What is your favorite position, when you sit in the bus, have a dinner or work in the office? Do you really sit with straight back and legs, stood on the floor one near another? Or maybe you're one of us who cross one leg over another, feeling more comfortable in this sitting posture?
Many of us don't even notice that they place one leg over another, until the foot becomes numb over time.
In the past scientists believed that this pose can be really harmful for your health. They said that crossing legs while sitting may contribute to high blood pressure, varicose veins and even complications during pregnancy.
Nowadays recent studies have dispelled these myths.
It was found that when you sit, crossing legs in the knees, your blood pressure increases by 6.7 mmHg, if you have hypertension. In those, who live with normal blood pressure, systolic blood pressure (the first number) becomes elevated by nearly 2-3 mmHg.
Crossing the ankles doesn't cause any changes in your blood pressure.
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However these spikes are temporary and can't really lead to serious changes in your blood pressure levels and heart functioning.
The same history is about varicose veins. Even though, it was believed for a long time that crossing the legs may impair blood circulation and make your veins bulging, twisted and dark-blue or purple, there is no evidence to prove this information.
In reality, varicose veins develop when valves inside them, which normally provide blood flowing only in one direction (up to the heart), become too weak to perform their function properly. As a result, gravity makes blood move back down. Accumulation of blood causes enlargement and bulging of the veins, called venous insufficiency.
Sitting for a long time, carrying extra pounds and being pregnant may significantly increase your risks for varicose veins. But crossing legs can't overstretch your veins and damage valves in reality.
What about pregnancy? Despite widely spread thoughts, sitting with your legs crossed won't injure your baby. But it can aggravate leg cramps and swelling, which are so common in pregnant women.
The only real side effect of one-leg-crossing sitting position is developing poor posture. The reason is that when you keep your knee crossed over another leg, your pelvis can be rotated and lopsided. In this case, your muscles work harder to compensate poor posture that may lead to aching and stiffness.
In addition to this, your spine may become misaligned over time. You may also suffer from pain in the lower back area.
Although crossing legs doesn't cause any serious health issues, it's worth avoiding sitting for a long time in one position, no difference whether your legs are crossed or not.
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The BetterMe Team wants you and those close to you to live a healthy, happy life! Your health is a valuable thing; look after your body and your mind so that you can live your life to the fullest – Remember you only get one!
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