Why do people get shorter as they get older?

Posted on Mar 9, 2022      231

Many people have noticed that as they get older, they begin to look shorter. And this is not just a visual effect, but a proven scientific fact. Researchers have even calculated that after 40, people lose an average of 1.2 cm over 10 years. This happens for a number of reasons.

1. Loss in muscle mass.

Our spine is essentially a flexible framework made up of bone, cartilage and muscle tissue. And it is constantly subjected to serious atmospheric pressure, as well as the stress associated with our own weight. Therefore, in order for this skeleton to cope with such a load, you need well-developed muscles.

However, there are certain problems here as well. The English scientist Adam Hawkey notes that after 30 years of age we lose 3-5% of our muscle tissue every 10 years. And as we get older, this process begins to happen even faster. As a result, people find it difficult to keep their spine straight, and they begin to slouch, hunch over. And this affects both posture and the perception of height by others.

Bone loss.

The spine physically shrinks because the intervertebral discs lose elasticity. After age 40, these discs begin to lose their lubricating fluid. They become denser and stiffer and decrease in size. As a result, the distance between the vertebrae decreases. As the spine thus appears shorter, we become shorter.


Surprisingly enough, our height is also directly related to lifestyle. For example, people in the countryside who did a lot more heavy physical work than people in the city had a greater decrease in height. Doctors hypothesize that this may be due to a certain amount of wear and tear in the body.

2. However, statistics also revealed a more incomprehensible relationship for many people. Observations showed that people who had finished high school, on average, lost 1 cm less in height than those who did not even have this education. Researchers make different assumptions: some believe that the former simply had a better diet, while others believe it is a question of the influence of lifestyle and self-awareness.

How does one maintain growth?

To one degree or another, the loss of growth awaits everyone. Scientists believe that the process can be counteracted by exercising. For example, after the age of 30, it is advisable to allocate 15 minutes to stretch every day. Strengthening muscle mass will help mitigate age-related changes.

The accumulation of calcium in the body is also important. People who live in northern regions do not absorb it well because of a lack of vitamin D in the diet. Therefore, doctors strongly recommend watching your diet.

Reduced growth with age occurs in all. But it is in our power to influence how serious it will be.