To Manspread or not to Manspread. Is sitting cross-legged bad for you?
"Manspreading" is the neologism that describes a man who takes up too much space, typically on a public train. Some have used this term to also describe a "microaggression" against the fairer sex and a means by which men assert "patriarchal dominance." Also worth noting, the Metropolitan Transport Authorities spent $76,000 dollars of tax payer money on an anti-manspreading campaign in New York, in hopes that people would use proper subway etiquette by sitting with their legs closed together.
Here is my opinion on manspreading from a muscle and health perspective:
To begin, there is actually debate over whether or not sitting cross-legged is bad for your health.
Here are some reasons sitting cross-legged may be BAD for you:
Peroneal Nerve Palsy
Cramps and Numbness In Your Legs
Bad Spinal Column
Elevated Blood Pressure
Increased Leg Fatigue
Some studies have shown that sitting cross-legged may lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure, since the crossed leg pushes more blood up to the heart. This doesn't necessarily mean that it will harm your health though, explains other studies.
From my perspective, if you have a history or are at risk of blood clots, I would suggest not sitting with your legs crossed.
Regardless of deep vein thrombosis, spider veins, and other complications, it is my opinion that sitting for too long in any position is not ideal for anyone's health. Noticing and being aware of your posture and recognizing if you are in a sedentary position constantly is the best way to avoid muscle, joint, and other problems from developing.
If you feel it is necessary to Manspread because that is what is most comfortable to you, then you should be able to enjoy that position without risk of getting fined. For men's anatomical make up especially, they typically require to have more space between their legs for obvious reasons.
Manspreading isn't just for subways or trains. A lot of us are required to sit at a desk or in a car for long hours at a time for work and other reasons. By taking breaks every 30 minutes or so from any sitting position can help to reduce body pains and aches.
There are lots of unique chairs and exercises that can help prevent unwanted pain from prolonged sitting.
The Gokhale Method is a great resource for finding your correct sitting and standing postures.
You can also try stretches or chair yoga exercises!
Here is a short and sweet video I made for you to see some examples of chair stretches. These can be done daily and throughout your day.
In this video, you will see:
1. Seated Cat and Cow. With an inhale, open up the chest, squeeze your shoulders back, lift through your diaphragm. With an exhale, sink your belly button to the back of your chair, rounding the mid back, rounding the shoulders forward, tilting the pelvis, letting your head gently stretch downward.
2. Lower back stretch. Sink to the floor letting your head lead the way, stretching the lumbar region. Inhale upward, opening chest up to the ceiling.
3. Seated Pigeon. Try both sides, hold for longer/shorter, multiple times as needed, breathing into that hip/buttocks. This stretch is great for the piriformis muscle!
4. Side stretches, opening up to the ceiling through the arm pit.
Don't hesitate to add gentle neck rolls and head nods side to side too.
In conclusion: move your body throughout the day and avoid sedentary positions for long periods of time to reduce body pains and potential problems. I personally love Lady Spreading, as long as I am wearing pants!
Daily Goal: Do this routine 3 minutes, 3 times a day