We all see these giant men on television playing basketball in the NBA and marvel at their size and athleticism. But, have you ever wondered, are they tall because of their genes or is it because they actually put so many hours playing the game itself?
While this may sound like a stretch, bad pun intended, there is a bit of evidence that it actually could affect your height if you play basketball. No, this is not some Looney Tunes moment where one character grabs another and stretches them to twelve feet tall, but actual noticeable height gained to your physical stature.
Let’s take a look a bit deeper at how anyone could believe this to be true, and whether or not it is something you should consider if you want to be an elite basketball player.
Things to Consider
There are a few things that are imperative that we talk about before we go any further with this subject.
1. There has been no hard scientific research done on this subject.
This means that everything here is nothing more than hypotheses. While there are some doctors and researchers who see a correlation and reasoning in why or why not your height could change from playing basketball, none of it is hard data at this point.
2. Your height is mainly determined by your genetics.
While not always the case, your genes play a much larger role in your height than anything else. If you have very tall parents, odds are you will be as well. However, there are some people who break the mold, and thus genetics are certainly not everything we should be considering.
So with that out of the way, the real question becomes “are basketball players taller because they play, or do taller people simply gravitate towards playing basketball?”
How It May Help
The answer here is pretty simple: maybe. While there has been a ton of speculation and a few really good theories, there have been no major medical studies done on the subject. Without these hard facts, we can’t say for certain whether it does or not.
Though we don’t have the facts, we can read a bit into the speculation about why you could grow taller by playing basketball.
HGH, or Human Growth Hormone, does exactly what its name implies. In order for a young boy or girl to grow taller from playing the game of basketball, HGH will have to play some role.
HGH comes from the pituitary gland in teens and kids to help promote growth. So a nice boost in HGH can certainly promote a person to grow taller. But how does basketball promote that?
One of the main theories about how basketball can make you taller is by all the jumping you will be doing on the court. When you jump, you are elongating your body up as you reach for a rebound or go in for a layup. Once you come back down your body weight and gravity then compress your body, possibly causing extra blood flow to your growth plates.
That extra blood flow could direct some growth hormones to the growth plates, promoting an increase in height. Is this rock-solid, researched scientific fact? No. But it is a solid hypothesis that could warrant some proper research.
While shooting, defending, and making passes get all of the glory on the basketball court, running is the main part of the game. From fast breaks to breaking ankles, running from one basket to the other will be the main form of exercise while playing.
Running, a high-intensity motion, is shown to release HGH. This could help in the growth and development of a kid that is wanting to be as tall as possible.
4. Dribbling and Shooting
Doing these activities causes you to shorten and extend your arm to full length. Especially the act of shooting, where you will jump and stretch your arm to its full length. This can help in stretching the arms and spine, which will promote growth in height.
When you consider genetics are the main thing that decides whether you are tall or not, having tall parents is a huge advantage. However, if you have short parents, there are some things you can do to make sure you grow as tall as possible.
Eat The Right Food
Eating junk food and non-nutritional things will stunt your growth and keep you from reaching your full potential. It’s a necessity to up your protein intake when you are a growing boy or girl to make sure your body is able to make you grow at an optimal rate.
Get Enough Sleep
It is a well-known fact that getting enough sleep is good for you (source). But most people don’t know that getting a proper night’s sleep also helps release HGH, promoting growth in kids and teenagers.
So make sure you are hitting that pillow at a decent hour, and waking up refreshed the next day. Doing this simple thing can be a total life changer.
The real thing to take away here is that any high-intensity training will help promote growth by releasing HGH and building muscle. You don’t want to overdo it with heavy weight lifting, but high-intensity training doing things like sprints are extremely helpful in promoting not only growth in height but ensuring you don’t gain weight in the form of fat.
Don’t get your hopes up thinking playing basketball can help you grow five inches by next summer. It simply will not happen just by playing the game.
Don’t get discouraged though, by doing a few simple things we just mentioned above you will ensure you are giving yourself the best chances of being as tall as you can be.
What do you think? Is this all “mumbo jumbo” or is there some truth to it? Let us know below!