Sitting Cross Legged- Is It So Bad?

Pilates, Posture, Blog, / By Koh Peh Chia

No matter if you are working in an office or home, most of us spend most of the time sitting. The classic cross-legged sitting becomes the top picked sitting position as it is comfortable and effortless. However, have you noticed that you often feel numb on your leg and sore on your hip and back while sitting crossed leg for a period of time? If YES, you should read this article. We will tell you why the cross-legged sitting is so bad for you.

What Does Crossed Leg Sitting Do For Us?

Bad Posture

People who sit cross-legged for long hours have poor spinal posture for most of the day. While we sit cross-legged on chairs, it makes us impossible to sit perfectly straight– slouched posture and misaligned pelvis.

A slouched posture will usually result in rounded shoulders which then impacts your range of movement in the shoulders, upper body and neck.  This can cause decreased functional movement which impacts everyday tasks.

Cross-legged sitting makes our body so used to this lopsided position and the pelvis slowly rotates and becomes tilted. Over time, this tilted pelvis may result in muscle imbalance over our back, hips and buttocks. Furthermore, if it becomes our habitual sitting pattern, it may cause chronic low back pain or discomfort, even more severe misalignment of spine.

In other words, poor pelvis posture can cause your muscles to work overtime to compensate for the overall posture changes, resulting in more pain and stiffness.

Pinched Nerve

Yes. Sitting in a cross legged position for several hours can affect your peroneal nerve. If you ever get numb or tingling down your lower leg and foot, it may be because you are compressing on your peroneal nerve while you are sitting cross legged. The peroneal nerve runs superficially to the head of fibula and is often pressed against the other leg when cross legged.

Though it can sometimes lead to numbness or weakness in the foot–nerve palsy or a foot drop, it is neither dangerous nor a sign of chronic paralysis. In general, the symptom will disappear in a few seconds to minutes as soon as we keep changing our posture.

What Should I Do If I Need to Sit For Long Period?

We are not going to teach you what a good sitting posture is, but if you are interested in this you may refer to our previous blog.

Instead, we want you to know that  changing your sitting posture from time to time is the only way to get rid of the physical issues. Sitting cross-legged may be harmful only if you keep it for a longer time. Thus, we don’t ban this sitting pattern to our patients as long as they can keep themselves mobile from time to time.

If you have to sit for longer hours due to your nature of work, it is advisable to change your position every 30 minutes or you can try to do some exercises below everyday.

Hip Flexor Stretch

  • Kneel on your right leg and bend your left leg in front of you at a 90 degree angle.
  • Shift your weight forward until you feel a stretch in your hip.
  • Switch legs and repeat the stretch.


  1. Lie on your back with your hands by sides, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor under your knees.
  2. Tighten your abdominal and buttock muscles by pushing your lower back into the ground before you push up.
  3. Raise your hips to create a straight line from your knees to shoulders.
  4. Squeeze your core and pull your belly button in toward your spine.
  5. Hold for 10 seconds then return to your starting position.
  6. Complete 10 reps.

We hope this article is helpful for you.  If you have any doubt feel free to contact us for telephysio. Also, check out our instagram page for more useful tips and videos.