Do you sit at your desk with your knees together or legs crossed? These ladylike habits could mean pain down the line (and leg), says Barbara Bergin, M.D., a surgeon at Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates in Austin. “There are about six different conditions (including hip bursitis, sciatic-nerve pain, tendinitis and knee malalignment) where, if I see 100 people with them, 80 to 99 will be women,” she says. These usually affect women due to physically repetitive stress. Her prescription? Manspread, or sit like a man (SLAM), which she says cured her own hip bursitis. Here’s how:
Do a modified manspread. Knees should be pointed to 11:00 and 1:00. “It should feel natural to let your legs drift out into that position,” she says.
Fix your feet. Position them under or within the spread of your knees and not pointed too far outward.
Sit tall. SLAM benefits also go beyond skeletal alignment. “I tell women to sit like a man in every way, even in a boardroom,” Dr. Bergin says. “Women tend to make themselves look smaller, to curl our legs up and bring our arms in. We should incorporate the SLAM mindset into our behavior too. When we walk into a room, we should have a presence, not diminish it.”