Crossing the legs is a habit that many of us do without even being aware of doing it. It’s just an impulsive posture whenever we are sitting. And of course, crossing your legs is very feminine and adds elegance and style to your appearance. However, there are some medical concerns which you need to get familiar with.
Here are 5 reasons why you should stop crossing your legs:
- Crossing your Legs Causes Numbness in the Muscles
When your legs are crossed, the peroneal nerve at the back of your knee is under a lot of pressure, preventing the sensation to the lower legs and feet. If you spend a lot of time in that position you’ll feel numbness in your legs and feet. Whenever you get that feeling you need to massage the muscles hard in order to increase circulation in the veins.
- Crossing your Legs Causes Peroneal Nerve Palsy
Sitting with your legs crossed for a longer period of time, causes a condition known as peroneal nerve palsy, or foot drop. This results in disability to lift your toes properly. This condition was also tested in a study in South Korea. Many patients were sitting with their legs crossed for hours, and felt numbness and foot drop.
- Crossing your Legs Increases Your Blood Pressure
When the doctor is checking your blood pressure, he tells you to relax and sit with uncrossed legs and arms gently placed beside your body. That’s because when you are sitting in a comfortable pose the blood pressure comes to the normal level and can be checked properly.
Crossing your legs regularly can cause increasing of your blood pressure to a certain level. According to several studies conducted by 2010, crossing your legs on a regular basis can cause higher blood pressure.
But another study has shown that whether you cross your legs or you don’t, that would not make much difference in the level of your blood pressure. However these studies were based on checking the blood pressure only once.
A more important study was carried out at a hypertension clinic in Turkey. Their conclusions were based on a few readings with crossed and with uncrossed legs.
It was concluded that blood level was increased while the legs were crossed, but a very important fact is that when the pressure was measured three minutes after uncrossing the legs, the level of the pressure was same as before the measurements. A greatest increase of the blood pressure was noticed in people who already suffer from high blood pressure.
There are two main explanations why crossing your legs can cause temporal higher blood pressure. When one of your knees is crossed over the other, blood is send from your legs to your chest, causing the heart to pump more blood, thus causing increased blood pressure.
The second explanation for increased blood pressure is because of the isometric exercise of leg muscles which increases the resistance to the blood which goes through the vessels. On the other hand, crossing your legs at the ankles is not harmful at all.
A few psychological measurements were taken in Nijmegen, Netherlands in order to find out which of the explanations mentioned above is correct.
The study has shown that resistance in the blood vessels didn’t increase when the heart rate was low and the legs were crossed. However the amount of blood being pumped from the heart did increase, thus showing that the level of the blood pressure rises because crossed legs are pushing blood to the heart.
It was concluded that crossed legs can cause temporal increase in the blood pressure. However, there is no evidence that there are any long-term consequences unless the person is at risk of blood clots. In that case, they shouldn’t sit with crossed legs for longer period of time, because crossed legs prevent the normal flow of blood, thus increasing the risk of vein thrombosis.
- Crossing your Legs Causes Varicose Veins
Sitting with your legs crossed can give you varicose veins. The reasons why some people suffer from varicose veins are still unknown. There are small valves in the blood vessels which prevent blood from going into the wrong direction. But when those valves become weak, loose or stretched the blood can pool thus causing enlarged veins, called varicose veins.
But, crossing the legs is not the only reason for causing varicose veins. The most important reason for varicose veins is due to genetics.
Varicose veins is a bad condition which is worsened during cold days. However, crossing your legs will cause inflammation of the compressed veins.
- Crossing your Legs Leads to Poor Posture
When people spend more than three hours a day sitting with their legs crossed are more likely to lean forward and round their shoulders. This affects your overall body posture and stretches your muscles. Furthermore, lower back pain, neck pain, and discomfort in the hips can occur as well.
Crossing your legs very often and for a longer period of time causes pelvic imbalance which shortens the inner thigh muscles and lengthens the outer thigh muscles. And there is also a risk of joint displacement.
Those are the five reasons why sitting with your legs crossed is bad for you. Now when you’re aware of them, you can try and give up the old habit. But you shouldn’t worry because you can still look feminine and elegant if you sit straight. The most important thing is to keep your feet and knees close to each other.
Improving both your sitting and standing will help you deal with the health issues mentioned before. The way you walk is also connected with your health.
People rarely pay attention to these things. Posture is the last thing on their mind. They consider it unimportant to the overall health. And although that is maybe right at the beginning, bad body posture can cause serious health problems with time.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.