Do People Shrink As They Age?


There is a famous quote that reads, "Do not regret growing older, it is a privilege denied to many". As true as that statement is, there are many changes that happen to the body as we age. Hearing, vision, memory, and hair are some of the things we lose...but what about height?

So, Will I Shrink?

It's true, unfortunately, that shrinking is a normal part of the aging process. There are three reasons why this happens:

  1. Your spinal discs shrink. The discs of your spine are pumped up by fluid. As you age, less fluid gets to them which causes them to flatten, meaning your spine loses length.
  2. The arches in your feet fall. Along with age comes the flattening of the arches of your feet, which will cause you to be just a little bit shorter.
  3. Your muscles lose mass. Your muscles are what help you to stand up tall, and over time, you simply lose them. The loss of muscle mass causes your posture to falter, giving you the appearance of being shorter.

Although shrinking is a part of aging, don't worry yourself too much as you won't drastically lose inches! On average, a person can expect to lose approximately 1/3 to 1/4 of an inch every decade after they hit 40. That means that by the time a man turns 70, he may lose around 1 1/2 inches, while a woman could lose up to 2 inches.

Stop the Shrinking

There might not be anything you can do to completely stop the aging process, but there are steps you can take to stop shrinking from affecting you too much. 

We are all for regular exercise, and that can be a huge help, particularly weight-bearing exercises like running and jogging. Those types of exercises work the legs and hips, which can help support bone mass and muscle mass. Getting the right amount of Vitamin D is also a great way to support your body, as it contributes to strong bones. Be sure to incorporate foods rich in Vitamin D in your diet, like almonds, broccoli, and kale.

Proper posture is can also help stave off shrinking. When you pay close attention to your posture, you are helping your muscles stay strong, your bones healthy, and preventing unnecessary stress being put on your spine. If you're not sure how to keep good posture, we've got some suggestions.

Lastly, regular chiropractic adjustments can keep your spine healthy through all stages of life, and may even help prevent shrinking!