With the help of WeChat and Weibo, such a message about crossing your legs has been widely forwarded.
Is it so harmful to simply put one leg on the other and feel comfortable?
Why do people cross their legs?
This is a question that is difficult to answer completely with scientific knowledge.
People are animals that like tossing and turning. They need to constantly change their body posture to maintain muscle tension and adjust the relative position of their bodies to maintain a comfortable state. Crossing arms, holding cheeks in lower jaws and crossing legs all belong to this kind of movements.
However, why not call it “cross your legs”?
One explanation in the cultural circle is that Erlang God sits in this posture in many temples dedicated to Erlang God in Sichuan Province. Therefore, the movement of putting one leg on the other is called “crossing your legs”.
Interestingly, there are always some people in life who find it difficult to cross their legs comfortably and beautifully.
- For example, many friends with thick and short lower limbs, It is very difficult to do this posture well. From an anatomical point of view, crossing the legs requires the adductor muscle group of the thigh to maintain, and the obturator nerve is in charge of its contraction. Therefore, if the obturator nerve is damaged, it is impossible to cross the legs freely. In addition, abnormal gluteal muscle contracture can also cause the phenomenon that crossing the legs cannot be caused.
Does crossing your legs affect reproductive health?
When crossing your legs, the legs placed on them will be very relaxed and comfortable because there is no need to bear heavy loads.
There is no doubt that the pressure on the weight-bearing leg below will definitely increase. Physiologically speaking, this will make the knee joint and the nearby nerves and blood vessels suffer some compression. In addition, due to the cross position of the legs, the heat dissipation from the thighs and perineum will also decrease.
For men, cross-legging may cause a brief increase in perineal temperature and even discomfort. This is mainly caused by an increase in local pressure, which affects the blood flow in the area. Therefore, long-term tight-clamping cross-legging is not recommended, which is indeed too invasive for men.
However, there is no clear research result as to whether the above effects will affect male reproductive function.
For women, crossing your legs usually does not cause perineal discomfort, and there is no clear research suggesting that crossing your legs will increase the risk of gynecological diseases. In other words, gynecological diseases are numerous and the influencing factors are complex, and we cannot simply attribute them to crossing your legs.
Can crossing your legs lead to hypertension?
Hypertension and elevated blood pressure are two different things.
Accurately speaking, some studies have shown that crossing your legs does cause a transient increase in blood pressure. This is especially strong for people who already have hypertension. However, a one-off increase in blood pressure cannot be diagnosed as hypertension.
Why does crossing your legs cause blood pressure to rise?
Because this action affects venous blood flow from feet and legs to the heart, the heart can only overcome the problem of blood flow reduction by raising blood pressure. When hypertension patients cross their legs, systolic blood pressure will increase by 6.7 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure will increase by 2.3 mmHg.
Fortunately, when you don’t cross your legs, the effect of increasing blood pressure disappears.
When medical staff take blood pressure for patients, they usually need them to sit upright and land their feet on the ground, which is the reason.
Can crossing your legs aggravate varicose veins of lower limbs?
This is true.
For people who already have varicose veins of lower limbs, crossing their legs will make some veins more strongly compressed locally, resulting in poor venous blood return, further aggravating the symptoms of varicose veins, thus causing numbness, swelling and even pain in the lower legs.
Therefore, if you want to cross your legs, the time should not be too long, for example, you should change your legs after 3 to 5 minutes.
However, for those who have varicose veins or edema in their lower limbs, it is better not to lift them.
Sitting for a long time requires vigilance.
As a living habit, crossing your legs is not very harmful.
Even if it will cause certain health damage, it is mostly based on the original disease and is a long-term and chronic process. What’s more, compared with poor office study sitting posture and long-term sedentary, crossing your legs is not a body posture with many disadvantages.
Three years ago, a study in the British Lancet Medical Journal said that 30% of adults in the world do not exercise, mainly manifested by bad habits such as sitting for a long time and watching TV. These bad habits will cause harm to personal health and, most importantly, increase the risk of death.
In other words, we should pay more attention to whether we are a [sofa potato] than to the small hobby of crossing our legs too much.
How crossed his legs healthily?
To sum up, if you want to cross your legs healthily, just pay attention to the number and time of crossing your legs. Specifically:
- Generally, the time to cross your legs should be shorter than 10 ~ 15 minutes each time. If there are varicose veins of lower limbs, disc herniation, hypertension and other diseases, it is still appropriate not to cross. The most important thing is that no matter how you sit, you cannot let your body stay in a fixed posture for a long time.
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Responsible Editor: Ji Lingyan