to be a theme here! I am a marathon runner and want my height back haha. The extra cms really do make all the difference!! I really do not want to loose any more height lol.
    rosie - it's expected that we lose height as we age.    I'm a marathon runner too and I've lost 1cm, had my height checked at the gym, which I wasn't too happy with but after checking on Dr Google I discovered that is normal for my age   I don't think running has any effect on your height but 3cm does seem a lot, but we're all different.   I had a friend that lost a lot of height and her doctor blamed the many years that she didn't eat dairy and wasn't getting enough calcium in her diet.

    If you're concerned check with your GP.
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Rosie, totally agree with Shades, see your GP. Loss of height is one of the determinates for osteoporosis. 3 cm is a lot especially as you are only 30. It might be something else but it is worth having it checked out. 
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