Crossing your legs while sitting in a very common yet quite an unhealthy pose.
It became an automatic pose that we take almost immediately after we sit.
Many women sit in this pose because they think that it is sexy, elegant or feminine.
On the other hand, men sit in this position differently, with the legs wide open and with their feet facing out. Even though it comes automatically to us, or it’s a matter of habit, this pose is quite unhealthy. Furthermore, it can be dangerous to our posture, therefore can cause aesthetic problems.
If you sit in this position often and do so for a longer period, this is what is happening to your body:
If you don’t change the position for more than half an hour, it may cause the paralysis of the perennial nerve which weakens the muscles responsible for lifting the foot. In addition to those who often hold legs crossed, this paralysis affects people who are tied to a bed, and those who are not sufficiently stable in the wheelchair.
Many studies have shown that the habit of prolonged cross-legged sitting raises the blood pressure. Even if you usually don’t have problems with blood pressure this sitting position can trigger or cause it.
Avoiding crossing your legs while sitting leads to a better circulation, which is, in all cases, positive. Good blood flow makes our muscles and skin healthier, therefore more beautiful.
Crossing your legs can also lead to an imbalance in the pelvis.
The inner thigh muscle becomes shorter this way, and the outer thigh muscle is getting longer. In such situation, there is a risk of moving the joints out of their places.
This kind of sitting can also trigger the condition called “spider veins”. Although the occurrence of visible veins is connected with genetics, if you cross your legs every time you sit, you have much greater chances to have visible veins on your legs.
To explain it better, we can take a closer look at our blood vessels. They have small valves that prevent the blood flowing in the wrong direction. But, if you are crossing your legs while sitting, the pressure on the veins increases and hinders the flow of blood.
Some studies show that sitting with your legs crossed for more than three hours a day can lead to stooped posture, pain in the lower back and neck. Also, this position is creating an uneasy feeling in the hips.
In short, we must learn to avoid crossing your legs for a prolonged period of time. If we are doing it subconsciously, then we must bring it to our consciousness and try to avoid it.
There are several techniques to change this bad habit.
You can approach this by exploring your comfortable sitting positions. Have in mind that it’s good to have the right support for your back when you are sitting. If you are forced to sit for a longer period, it’s good to change the position of your legs every 10 to 15 minutes.
You can also do small movements of your feet and improve the blood circulation.
Furthermore, if you are traveling and cannot get up, the best way to reduce the effect of prolonged sitting is to do small circulatory movements of your legs and to lift your heels occasionally. A good seating exercise is to squeeze and relax the muscles of the buttocks and tights at intervals of 5 seconds.
This exercise is especially valuable during the long flights or bus rides.
By Apollonas K.