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INSPIRE ME?

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!

  • Like a normal bra it is important that it fits well in the band and on the cups
  • The bra should feel a bit tighter than a regular bra but not so tight that you can’t breathe in and out easily
  • When your bra is on, put your hands up above your head, if the band moved then try a smaller band or adjusting the straps
  • Your breasts should be covered by the cups, no bulging at the top or the underarm
  • The straps should be tight but not digging into your shoulders
  • If it is an underwired bra, check the wire is flat to your rib cage and not on your breasts
  • Lastly, test it! Jump up and down or jog on the spot - if it feels supportive then you, my girl, are good to go!

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.

  • Try to hand wash these bras and let them hang dry versus putting them through the machine
  • If you do have to machine wash, avoid fabric softeners as these kill moisture wicking fabrics
  • Stay away from the tumble drier
  • Again depending on how active you are, I would recommend owning more than one sports bra, you don’t need a drawer full of them but have at least two

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 info@chooseme.co.za

 

Some recommendations

Under Armour Mid Keyhole Bra

  • Compression bra suitable for medium impact
  • Heat Gear fabric delivers next to skin feel
  • Material wicks sweat

 

Freya Sonic Underwire Moulded Sports Bra

  • Suitable for high impact and cup sizes from a D upwards
  • Encapsulation style bra
  • Breathable spacer fabric

 

Shock Absorber: X Treme Workout - The Run Bra

  • Suitable for high impact and is a combination of compression and encapsulation
  • Moisture wicking breathable fabric
  • Infinity 8 support system counteracts the breasts figure of eight movement