Do you sit with your legs crossed? Chances are that you have at least once. One study found that two-thirds of people cross their right leg over their left knee rather than the other way around. The crucial question is: Is sitting with your legs crossed bad for you? Let’s investigate.
It has been rumoured that crossing your legs cuts off circulation and there is some truth to that. However, crossing your legs at the knee or ankle isn’t as bad as you may think. Multiple studies have examined crossing legs and its links to various health conditions, such as varicose veins, elevated blood pressure and joint pain. Crossing your legs can only have a bad effect on your health if you’ve been sitting in the same position for many hours, which may cause peroneal nerve palsy. Not to worry though because this condition rarely occurs. Humans are creatures of habit, so sitting in one position for so long usually isn’t comfortable, which means that we’re always moving around.
If you’ve ever had your blood pressure measured at the doctor’s office, you’ve probably been reminded to uncross your legs–I get this reminder all of the time. Doctors ask you to do this because crossing your legs may mess up the reading they get for your blood pressure. Studies have shown that crossing your legs does temporarily elevate your blood pressure (by pushing blood up to your heart), so your doctor knows what they’re talking about! However, this usually only occurs in extreme measures, if you already have high blood pressure as a pre-existing condition.
Varicose veins are claimed to be another health effect of crossing your legs. Varicose veins are a condition that occurs when blood begins to fill inside stretched and weakened veins, which results in them becoming enlarged. Sounds like a scary condition! But again, not to worry because this effect has also been proven to be rarely caused by just crossing your legs.
There have also been multiple studies that have suggested that your joints will be affected by crossing your legs. This is false. Studies have said that sitting for more than three hours with your legs crossed causes your spine to become more arched and your shoulders to hunch forward. This, however, has been proven a myth. Crossing your legs is not a contributor to bad posture! Sitting up straight is the ultimate cure.
Myth or fact: Is crossing your legs bad for you? As the saying goes, too much of one thing can be bad for you. So, this is a myth. Crossing your legs is only bad for you if you sit in the same position for over three hours straight, which most people don’t do. Crossing your legs at your ankles has shown to have no effect on your health at all. So if you like to sit with your legs crossed, continue to do so. Well, in moderation of course.