Surprising Reasons Why Sitting Cross-Legged May Harm Your Health

Sitting cross-legged is a common position adopted by many people around the world, whether at home, in the office, or during meditation sessions. It is often perceived as a relaxed and comfortable posture. However, recent studies have shed light on potential health concerns associated with sitting cross-legged for prolonged periods. In this article, we will explore the reasons why you should reconsider sitting cross-legged and how it can impact your overall well-being.

Why sitting with crossed legs could be bad for you?

  1. Postural Misalignment:

Sitting cross-legged can lead to postural misalignment, particularly in the spine and pelvis. This position can cause an imbalance in the distribution of weight, leading to undue stress on certain areas of the body. Over time, this may result in chronic pain, discomfort, and even structural issues, such as a misaligned spine or tilted pelvis.

  1. Increased Risk of Joint Strain:

Sitting cross-legged places excessive strain on the knee and hip joints. When you sit in this position, the knee joints are forced to rotate outward, causing the ligaments and tendons surrounding the knee to stretch unnaturally. Prolonged sitting in this posture can lead to knee pain, inflammation, and increased vulnerability to knee injuries. Moreover, the hip joints may also experience strain, potentially resulting in hip discomfort and reduced mobility.

  1. Restricted Blood Circulation:

Another concern associated with sitting cross-legged is the potential restriction of blood circulation. When you sit with your legs crossed, you impede the natural flow of blood to the lower extremities. This reduced blood circulation can lead to numbness, tingling sensations, and swelling in the legs. Over time, it may contribute to the development of varicose veins or even deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a serious condition characterized by the formation of blood clots in the deep veins of the body.

  1. Impaired Digestion:

Surprisingly, sitting cross-legged can negatively impact your digestion. This posture compresses the abdominal area, potentially hindering proper digestion and leading to discomfort such as bloating and indigestion. The compressed position can also put pressure on the internal organs, including the stomach, intestines, and liver, impeding their optimal functionality. Long-term disruption of digestion can contribute to various gastrointestinal issues, such as acid reflux, constipation, and even irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

  1. Strained Muscles and Joints:

Sitting cross-legged for extended periods can strain the muscles and joints in the legs, hips, and lower back. The unnatural positioning of the legs puts excessive stress on these areas, leading to muscle imbalances, stiffness, and reduced flexibility. Over time, this can contribute to the development of musculoskeletal issues like hip and lower back pain, as well as diminished overall mobility.

Why Sitting Cross-Legged May Harm Your Health

Any Benefit of Sitting Cross-Legged?

There are a few benefits to leg crossing in certain cases. A 2016 study in the National Library of Medicine shows that those who have one leg longer than the other can use crossing their legs while seated to help their bodies’ alignments adjust.

It can also reduce the activities of oblique muscles in a healthy manner that decreases over-exertion. Other joints can also enjoy more stability from the passive practice.


While sitting cross-legged may seem like a comfortable and relaxed posture, it is important to consider the potential health risks associated with it. Postural misalignment, joint strain, restricted blood circulation, impaired digestion, and strained muscles and joints are among the concerns that can arise from adopting this position for extended periods. Instead, it is advisable to maintain a neutral and ergonomically sound sitting position, with both feet placed flat on the ground and proper support for the spine. Regular breaks, gentle stretching exercises, and maintaining an active lifestyle can also help mitigate the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Prioritizing your well-being by making conscious choices about your sitting habits will go a long way in promoting a healthier and pain-free lifestyle.

Related articles: