We all enjoy those elegant sitting poses where you cross your legs at the knee. That’s something we do automatically. But not too many of us know that crossing legs at the knee can lead to serious health issues.
Don’t worry, sitting with your legs crossed for short periods of time is fine. You’re “in trouble” if you maintain this position for hours.
If you’re a man and don’t cross your legs, you might think about sitting on your wallet. This habit is very similar to leg crossing and has almost the same consequences.
Let’s see what can happen to your body if you spend too much time with one knee crossed over the other (or sitting on your wallet).
Science Says: You Should Never Cross Your Legs
Although a woman can look very attractive and elegant sitting with legs crossed, here are 5 reasons why you should never cross your legs at the knee:
1. Increased Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that blood pressure increases every time you cross your legs at the knee and stay in this position for a significant period of time. (1)
When you sit in this position your body pomps all the blood intended for your legs back towards your chest. This means a higher resistance to blood flow and an increased blood pressure.
Don’t worry, you can still cross your legs, but at the ankles. As the same study says, crossing your legs at the ankles has no effect on blood pressure.
Even if you currently don’t have any blood pressure problems, you should still avoid crossing your legs at the knee. This way you’ll prevent further circulatory problems.
2. Pelvic Imbalance
You can develop a pelvic imbalance if you’re working in an office and cross your legs at the knee for more than 3 hours per day.(2)
This sitting position can also deform your thigh muscles and affect your posture. So definitely avoid it whenever possible (and that’s always).
3. Palsy And Foot Drop
A 4-year-long Korean study has sown that sitting in the same position for prolonged periods of time can cause foot drop. (3)
When you sit more than 2 hours in the same position, you start to feel a numbness, tingling, or even burning sensation in your legs.
That happens because your peroneal nerve suffers a sort of paralysis called palsy. And this condition leads to foot drops.
4. Back, Neck And Shoulders Pain
Too much of anything can make you sick.
Unfortunately, that’s the case here. If you cross your legs at the knee for a few minutes, that’s normal.
But when this sitting position becomes a habit, you can experience constant pains in your hips, lower back, neck, or shoulders. Also, your posture might have to suffer from your sitting position. (4)
If you want to avoid all of these, then quit this habit and learn how to properly (and painlessly) sit at your desk.
5. Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis is a dangerous and painful condition that appears when a blood clot forms far inside the calf muscles. And sitting with legs crossed is one of the reasons these blood clots appear. (5)
So stay away from this sitting position, especially if you are a pregnant woman (because you are more prone to the formation of the blood clots).
Crossed Legs Position Don’t Cause Varicose Veins
Although the biggest news and media websites are claiming that varicose veins can be caused if you cross your legs at the knee when sitting down, that’s not true!
There’s no study to sustain their sayings. In fact, doctors all around the world sustain the opposite: sitting with legs crossed at the knee will not cause varicose veins. (6)
So if you have varicose veins you should know that changing your sitting habits won’t help. Instead, visit a vein clinic to get professional consultation and advice.
In conclusion, it’s best to ditch the habit of crossing legs when sitting down to avoid any health risks. Men should also avoid sitting on their wallets.
Remember, don’t cross your legs at the knee when you sit down. That might be elegant, but it’s definitely not healthy!