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Can Running Make You Shorter? Surprising Answer

When it comes to running, whether you run daily or you’d like to run a marathon, you may already know a lot about the benefits of running to your heart and general health. Yet, have you ever asked yourself the following intriguing question? Would regular running affect your height or growth positively or negatively? Can running make you shorter?

Or specifically, can running make you shorter over time? Also, does running shorten legs, or does it stretch your legs to be longer? And finally, can running stunt growth, or is it the other way round? Well, the answers could be pretty surprising for you.

So, if running is your favorite cardiovascular exercise, and you’re wondering how running may impact your height or growth, this article is for you! Moreover, if you’re trying to get into the habit of running, would the effect of running on your body length be temporary or permanent? We will fully answer these questions to satisfy your curiosity, so carry on reading!

Can Running Make You Shorter?

The surprising answer is: Yes, running can make you shorter ─ that’s strange but true. It depends on two factors, though, which are the running intensity and the running duration. We will explain why you may become shorter and whether you’ll permanently or temporarily shrink after a high-impact running exercise.

For the running intensity, when you run really hard, the pressure on your spine increases, which may slightly decrease your height. And as for the running duration, believe it or not, if you run a long distance, as in a marathon, and measure yourself afterward, you will find that you’re 1cm shorter than usual. Don’t panic, please, and keep reading the article to get the complete picture.

So, why does this happen? Actually, throughout the day, our spinal discs tend to compress. So, if you run intensely for more than 30 minutes, you place more pressure on your spinal discs, which will make the discs compress faster. When you find that you’ve become shorter only in one day, you may feel shocked. However, the good news is that it’s a temporary thing because you will regain your usual height within 24 hours.

But in general, running will amazingly make you look taller because regular practice improves your posture and tones up your muscles.

Does Running Shorten Legs?

Now you know that high-intensity running shortens your spine and makes you a bit shorter for just one day. Because of this, you may wonder whether it’s also the case with your legs. The short answer is no – running does not make your legs shorter.

As stated above, this time the answer is: No, it doesn’t. Instead, it may make your legs look somewhat bigger or even leaner. So, if you often run intensely for short distances, this will make your leg muscles look a little bigger, which may give a false impression that you’ve become. However, note that short distance running will never make your leg muscles as huge as weight training.

On the other hand, if you usually run long distances, your legs will look slimmer, which will make you look taller. But it’s noteworthy that whether your goal is to look a bit shorter or taller, this may take months of burning your sneakers’ rubber to see a significant difference! Also, you need to keep in mind that we have different bodies that react differently to the same type of running exercise.

Can Running Stunt Growth?

No. It’s a myth that running would stop your body from growing properly regardless of your age. Surprisingly, running can promote growth, especially for teenagers and those in their early twenties. By increasing HGH and bone density, running can have a positive impact on height.

According to research, activities like weight lifting and running don’t stunt growth because they have no negative effect on the growth plates. Contrarily, regular high-impact running for about 20 minutes can promote growth before and after puberty. This is because running is one of the easiest exercises that increase the growth hormone level in the blood, which improves the building up of your muscles and bones.

So, to make sure that running will improve your growth rate, try to get the necessary nutrition by following a healthy diet or taking supplements prescribed by your doctor. Those nutrients may include vitamin D, calcium, vitamin B12, and iron. In addition, as you age or during your thirties, your body starts to lose some of its bone and muscle mass, especially if you’re inactive.

In case you’d like to slow down this mass loss and retain your muscles and bone mass intact as an adult, you’ll need to make it a habit to exercise and run regularly and watch your diet.


It goes without saying that running is one of the most effective types of cardiovascular exercise; it’s good for your heart, body posture, and your overall health. However, can running make you shorter? The short answer is yes, but it shortens you temporarily, especially after an intense or long run by 1cm.

This is because running increases the compression of your spinal discs and tightens up your body muscles. Cheer up, though, as this effect will be gone within 24 hours, so feel free to make running one of your positive habits to promote your growth or make yourself look taller.

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About the author

Jasper loves to write about fitness, running, and anything else that gets him moving outdoors. He's an avid hiker, backpacker, and climber who loves to stay fit so he can make sure he's healthy enough to enjoy his favorite hobbies. He also spends time writing about his true passions in life.