You sit during a lecture or at the theatre in a pose that is polite and that is also natural to you. That is by sitting with your legs crossed. You were taught in grade school that sitting with your legs crossed is the polite and correct way to sit. Therefore, you will carry that belief with you throughout adulthood. That is also because you had gotten into the habit of sitting that way during your childhood. And old habits die hard.
That is also why you continue to sit with your legs crossed. You do that as well when you are at a guest’s home as that is the polite thing to do. However, even though this sitting position is widely accepted by society, is sitting with your legs crossed really a good idea from a health standpoint? The answer to that is no! In fact, sitting in this position is potentially dangerous.
Why Is Sitting With Your Legs Crossed Potentially Dangerous?
If you are sitting with one knee over the other for long periods of time, you can go numb in your leg and foot due to putting too much pressure on your nerves. However, that is a temporary consequence and not a serious one either. However, the other serious effect of sitting with your legs crossed is that it can raise your blood pressure. And if you do this all of the time, you could end up developing hypertension and that can cause cardiovascular diseases. You can also increase the chances of developing varicose veins, and even in the worst-case scenario, clots.
When you put one leg over the other, you are putting that leg up the chest. That increases the quantity of blood being pumped which increases the stress to the heart, and that is why the blood pressure raises. If you have low enough blood pressure where it is healthy, and you cross your legs seldomly such as wanting to do the polite thing if you are invited to a guest’s house, then that is fine – as long as you keep it at a minimum and that you do not have the high blood pressure, to begin with.
If you have hypertension or you are at risk for developing blood clots, you will not want to do that. You are hindering the blood flow which can increase your chances of ending up with deep vein thrombosis. That is a serious condition that will require significant medical intervention. Even if you don’t have hypertension and not prone to clots, once again, you want to cross your legs to a minimum. That is because you can also develop varicose veins.
That is because the small valves in the blood vessels which keep blood moving in the wrong direction weaken and stretches. Therefore, it allows the blood to pool and causes the veins to become enlarged. Therefore, that is how varicose veins develop. That is just another risk you run by sitting with your legs crossed.
Another risk of sitting with your legs crossed is that you will develop poor posture which can cause problems with your spine to develop. If you sit with your legs crossed for long periods of time each day, you will end up learning forward as well as rounding your shoulders which put a lot of pressure on your spine. Since you know of these risks that happen when you are sitting with your legs crossed, especially if you do it often, you are now wondering what is the best way to sit in a polite way that will not jeopardize your health?
How Can You Sit In A Polite Way And Maintain Your Health?
The best thing to do is to sit with your legs not crossed with your knees bent side by side with one another. And you also want to make sure that you move around and get up every hour to stretch to help keep your blood flow going. If you sit also with your ankles crossed, that is also fine to do. That will not have any effect on your blood pressure or posture.
Remember, if you are in good health and you sit with your legs crossed seldom for short periods of time, that will not hurt you. Yes, your blood pressure will rise temporarily. But just do not make it a habit and you will be fine.