Crossing your legs may be bad for your health

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Crossing your legs may be bad for your health
Image credit: Flickr (CC) / Hernán Piñera

Crossing your legs while wearing a skirt and high heels is considered by many for the ultimate pose. But, it turns out, it may actually be bad for you.

And no, this time your high heels have nothing to do with it. The problem lays entirely with the actual crossing of the legs and it is not connected with your footwear. The findings come after research in the field from South Korea, the BBC reports.

It has long been thought that sitting with crossed legs may have health consequences. The list includes raised blood pressure, varicose veins, nerve damage and so on. So the study aimed to see whether this holds ground. The good news from the beginning: If you occasionally sit and cross your legs (one knee over the other) for short periods of time, you should be good. If you spend hours on end sitting and most of that time you cross your legs, then you may be at risk.

The South Korea study shows that it is less likely to feel numbness or develop nerve damage due to sitting with crossed legs. The reason is that for this to happen, you have to spend really long time sitting and not moving and people tend to move as soon as they feel a little uncomfortable.

Sitting with crossed legs has a more pronounced impact on blood pressure. A study from 2010 shows that crossing your legs does indeed result in a higher blood pressure. Three minutes after uncrossing your legs, the blood pressure returns to its previous levels. If you suffer from high blood pressure, then the rises are even bigger, so it is a good idea to not sit with crossed legs for too long and move more. Crossing your legs at the ankles, doesn’t have this effect, so you’re good.

Another claim is that people who spend a long time sitting like that on a daily basis, risk damage to their joints. Some even say people can change their body posture and lean more and round their shoulders. A more recent study from this year points that if you sit up straight while your legs are crossed, then postural problems are overcome and reduced.

A study from the University Medical Centre in Rotterdam has an even more startling study. They found out that crossing the legs at the knee increases the elongation in the piriformis muscle by 11% compared to sitting with uncrossed legs and by 21% compared with standing. The researchers believe this increases the stability in the pelvic joints.

So what does all of this means in the end? It means that, as with everything else, if you use it with moderation, you will be fine. But if you overdo it, then you may run into some problems. So be happy and continue to look stunning crossing your legs in your heels (actually it is a great way to relax your feet in your heels by lifting them up like that for a bit first one, then the other).

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