Does Swimming Make You Shorter?

Usually, when it comes to swimmers’ heights, people remark on how tall they are. However, if you found your way to this article, that means you’re wondering the opposite – perhaps swimming does affect one’s height but in the opposite direction, making one shorter. Is there any truth to this thought?

does swimming make you shorter

In this article, we will discuss swimming’s impact on one’s height, discussing it specifically from the perspective of potentially decreasing it.

Does swimming make you shorter?

No, swimming does not make you shorter. This is a myth and there’s no scientific evidence to support the claim. Your height is largely determined by your genetics and can be influenced by your nutrition and overall health, especially during your growth years. Regular physical activity, including swimming, can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, but it does not affect your height negatively.

Not eating or sleeping enough between swimming workouts, and therefore being in a permanent state of being “overtrained” may have a negative impact on a child’s growth, however that is not an issue specific to swimming.

How does swimming affect your height?

Swimming does not have a direct effect on your height. In fact, swimming can contribute to better overall posture and spinal alignment, which could potentially make you appear taller. It’s a low-impact, full-body workout that improves muscle tone and strength, cardiovascular fitness, and flexibility, but it does not influence skeletal growth or height.

Can swimmers be short?

Yes, swimmers can be short. While it is often noted that many competitive swimmers are tall, this is more correlation than causation. Longer limbs can provide an advantage in many swimming events, so you may see a greater proportion of tall athletes in professional swimming.

However, height is not a requirement for swimming and people of all statures can enjoy this sport and even excel at it. Even in the Olympics, some short swimmers have found success and won gold, so it is not as much of a handicap as many think it is.

Can swimming influence growth in children and teenagers?

Swimming can positively influence overall growth and development in children and teenagers by contributing to a healthy lifestyle. It helps to strengthen bones and muscles, enhance cardiovascular health, and improve endurance and flexibility. However, it does not directly influence height or growth rate. It’s important to remember that good nutrition also plays a vital role in a child’s growth.

Can swimming affect posture, which affects height?

Yes, swimming can both positively and negatively affect posture. When done correctly, it helps to strengthen core and back muscles, promoting better posture and spinal alignment. Improved posture can sometimes make a person appear taller, but it does not physically increase height.

With that said, there have been cases where swimmers developed something called swimmer’s slouch, which is characterized by a forward head position, accompanied by rounded shoulders and a curved back.

This can happen as a result of tight chest and shoulders muscles pulling the shoulders forward and elongating the back muscles, resulting in a slouched posture that can cause one to appear shorter than they actually are.

To prevent this, one needs to strengthen their back muscles through dryland back workouts to help pull their shoulders back. Additionally, one should perform shoulder correcting exercises such as shoulder external rotations and scapular retractions to balance out their shoulder and back muscles.

What role do genetics play in one’s height as opposed to swimming?

Genetics play a substantial role in determining height. Scientists believe that about 60% to 80% of a person’s final height is due to genetics. The rest is influenced by environmental factors, primarily nutrition and health during the growth years.

Activities like swimming do not directly affect height but can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, which can indirectly support growth and development during childhood and adolescence.

Is it harmful to swim extensively during one’s growth years?

No, it is not harmful to swim extensively during growth years, provided that the activity is balanced with proper rest and nutrition. In fact, regular physical activity like swimming can be beneficial for overall health and development. At the very least, it won’t negatively affect growth.

Does swimming affect spinal health, which could influence height?

Swimming can actually improve spinal health. It is a low-impact activity that strengthens back and core muscles, which can support better posture and spinal alignment. Regular swimming can also help alleviate back pain and prevent spinal injuries. However, it’s important to maintain proper form while swimming to avoid strain or injury.

Are there any cases where swimming made someone shorter?

No, there are no documented cases or scientific evidence to suggest that swimming can decrease a person’s height. Changes in height are primarily driven by genetic factors and can be influenced by overall health and nutrition during the growing years.

A healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activities like swimming, supports overall growth and development but does not affect height in a negative way.