Do you often cross your legs while sitting casually or at any event? Well, it’s a common pose that is usually associated with style and feminine culture. Crossing your legs is actually quite common, although it’s not often brought to attention. It can add a style and elegance to appearance. It has aesthetic value, but there are some medical concerns that must be revealed here.
Here are 5 reasons to stop crossing your legs…
1. Numbness in the muscles
Crossing the legs exerts pressure on the peroneal nerve at the back of your knee that supplies sensation to the lower legs and feet. If you remain in that pose for a longer time, legs or feet can go numb. It gives a pain like someone is giving pins or needles to your muscles. If it happens, massage the numb muscles vigorously to increase circulation in the veins.
2. Nerve palsy
When you cross your legs for a considerably longer time period, it can cause a condition, known as, peroneal nerve palsy. It results in foot drop. During this condition, you become unable to lift toes properly. In a study from South Korea, many patients were examined. Sitting cross-legged for hours caused numbness and foot drop.
3. Raised blood pressure
You may have noticed when a doctor checks your blood pressure, he asks you to sit with legs uncrossed and arms flat. It’s because a comfortable pose can bring the blood pressure to a normal level and help check it properly. What happens when you cross your legs often? It raises blood pressure to a certain level. In 2010, seven studies revealed that leg crossing causes a higher blood pressure. In another study, no difference was found. Most of these studies were on a small scale.
In Turkey, research was carried out at a hypertension clinic. It was on a relatively larger scale. But after three minutes, when the reading was taken, the blood pressure got back to the initial levels. Elevated blood pressure was noticed in those people, who were already under-treatment for high blood pressure.
Two reasons have been understood about elevated blood pressure when you cross your legs while sitting. One knee over the other, sends blood from the legs to the chest, causing increased amount of blood pumped out of the heart. Consequently, it raises blood pressure.
Another reason is that blood pressure elevates due to isometric exercise of the leg muscles. It increases the resistance to the blood passing through the vessels. This is why, crossing legs at the ankles doesn’t give the same effect.
There are several physiological measurements taken in Nigmegen, Netherlands. A study was carried out there to know which of the above two reasons is accurate. According to the research, resistance in the blood vessels didn’t rise when the heart rate was low and legs were crossed. The amount of blood leaving the heart was higher than before. It showed that elevated blood pressure is because of crossed legs pushing blood up to the heart.
When you cross your legs, it causes a temporary increase in blood pressure. But according to the evidence, there are no long-term consequences. People with high risk of blood clots should sit with legs uncrossed. Because, crossed legs can cause a barrier in the flow of blood. It could increase risk of a deep vein thrombosis.
4. Varicose veins
How are varicose veins linked with sitting cross-legged? The reasons of varicose veins is not clear yet. There are tiny valves in the blood vessels that prevent blood from flowing back in the wrong direction. When these valves become loose, stretched and weak; the blood can pool. It causes enlarged veins that is known as varicose veins.
Crossing the legs is not the main factor for causing varicose veins. It is partly because of genetics. It is a painful disease that gets worse during cold weather. But, when you cross your legs, it certainly causes an inflammation of the compressed veins.
5. Poor posture
People who remain in crossed leg pose for several hours develop a poor posture. Their shoulders become round as they lean forward. Obviously, it apparently looks awkward. When the legs are crossed for a longer time period, it makes shoulder become round. It also makes you lean forward. It affects body posture in an adverse way. It also gives a stretch to the muscles. When you cross your legs, it can make your posture unattractive. Due to stooped posture, lower back pain and neck pain can also occur. It can also lead to discomfort in the hips.
There is a pelvic imbalance that makes inner thigh muscles shorter and outer thigh muscles longer. It also puts you at a joint displacement risk.
You have read the five reasons to avoid sitting with legs crossed. Decide now to ditch this habit. You can look ritzy and elegant even while sitting straight. The art is to keep the feet and knees close to each other. To avoid the health issues mentioned above, it’s important to improve the sitting and standing posture. Even the way you walk is linked to your health.
Some people, especially women always sit with their legs crossed without even realizing that they have been in that pose for hours. They must quit this habit instantly to stay healthy. Nowadays, many people have no idea about how to correct their postures. Posture issues may seem minor in the beginning but can cause serious health issues in the long run. Most of these posture issues arise because of excessive use of computer and smartphone technology. People spend an unreasonable amount of time sitting in awkward positions. Physical activity has taken a backseat and this is greatly affecting the overall health of people across the world. Sitting with your legs crossed does not seem to be a harmful action but a fair amount of activity sgould be incorporated into daily life to prevent health issues arising from this position.