Crossing Your Legs Can Weaken Your Pelvic Floor – How To Change Your Sitting Position

It is no news that boys and girls aren't raised the same. Little girls are often told to "clean up" and "act like a lady." Every woman was at least once in her life told to "sit pretty" in some way or another. It most likely happened during childhood, but there's a chance you've heard it as an adult as well.

It is known that sitting with your legs crossed is considered ladylike. If you're a woman, regardless of what you wear, you're never expected to sit with your legs spread apart in public spaces. Such a position is oftentimes described as butch and usually leads to the woman being characterized as unfeminine.

Unfortunately, men are the ones dictating what is considered feminine without actually knowing much about women or their bodies. Times are for sure changing as women are collectively taking control over their narrative and how they wish to be perceived, but some things are so deeply ingrained in human behavior that one might not even realize how bad it is. "Sitting pretty" is one of those things. Crossing your legs can actually weaken your pelvic floor.

Sitting crossed-legged can affect your health

Crossing your legs is so normal and easy to unconsciously do that it might not seem like it could harm you, but it can. Pelvic floor therapist Heather Jeffcoat, founder of FeminaPT, says, "Sitting with your legs crossed creates a torsion, or oblique pull, in your pelvis," she shared with Well and Good.

Over time, as everything in the body is interconnected, constantly crossing your legs when you sit can affect your health. Jeffcoat explains that the pull that happens when you sit crossed-legged prevents your pelvic floor muscles from properly working as they would in a more anatomically suitable sitting position.

This can cause a variety of problems; the most common are issues with your bladder and bowel functions. Still, more serious health issues like these will not arise just because of your sitting posture. Adam Taylor, professor in anatomy at Lancaster University, explained to Daily Mail, "Many of the risk factors associated with crossing your legs are likely exacerbated by other underlying issues such as sedentary lifestyles and obesity."

How to sit better, not pretty

Sitting for too long in general may be damaging to your mental health, so make sure you're getting up from time to time and moving around a little bit. While it may be comfortable, try to avoid sitting with your legs crossed for long periods of time. Leg crossing can affect your general posture as well because you're probably slouching more often than not in that position. Bad body posture can even affect your skin, and you don't want that.

Annabelle Citroen, a pelvic health physiotherapist, advises sitting in an upright position with a chair back supporting your spine and both feet on the ground, as per Pelvic Floor First. She adds that you can use a pillow or a rolled towel to help you maintain a slight curve in your lower back. If you have trouble giving up crossing your legs when sitting, Jeffcoat says to try crossing just your ankles. "This keeps your hips in a more neutral alignment and produces less of the oblique force on the pelvis," she explained to Well and Good.

It's time to ditch leg crossing when sitting. Fulfilling someone else's idea of what a woman should look and act like is never, in any case, more important than a woman's health. Don't "sit pretty" — your pelvic floor will thank you.