It’s 12.30am and you’re drifting off to sleep. Somewhere in the depths of your consciousness, you’re facing a deep-seated insecurity. You don’t feel like talking to friends about it, because it’s trivial and you are a grown adult who is not supposed to be concerned with frivolous things.
“What if I was taller? Just by a couple of inches? That changes everything,” you think.
Women — and some men — splurge on Manolo stilettos to project leggy models who struck the genetic lottery. Vertically-challenged alpha males slip in shoe lifts to get a surreptitious height boost. The brave, or foolhardy — depending on how you look at it — go through leg-lengthening surgery.
Don’t be dismayed if the puberty ship has sailed for you. There’s a natural way to better body proportions — Susanne Frey of Breathe Pilates has pretty neat tricks.
Pilates instructor Frey says: “During our daily life, we tend to slouch. We spend a lot of time looking at our phone or hunched over a computer screen. When you slouch, your head is in a forward position and your shoulders are rounded. There’s compression in your spine, that makes you shorter. But if you lengthen your body, you can stand tall.”
Improve your posture with these few nifty moves, and you can look taller without ever growing.
One Leg Kick
How To Do It: Lie on your stomach with legs hip-width apart extended behind you. Lift your upper body and support yourself on your forearms. Ensure your elbows are under your shoulders.
Lengthen your spine, sending your tailbone down towards the mat. Pull in your abdominals to make it a better workout for the core.
Bend your right leg to a 90-degree angle. Then, pull your leg towards your butt with your foot pointed. Flex your foot. Bring your leg back to the mat.
Switch legs, repeat with left leg.
How This Move Makes You “Taller”: Chances are, you’re reading this article on iPhone or a laptop. Take note of your rounded shoulders, and head forward posture.
If you’re seated all day. you have tight hip flexors to boot. Stretching the hip flexors, reduces the tension placed on the spine, which in turn helps you to stand upright, and taller.
Frey says: “I’m German, I like to target as many areas as I can. What I like about the One Leg Kick is that you target many issues in one go. It opens up the front body. Various muscles are extended, such as the hips, buttocks and chest. The moves counter what you normally do it daily life.”
The Mermaid Stretch
How To Do It: Sit sideways with your right leg flat on the floor, knee bent to a 90-degree angle. Place your right palm on the floor. Bend your left knee towards the ceiling and place your left foot on the floor in front of your right foot.
Focus your weight on your right arm, straighten both legs, raising your hip towards the ceiling. Extend your left arm over your head. Switch sides, and repeat the motion.
How It Makes You “Taller”: The lateral flexing of the trunk, or side bend, is a movement rarely used in our daily life.
This graceful, ballet-esque stretch lengthens out your body, giving your extra centimetres over time. The move helps to alleviate lower back pain, and trims love handles.
How To Do It: Lying on the mat, clasp both hands at the nape of your neck.
Raise both legs and bend it at a 90-degree angle. Keep the knees directly over the hips, calf parallel to the floor and toes pointed.
Lift your head and shoulders off the mat. Twist at the waist, bringing your right elbow towards the left knee as you extend the right leg.
Twist at the waist, bringing your left elbow towards the right knee as you extend the left leg. Continue switching between both legs. Keep the movement fluid as you switch between both legs.
How It Makes You “Taller”: Twisting the upper body strengthens the core muscles, in turn, stronger abs and obliques help you elongate your spine and stand tall.