Is Crossing Your Legs Bad For Your Posture?

Let us paint you a picture. You're sitting in the chair at the hair salon with that large black cape draped over your front as if you've just escaped the Hogwarts infirmary. Your hairstylist approaches with the scissors and, before she starts cutting, she kindly asks you to uncross your legs, reminding you that it can make for a disproportionate haircut (per BuzzFeed). Perhaps you hadn't even realized you'd crossed them in the first place. But then the thought crosses your mind — If sitting with your legs crossed can have an influence over something as trivial as the way your hair falls, how else is it affecting your body?

Many of us are most comfortable crossing our legs when we sit. However, just because something's enjoyable doesn't necessarily mean it's good for us. A growing body of evidence suggests that sitting with your legs crossed can cause both temporary and lasting health ramifications, and one thing that tends to suffer most is our posture (via Healthline). Let's take a closer look at how crossing your legs can lead to poor posture and other ailments.

How crossing your legs affects your posture

When we sit with our legs crossed, the nature of the position lends to slouching, notes Women's Health. The experts at Healthline explain that when we sit for long periods of time with our leg over the knee, our pelvis tends to rotate and tilt. In the short term, this can cause pain in your lower back, but over time, it could actually cause misalignment of the spine.

In support of this, a 2014 study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that participants who had a habit of crossing their legs for at least three hours a day had significantly inclined pelvis', meaning one hip was placed higher than the other. The researchers determined that the leg that rests on top often suffers weakness in the gluteus medius. The same study found that participants in that group also had one shoulder that sat higher than the other and their necks were pushed more forward.

If you're accustomed to sitting with your legs crossed because you've always been told it's the proper thing to do, fixing your posture can be a good enough reason to put an end to that habit.