Is it bad to cross your legs while sitting?

By July 24, 2020

If you are sitting all day long, you’ve probably crossed your legs for comfort. There are so many reports telling that sitting for a long time can cause a lot of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. But how about crossing your legs while sitting? Is it doing more harm than good?

Varicose Veins

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You must be very familiar with the opinion: sitting with your legs crossed can lead to varicose veins. Actually, varicose veins are mostly related to old age or family history that leaves you susceptible to varicose veins. Pathologically, they appear when the little valves in the veins of your leg get weak or damaged, which makes it hard to completely boost the blood to your feet or ankles. As a result, blood will flow backward and the veins have to swell up in order to accommodate the extra blood.

Pain in Bones, Joints and Nerves

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When you cross your legs, you are actually putting pressure on your bones and joints. In order to keep balanced, your pelvic bone will rotate itself and your hip will automatically get uneven. As the pelvic bone is the base of your body, any unstable posture will have extra pressure on your neck, lumbar, and thoracic vertebra. Plus, crossing your legs will have a side effect on the peroneal nerve, which is a part of your sciatic nerve. Thus overlapping legs for long-time will make you feel stiff and even lead to walking problems.

Poor posture

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While sitting with your legs over your knees will not lead to poor posture at first, you will notice it in the long term. You are in an unnatural position when you cross your legs, your body is twisted, and your pelvis rotates and tilt; if doing it frequently, you are likely to be diagnosed with scoliosis and spinal deformities. What’s worse, you may even have a limp on the affected side.

Bad for Circulation (and thus blood clot)

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The blood circulation is normal when your body is stretched. But when you sit, especially when you are putting your legs over knees, your body has to overcome the effect of gravity and keep blood circulating as usual. That way, your blood circulation gets slower. And according to some studies, that may also cause blood clots and raise blood pressure. So for the sake of your health, sit with your legs uncrossed, feet flat on the floor and back straight. If you find yourself too hard to give up crossing legs, try switch legs now and then.


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