Age and genetics are the two biggest factors that impact height. And although there are not specific exercises that can help people increase stature, there are certainly types of exercises to help promote better posture which may give the appearance of actually gaining height.
Improving your flexibility is a great way to promote balance, range of motion as well as improve posture. Flexibility training represents one of the top 3 elements of a well-rounded fitness program; with strength training and cardiovascular exercise as the other components. These exercises can be done everyday starting with the most basic- stretching.
Stretches can help your athletic performance, decrease your potential for injury and promote lengthening of muscles. However, if done incorrectly, stretching can do more harm than good (Mayo Clinic, 2012). As a general rule, stretches should be performed after the muscles are sufficiently warmed up to help avoid over-extension injuries (ACE, 2013). It’s also important to avoid bouncing or ballistic motions and instead aim for maintaining a 30-second static stretch. Ensure that you keep breathing throughout the stretch and avoid holding your breath as this tends to unnaturally raise your blood pressure.
Yoga and pilates offer all the muscle lengthening benefits found in general flexibility exercises with an added bonus- strengthening. Yoga can increase flexibility and blood flow while pilates focuses on back and abdominal strength. Together the two forms of exercise complement each other to give you a taller, leaner appearance.
Regular strength conditioning can help promote muscles critical to everyday movement and posture. One of the many advantages of strength training is that it helps minimize bone loss as we age which contributes greatly to declines in stature. Core strengthening workouts in particular can increase the muscles that support the spine, rib cage, pelvis and hips to help promote better posture- which allows for a taller appearance. You may want to check out the great core workout featured on the ACE Fit website along with the many other individual exercises for back and abs in the ACE Exercise Library.
Mayo Clinic, Stretching: Focus on Flexibility (2011). http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stretching/HQ01447.