It seems only natural to have crossed legs while you’re sitting. It makes you feel more comfortable, and it seems like the perfect position to keep your legs in motion. How many times, while your legs are crossed, do you swing the top one back and forth?

What would you think if you learned that sitting with crossed legs is bad for you? Would you be surprised to find that your comfortable sitting position is doing damage to your body? While many rumors are floating around about this position, there’s also scientific proof that shows it’s not healthy to sit in this manner.

Sitting With Crossed Legs Has Surprising Consequences

While sitting with your legs crossed won’t kill you, it can certainly cause you to have some issues within your body. Here are the most surprising consequences of sitting this way.

1. Posture Is Affected

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Next time you cross your legs, observe your posture. Did you notice that you automatically slump as soon as your leg goes over the top of the other one? It’s only normal to develop a more relaxed position.

If you sit in an inappropriate posture for long periods, it can cause your body great stress, and it can even affect your digestive system. If you must sit this way, remember to keep your back straight and no slouching.

2. Increased Chances of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are pronounced veins that bulge, and you can observe them on the outside of the skin. It’s caused when veins become twisted or enlarged. They are sometimes called spider veins because they look like a blue webbing near the skin’s surface.

Having these bulging veins is more of a cosmetic issue than anything else. However, they can cause throbbing and pain when walking as they increase in size. Additionally, those who have these spider veins are at a higher risk of developing blood clots in the region, according to Stop The Clot.

3. Hip and Back Pain

Your posture is affected when you sit this way, but this incorrect stance can cause both your hip and back. As you turn to find a comfortable position, you’re at an increased risk for twisting nerves and vertebrae. If you’ve ever experienced sciatica, then you know it’s not for the faint of heart.

4. Raises Your Blood Pressure

Your blood pressure is directly affected when you sit with crossed legs. Have you ever heard that you should never cross your legs while you’re having your blood pressure checked? The reason is that you constrict blood vessels, and it causes your heart to pump faster.

The National Institute of Health referenced a study that found people who sit this way have elevated blood pressure. The good news is that your blood pressure returns to your normal range once you uncross your legs. It’s recommended that you get up every 15-20 minutes and walk around to help keep your BP under control.

5. Pressure on Your Peroneal Nerve

Your body is an intriguing network of nerves and vessels. Behind your knee is the peroneal nerve that helps supply the feelings to your legs and feet. When you sit crossed legs, you’re crushing this nerve.

Did you ever wonder why your feet or toes go numb when you’re sitting in this fashion? Thankfully, there is no permanent nerve damage caused by this position, but it can give you that uncomfortable “pins and needles” feeling.

6. Sperm Production

While it’s believed that this is a common sitting position for the ladies, guys also like to sit with crossed legs. The problem with this position for guys is that it can cause the private area to be pinched. Sperm production relies on everything being free-flowing, which is why doctors recommend boxers for those trying to conceive.

The best way for a guy to sit is with his feet flat on the ground, and he should always keep his shoulders back. If you want to have a baby, it’s the only position that won’t inhibit your little soldiers’ production.

7. Leg Swelling

If you sit for long periods with your legs crossed, you might experience ankle swelling or leg cramps. This is especially noted to occur in pregnant women.

The pressure from sitting in this manner causes fluid to pool in the legs. Thankfully, you can alleviate the symptoms by sitting with your feet flat elevated on a stool.

8. Harms the Spine

It’s not uncommon to feel pain in the lumbar spine area if you sit with your legs crossed for long periods. If you’re already prone to back problems, then this is not the right position for you. When you have a bad habit of swinging one leg over the other, it may be best to try some back pain exercises to alleviate the strain.

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9. Breathing Difficulties

When you sit with crossed legs, you’re pinching your stomach slightly. Did you know that this can cause you breathing issues? Now, please don’t fret, thinking that it’s going to make you feel like you’re having an asthma attack, but it can have a small effect.

If you already have a compromised breathing system, then the last thing you want to do is cause yourself any more significant issues.

10. Scoliosis Spine

Have you ever heard of scoliosis? This curvature of the spine is quite dangerous as it causes the spinal column to take on an “S” shaped appearance. When you sit in this elevated position for an extended period, it can cause you significant spine issues, which results in pain and possible surgery.

11. Inability to Focus

If you’re sitting at a meeting or in a seminar where your focus tends to be all over the board anyway, the last thing you want to do is sit with your legs crossed. Due to the strain, this position puts on the neck, back, legs, and feet, it’s bound to affect your concentration levels.

12. Imbalanced Pelvic Area

Would you have ever thought that sitting with your legs crossed could give you a pelvic imbalance? When you continuously sit in this slouching position, it can cause the inner thigh to get shorter over time.

After years of sitting in this manner, you may notice that you have joints moving out on you as your outer thigh muscle elongates. This can be a painful situation that can cause issues when you walk.

13. Yeast Infections

While it may seem bizarre to think your sitting position can contribute to yeast production, if it can inhibit sperm counts, it can also affect your PH in the vaginal area. When a woman sits with her legs crossed for long periods, she is blocking necessary oxygen from reaching the area.

The private areas need oxygen to breathe and to keep bacteria from harboring. Did you know that some gynecologists believe a woman should avoid wearing underwear for this reason? So to keep things fresh and bacteria-free, don’t cross your legs.

Solutions to This Sitting Position

You’ve, no doubt, been sitting this way since you were little. So, the chances of you changing your seating position now are slim. If you must sit with your legs crossed, then there are some things you can do to minimize the effects it has on your body. Here are some ways to combat health problem and bodily pains from this popular sitting style:

• Set A Time Limit

Don’t allow yourself to sit for hours on end with crossed legs. Rather, make sure you get up and walk every 15-30 minutes. It’s important to get the blood flowing again and shake lose any “pins and needles” sensations you feel from pinched nerves. You will notice a remarkable difference when you don’t sit stagnate for long periods.

• Position the Chair Properly

One of the most affected areas by this sitting position is your back. You can help give your back the support it needs by adjusting your chair a bit. Did you know that many people sit in this position because they try to relieve the pain they’re having in this region?

All you need is a bit more support so that you won’t feel any pangs in your lower back.

• Avoid Restrictive Clothing

It sounds shocking, but your clothing can directly affect the blood flow to areas of your body. If you wear tight and restrictive attire, it can cause an increased risk of varicose veins.

While compression garments are suitable for biking, they’re not the best choice while sitting. Try to wear something that allows your blood to flow freely without being restricting.

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Final Thoughts on Sitting Crossed Legs

It seems so effortless to throw one leg across the other while in the seated position, but few know the damage this popular stance causes. It’s essential to learn how poor posture and slouching can be so damaging for the body. While crossed legs may seem comfortable, the health risks are a bit scary in the long run.