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My mom -- a doctor -- and my relatives seem to think that hanging off monkey bars make you taller as it "stretches" your spine.

I seriously doubt if this is true, unless you hang off monkey bars 24/7. (Literally.)

Is there any proof?

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I think you answered your own question. It depends on how long you hang there. – Craig May 1 '11 at 1:40
The only thing that's happened to me while hanging off of some monkey bars is a pinched nerve in my back. – Mike May 1 '11 at 16:28
I would hope answers also address how long any effect lasts. I understand that we are slightly taller after lying down all night, but the effect wears off quickly after standing all day. – Oddthinking May 7 '11 at 5:51
If you do it as child/teenager (i.e. not full grown person) regularly it might indeed make your grow taller. As grown-up it should only increase the stretchability of your spine, like some yoga postures do. I used to do the sun salutation every morning (~2min exercise) and could bend a lot further after only several weeks. – Martin Scharrer Jun 21 '11 at 16:22
It didn't work for Bobby Brady... – fred Sep 6 '11 at 15:46

Yes. Doesn't need to be monkey bars in particular, even lying in bed will do this. The intervertebral disks in your spine are compressible, and will sag under gravity.

Of course, this is a reversible effect.

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It would be nice if that article contained any references for its claims... – Oddthinking Sep 7 '11 at 2:18
Do I need to say "Welcome to Skeptics"?! Please provide some references to support your claims. – Larian LeQuella Feb 22 '13 at 1:38
Astronauts grow up to 3% taller in space, obviously depending on how long they are there. Essentially, this is a similar effect. – Seej Feb 11 '14 at 17:22

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