How do you sit on a chair or a sofa at your home or at places that you have visited? This question might look to be strange to you, but do you know the way you sit on a chair or a sofa has an effect on your body? Many of us have made it a habit of sitting on the chair cross-legged, a very bad posture which has multiple side effects and can be very dangerous in the long run. Though you have developed this habit unconsciously, you can consciously get rid of it and lead a healthy life in the long run.
We human beings have lots of tiny habits most of which have a bad effect on our health. Sitting cross-legged is one such bad habit which is affecting our health in a negative way. Sitting cross-legged looks stylish, elegant, makes you feel comfortable and takes up very little space, but has dangerous consequences if you continue to sit in the same position for a very long time. As it feels comfortable and stylish, we humans tend to not go in detail whether it has any side effects or not, but researchers say one should be very careful about they sit as the posture can either help them lead a normal life or can make them face multiple health issues.
We all have experienced numbness by sitting in a same posture for a long time, though this is only temporary and has no side effects if you continue to sit in the same posture for hours and hours together there is a possibility of this leading to a condition called peroneal nerve palsy, a condition which makes it very hard for you to lift the front parts of your foot and toes. This is not the only dangerous consequence of sitting cross-legged for a long period of, there are others too:
- Nerve Damage: Though sitting cross-legged at a party or on a bus for an hour will not do any permanent damage to your nerves, but sitting in the same position for hours together at home will definitely result in nerve damage. Sitting cross-legged puts immense pressure on nerves as the posture compresses your legs. Nerves aside, this compressing of legs also puts pressure on tissues and blood vessels at the spot where they meet. This can lead to nerve pain in some areas and lack of sensation in others.
- High Blood Pressure: Studies have found out that crossing a leg over the other can lead to high blood pressure as this posture leads to heart pumping very rapidly. The compression of blood vessels leads to a slow flow of blood and this slowdown leads to a temporary rise in blood pressure.
Of course, this temporary rise in blood pressure isn’t a matter of concern for a young healthy person, but this can have serious consequences to people suffering from heart-related problems.
- Bad Posture: Though sitting cross-legged takes a small portion of space it causes a ripple effect that leads up to your neck and back. When you sit cross-legged you are sitting on a smaller and unstable buttock. To stabilize, your body overcompensates by hunching forward. As this continues over time, this habit can lead to permanent bad posture and one can feel difficulty straightening up and standing tall.
- Varicose Veins: One of the biggest problems a person can face as a side effect of sitting cross-legged is the problems of spider veins and varicose veins. Sitting cross-legged for an extended period of time puts pressure on veins making them bulge over time. This leads to blood being trapped in lower legs and creates pressure and also can lead to veins containing a pool of blood which can lead to dangerous consequences.
- Back Pain: As you hunch over as a result of sitting cross-legged and your posture gets weird day by day rather than being a straight one, it takes a toll on your back. The damages caused to nerves also have a bearing on the back which can damage your spine over time. Once your spine is damaged, it is not rocket science that your back will start aching and you will have to face permanent back pain. It doesn’t stop here; the pain that starts in the back can radiate up to the neck and also have the power to cause sciatic pain in the legs and arms.
So what should one do to get rid of this bad habit of sitting cross-legged which has such serious consequences? Well, the solution to the problem is very simple, stop crossing over legs when you sit. You might say it is easy to say but difficult to implement, so we have a solution for that too. Start maintaining a timer after which you have to sit straight without crossing legs for five minutes at a stretch. If you continue to do this over time you will be able to sit straight permanently.
You might also argue as sitting cross-legged for a short period of time will not lead to any serious consequences, we can do so. But the problem is your habits, be it good or bad compound overtime and this compounding can have an effect on you and your health. So, if you follow bad habits it will compound in the long run having serious consequences and if you follow the good ones that will compound too. Now, it’s your choice to make.