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Should we NOT cross our legs when sitting or sleeping?

by (1720)
Updated about 13 hours ago
Created January 28, 2012 at 3:28 PM

I've heard it's bad on the veins? Is this true?

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · January 29, 2012 at 6:32 AM

Yeah, I'll do that for sure Richard. Heaven forbid Aravind not be properly entertained. You tube videos seem to suffice most days but I wouldn't want the poor boy to suffer so I'll get right on this. (Did you forget about the perimenopause discussion we had earlier?)

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10044 · January 29, 2012 at 6:05 AM

Maybe you can make a video of yourself crossing your legs ala Sharon Stone for Aravind's entertainment.

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3125 · January 29, 2012 at 4:39 AM

up get an up point because you have earned it.

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157
10044 · January 28, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Do what makes you happy! A happy Shari is a happier world.

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13692 · January 28, 2012 at 10:01 PM

Yes you are Sharon. There can be more than one honey. Must be something about chicks named Sharon

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13692 · January 28, 2012 at 10:01 PM

You can't keep your legs closed WHORE!

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157
10044 · January 28, 2012 at 9:50 PM

ShaBam!!!!!!!!!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · January 28, 2012 at 9:43 PM

I'm sorry? And I'm the whore???

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157
10044 · January 28, 2012 at 9:40 PM

Laptop on thighs are bad, mkay. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1317532/Laptop-heat-toast-skin-thighs.html

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1061 · January 28, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Thanks for the response! It's more comfortable than any other way I've sat, but I do get a bit sore if I do it for very long. But I feel that has more to with the fact that I should not be sitting for as long as I do (in school they don't generally allow you to stand for the hell of it). I've never had varicosis, but I'd sure like to prevent it, haha. Thanks again!

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157
10044 · January 28, 2012 at 8:19 PM

I'm sensing an easy bronze medal for GW here.

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1026 · January 28, 2012 at 7:07 PM

Same for me. Hate that feeling.

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3207 · January 28, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Well, the 'pretzel' position would generate less pressure, but you would still put pressure on your ankle area. Personally, my feet get very numb from sitting like that, and my ankles and hips get sore. I'd say avoid any pressure if you're prone to varicose (and go for the lotus - soles of feet touching, rather than legs crossing over), but otherwise, follow your senses - if it's comfortable, its fine. If you're getting numb or achy, there's a problem. :-)

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1061 · January 28, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Milla, you seem to know a lot about this so I'm going to ask you: what about lotus/half-lotus (or "pretzel") positions? Do they do any harm? I'm kind of short and so when sitting "properly" in chairs, my legs dangle. I, without thinking, almost always sit in a lotus or half-lotus position in chairs. It seems more natural to me (I mean, it's how we naturally sit on the ground, right?) than sitting the "normal" way but it's still leg-crossing so I'm curious.

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37187 · January 28, 2012 at 5:10 PM

My worst is to have my laptop sitting on my thighs--definitely does bad things to my circulation.

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1026 · January 28, 2012 at 5:04 PM

I wanna know too! Everytime I cross my legs now I feel tingling in my feet.

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8 Answers

best answer

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d
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3207 · January 28, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Well, sitting in a chair anyhow forces the body into an unnatural position; crossing your legs means you're also placing pressure on the blood vessels and veins, and constricting circulation. Poor circulation can lead to a weakening of the vein wall, which is what ultimately leads to varicose veins.

However, its not the only cause, for sure: other factors are genetic predisposition and pregnancy. So if you've been pregnant, or if you have varicose sufferers in your family, its wise to avoid anything that constricts circulation, and is even good to put your legs up for a few minutes a day and allow gravity to reactivate circulation and prevent stagnation.

The pressure isn't only on the veins - its also on the joints, and, of course the knee. Sometimes when you sit in this position for a long time, you tend to shift your grounded leg outwards, which means your knee is basically taking most of the weight of the leg you've crossed over.

As for posture, because crossing your legs forces you to shift your weight more to one side, its a harder posture to maintain without leaning or slouching, which can lead especially to lower back pain and tension. So sitting for prolonged periods of time with your legs crossed can lead to bad posture and back issues.

Same applies to sleeping, though the extent of pressure depends on how you cross your legs. So try not to make it a habit - occasional leg crossing would probably not be disastrous to someone with no such health issues, but since you do have knee and back pain, you should definitely follow your chiropractor's advice and not cross your legs! Uncross them everytime you catch yourself doing it, and in a while the habit will go away.

Lots of Paleo love :-)

Milla

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1061 · January 28, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Thanks for the response! It's more comfortable than any other way I've sat, but I do get a bit sore if I do it for very long. But I feel that has more to with the fact that I should not be sitting for as long as I do (in school they don't generally allow you to stand for the hell of it). I've never had varicosis, but I'd sure like to prevent it, haha. Thanks again!

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d
3207 · January 28, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Well, the 'pretzel' position would generate less pressure, but you would still put pressure on your ankle area. Personally, my feet get very numb from sitting like that, and my ankles and hips get sore. I'd say avoid any pressure if you're prone to varicose (and go for the lotus - soles of feet touching, rather than legs crossing over), but otherwise, follow your senses - if it's comfortable, its fine. If you're getting numb or achy, there's a problem. :-)

D8f58eba263277ec6119293137b85b02
1061 · January 28, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Milla, you seem to know a lot about this so I'm going to ask you: what about lotus/half-lotus (or "pretzel") positions? Do they do any harm? I'm kind of short and so when sitting "properly" in chairs, my legs dangle. I, without thinking, almost always sit in a lotus or half-lotus position in chairs. It seems more natural to me (I mean, it's how we naturally sit on the ground, right?) than sitting the "normal" way but it's still leg-crossing so I'm curious.

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13692 · January 28, 2012 at 5:44 PM

It depends upon the C-word...CONTEXT is everything!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NP7R6sFnFo

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157
10044 · January 28, 2012 at 9:50 PM

ShaBam!!!!!!!!!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7
13692 · January 28, 2012 at 10:01 PM

Yes you are Sharon. There can be more than one honey. Must be something about chicks named Sharon

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · January 28, 2012 at 9:43 PM

I'm sorry? And I'm the whore???

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157
10044 · January 28, 2012 at 8:19 PM

I'm sensing an easy bronze medal for GW here.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
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24271 · January 28, 2012 at 9:47 PM

For the better part of twenty years I never crossed by legs because I could not cross my legs. They were too fat to be crossed. So yes, right or wrong or good or bad or paleo or not, I cross my legs every damn chance I get and it makes me happier than words can express.

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3125 · January 29, 2012 at 4:39 AM

up get an up point because you have earned it.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7
13692 · January 28, 2012 at 10:01 PM

You can't keep your legs closed WHORE!

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · January 29, 2012 at 6:32 AM

Yeah, I'll do that for sure Richard. Heaven forbid Aravind not be properly entertained. You tube videos seem to suffice most days but I wouldn't want the poor boy to suffer so I'll get right on this. (Did you forget about the perimenopause discussion we had earlier?)

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157
10044 · January 29, 2012 at 6:05 AM

Maybe you can make a video of yourself crossing your legs ala Sharon Stone for Aravind's entertainment.

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157
10044 · January 28, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Do what makes you happy! A happy Shari is a happier world.

737471a5bc1c8b81d968c3f3fcd13b71
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379 · January 28, 2012 at 5:28 PM

I'm not sure about circulation, but it can--and will-- definitely mess up spine alignment and posture. Anecdotal evidence that I believe I've heard corroborated: I have far less back pain now when I keep my legs uncrossed, and this is independent of other posture changes. My chiropractor made a big point of telling me it's best to keep my legs uncrossed, because the spinal alignment problems, however minor, contribute to my chronic knee pain.

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799 · January 29, 2012 at 5:56 PM

I just got home from having my L4/L5 disc surgically repaired this past Wednesday (after years of conservative therapy - only option left since I could hardly walk). My PT and one of my doctors said I should never cross my legs while sitting again as it can put undo pressure on spinal nerve(s). If you're feeling numbness in your legs, feet, or pain in the back of your hamstring or knee while sitting with legs crossed (on floor or in chair), it's due to your nerve being compressed. I suffered from severe sciatica for years, and it is NOT fun. So I would suggest NOT sitting that way if it bugs you.

Here's the real bitch with bad posture - bad posture will lead to more back/sciatic pain which leads to even worse posture which leads to even worse back/sciatic pain, and on and on. My back essentially collapsed on me due to a bulging and fairly degenerative disc last week after being stuck in this circular cycle of of an unhealthy back.

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1946 · January 28, 2012 at 6:42 PM

If I cross my legs, my right foot goes completely numb. So I would say it does effect circulation.

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1026 · January 28, 2012 at 7:07 PM

Same for me. Hate that feeling.

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193 · January 29, 2012 at 7:56 AM

Crossing for short periods of time (i.e., less than 3 minutes) is okay as long as you don't experience numbness or pain and support the knee when applicable. Allowing your body to get to its end range and working through that is important to actually improve circulation. I think there's a difference between 'active' crossing and 'lazy' crossing. Active would be intentionally stretching and supporting, while lazy would be letting the weight of your leg/knee just hang. So, yes, avoid pain and danger zones, but there's no reason you shouldn't be able to move your body around in natural movements.

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3125 · January 29, 2012 at 4:37 AM

im pretty sure if crossing ones legs lead to spider veins then sitting on ones ass would do the same and my ass is spider vein free. therefore i must conclude the risk factor for spider veins must have a different cause. my ankles have plenty of spider veins. i think it is due to a weakness in the blood vessel.

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