Our 28th year of publishing

Published October 19, 2021

My height isn’t what it used to be?

By John Toth / The Bulletin

The nurse asked me to stand against the stadiometer so she could measure my height. “Six feet and half an inch,” she said.

“No, that’s wrong. My height is six foot and one inch,” I replied.

“Turn around and look,” she said. That’s what it was.

“I was probably slouching. Let’s check it again,” I volunteered, and we went through the whole process again.

“Six feet and a half inch,” she said again.

“This thing is off. Can we use another one?” I asked.

“That’s the only one we have,” she said. “We have been using it for years.”

There is no explanation. I know that I am six-one.

There is one, she offered.

“What is it,” I asked.

“Maybe you shrank a half inch over the decades,” she replied.

I what? That’s just not possible.

She finished with all the preliminaries before I saw the doctor for my annual physical exam and politely left - and left me thinking. “Am I getting old?”

Then I saw a current photo of President Jimmy Carter sitting on a sofa. He looked a lot shorter than when he was president. Maybe the nurse is right that people lose some height with age. Carter lost a lot of height, but he just turned 98.

I hope to live to be his age and still be able to sit on a couch and be aware that I am sitting there. If I make it that far, I’ll automate the whole house through Alexa and just give her commands.

“Alexa, call in an order of chicken fried steak and pay for it. Make sure you give them the usual 20% tip.
“But John, that is bad for you. Are you sure you don’t want some salad with crackers on top?”

“Alexa, when you turn 98, you can do what you want. But now, order what I want, or I’ll unplug you.”
“O.K.,Shorty.” she would answer.

I’m far from being 98, so let’s get back to where that half inch in my height went. I turned to the reliable Internet machine.

“Height loss is related to aging changes in the bones, muscles, and joints. People typically lose almost one-half inch every 10 years after age 40. Height loss is even more rapid after age 70. You may lose a total of 1 to 3 inches in height as you age.”

That explains it. But how do I slow this down?

“You'll need to do weight-bearing physical activities, such as running, walking and aerobic exercises.”
I do that now. I get plenty of exercise and semi-regularly go to the gym. I don’t do aerobic exercises, and I don’t run because it’s too tiring. I walk, though.

Then this popped up on the screen: How can you increase your height in one week?

“Extend your arms over your head. Use enough force and stretch to feel the elongation. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, relax your body, and pull again.

“Start with lying down straight on your back. Extend your arms and legs so as to reach the sky. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat.”

I’ll do it for a week. If it works, that nurse is going to be shocked. Excuse me now, but I have to start the stretching exercises. Ouch, that hurts. Let me try to do the other.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send comments to john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)