Stop Doing This Common Habit

Most of us probably don’t realise how often we do it, but crossing our legs and even feet is a habit we all need to break. Whether you do it out of habit or as a default position when you feel relaxed and at ease, crossing your limbs is actually bad news for your health for many reasons.

If you’ve ever found that crossing your legs for long periods of time causes one of them to go numb after a while, it’s probably because crossing the legs puts pressure on the peroneal nerve behind the knee, and it’s these which supplies sensation to the lower legs and feet. If you persistently cross your leg for long periods of time there’s a chance it could lead to mild peroneal nerve damage, which can cause numbness, tingling, pain and weakness in the lower legs and foot.

Although studies aren’t completely conclusive about lasting damage to blood pressure, most experts agree that crossing your legs can raise blood pressure, albeit temporarily. That’s because it’s thought to push blood up to the heart, causing the pressure to increase. While it won’t constitute a health issue for most, anyone at increased risk of blood clots should try to avoid crossing their legs for long periods of time to avoid the likelihood of DVT.

Crossing arms, legs or feet is also bad news for your posture, as doing so invariably causes your body to contort and your pelvis to shift and rotate unnaturally. This forces your muscles to work harder to compensate which can lead to stiffness and tightness. It can also cause imbalances on one side of your body which can lead to neck and shoulder pain and can even cause misalignment of the hips.

If keeping both feet firmly on the floor is proving tricky to implement, why not set yourself reminders on your phone. Go one better and try to move around when the timer goes, rather than simply uncrossing your legs. Any extra movement you can build into your day will not only improve your physical health long-term but your mental health and cognitive function too.

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