If you find yourself rubbing a knee or hip it may not be that you pushed a bit too hard during your last workout or that another birthday is approaching, According to orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Barbara Bergin, it could be the “lady-like” way that you’re sitting.
You likely learned from your mother to sit with your knees and legs together or with your ankles and legs crossed. This isn’t a normal way to sit but rather learned behavior that reportedly appeared as skirt lengths started rising above the ankle and kept going. Not simply an act of modesty, leg-crossing is also a necessity when wearing that special short skirt.
Dr. Bergin experienced her own knee cap discomfort in her early 30s and changed her exercise routine to reduce swelling and strengthen the supporting muscles. Later she counseled other women on healthy body mechanics as she increased her awareness of how men and women move differently, including sitting and standing. Slowly her observations and suggestions to resolve women’s aches and pains evolved into Dr. Bergin’s Sit Like a Man (S.L.A.M.) initiative.
The basics of S.L.A.M. are to imagine that you are surrounded by a clock with 12 directly in front of you and 6 directly behind you. When possible, sit with your left knee so it points at 11 on the clock and your right knee so it points at 1 – and use this orientation when you stand up. Note that this separation of your knees isn’t the same as manspreading where your knees are taking up so much space that no one can sit next to you.
Dr. Bergin’s advice is to S.L.A.M. “when you have pants on, when your legs are under a table or behind a desk, when you’re at home with those who do not care, or might prefer it. I believe you can S.L.A.M. 90% of the time.”