It is scary how often I see women of all shapes and sizes running or undertaking other forms of exercise either without a sports bra or with a substitute bra as an alternative.
If you are one of these women then please read on …. as I urge you to invest in a decent sports bra. They are a crucial part of your workout wardrobe.
The basic science behind the why is pretty simple. Our breasts have no supporting muscles within and so they move independently to the rest of our body. The continuous and repetitive movement brought on by exercise means they bounce up and down, in and out and side to side - and this can result in soreness, pain and long term sagging.
The breast is made up of mostly fatty tissue surrounded by skin as well as ligaments called ‘Cooper’s Ligaments’. Once the Cooper’s ligaments stretch out they do not bounce back and this is what causes the dreaded sag.
It is also completely untrue that this only happens to larger breasts, whatever your size, you still experience the bounce during physical activity and therefore are at risk of sagging if you are not wearing a proper sports bra. In fact clever scientists in the UK have claimed that women with A cups can reduce breast movement by up to 53% by wearing a sports bra - not a whole lot less than the reduction of 55% in a woman with a G cup!
Finding the perfect sports bra is not always easy, but we have a few tips to help.
Firstly you need to know the different types of bras.
Compression Bras: These are bras that basically do as their name describe, they compress the breasts against the chest to reduce the movement whilst exercising. They do not have individual cups to separate the breasts. These bras tend to assist with the ‘in and out’ movement and can also help stabilize the up and down movement.
They tend to be more suited to women with smaller cup sizes as well as all women for low and medium impact activities such as walking, Pilates and Yoga.
Encapsulation Bras: Whilst these sound rather scary, these bras basically have individual cups like regular bras (please note this is their only similarity to a normal bra, the design of them generally gives you much greater support than an everyday bra does). These bras support a greater range of breast movement including the side to side. They are suitable for all cup sizes and can be used in low, medium and high impact activities depending on their design.
Compression and Encapsulation: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that these bras are the combination of both of the above. So not only do they separate and support each breast individually, they also flatten the breast against the chest to reduce breast movement in all directions. These are suitable for all cup sizes and without question a go-to for women with larger breasts.
Happily the above now come in breathable and fancy moisture-wicking fabric, meaning that moisture is moved away from the skin so you stay drier and more comfortable during your workout.
So next up - determine what activities you will be undertaking.
Low Impact: Low impact activities cover walking, hiking, road cycling as well as Pilates and Yoga. In essence they are activities that do not involve excessive force on lower body joints. Generally a compression bra is suited to these activities
High Impact : This includes running, some aerobics classes as well as the infamous HIIT workouts. Activities that impact on the joints … and have therefore more impact on the breasts! For this kind of exercise it is recommended to look at encapsulated bras or combination of encapsulated and compression.
So now you have figured out which type of bra you need for your favourite exercise. The next step is to find one that fits well and is comfortable … as let’s face it, exercise is hard enough without having an uncomfortable bra to contend with as well!
Lastly once you find your perfect sports bra you need to care for it, and know when to replace it as they do not last forever.
Unfortunately Sports Bras tend to have a much shorter life span than an everyday bra. This makes sense really, as they do tend to take more of a beating than our everyday numbers. Rather than measuring this life span in months and years it is much better to look at the number of wears.
An average sports bra lasts approximately 72 wears, so depending on how active you are you should look to possibly replace as often as every 6 months, up to a year.
I am hoping this helps guide you in finding a sports bra that matches your needs, and of course, we are always here to help if you have any questions or concerns. Please feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org