According to model and former Miss World Rosanna Davison, practicing Pilates has added half an inch to her 5’9″ frame. The 30-year-old from Ireland who won the Miss World competition in 2003 says that adding height is a “known effect from practicing it regularly.”
It is commonly known that the stretching exercises in Pilates strengthen the core muscles of the body and teach proper posture. Davison claims, “Pilates helps to elongate and lengthen muscles . . . and plumps up the cushioning discs of the spine. But is it possible to become taller with Pilates?
Maximizing Your Height Through Pilates
According to experts in the fields of both Pilates and chiropractics, the answer is – technically – no. According to ThinkPilates blogger Zoe Anderson, no one can physically make his or her muscles longer without some kind of surgery. And although Pilates works on flexion, rotation and extension simultaneously, it can’t do more than create a tiny bit of additional space between the vertebrae – not enough to make a difference in actual height.
Spokeswoman for the American Chiropractice Association Dr. Karen Erickson agrees. “It won’t lengthen your bones,” she says, although she also says that poor posture from sitting at a desk or hunching over a computer can make people appear shorter than they really are. Pilates can correct posture problems so that people will appear taller, although they have not actually grown.
So while Pilates cannot make you grow any taller, it can add height through correct posture, which is just what Rosanna Davison has claimed. It can also prevent or even reverse spinal damage through correct alignment and can prevent the shrinkage that sometimes occurs with age as vertebrae compress and the back hunches slightly.
When you stand taller, the effect is virtually the same as if you had grown taller. Having correct posture will also help you appear longer and leaner, with clean, long lines rather than a bent and bunched appearance.
Other Benefits of Pilates
Pilates has many other benefits in addition to making practitioners appear taller through improved posture. Breathing exercises can make participants more aware of their body’s stress levels and what their body needs from exercise. Emphasis on smooth, careful movements and balance add an element of gracefulness to the way the body moves.
Because it is exercise, Pilates can also help with weight loss and becoming stronger. The resistance exercises involving bands will build stronger muscles without adding a lot of bulk. Stronger muscles are less likely to be injured, and more likely to heal quickly if an injury would occur. The flexibility and strength Pilates provides will give participants greater energy and stamina for the challenges of life, in addition to a slightly heightened appearance.
If you are interested in maximizing your height and developing more balance, core strength and coordination, check out Pilates Sports Center‘s full lineup of Pilates classes for everyone from beginner to advanced. Classes are taught by trained and certified instructors who can help you achieve your health and wellness goals. See www.PilatesSportsCenter.com for more details and to see how Pilates can benefit you.