Sports bras – the “elephant in the room” of women’s running and fitness apparel but without doubt, one of the most important items of exercise clothing a woman can buy.
No matter what standard of runner or athlete you are, good support whilst you are running is vital for both your running comfort and for the long term health of the breast tissue. After all you would wear ill-fitting shoes, blouses, skirts, pant or swimming costumes, so why wear an ill-fitting bra.
Yet, despite this seemingly obvious fact, according to a survey by a leading sports bra manufacturer, a staggering 68 per cent of women do not wear a sports bra during exercise.
Would you be surprised that around 8 out of 10 women who do wear sports bras, are either wearing the wrong size, or the bra needs to be replaced. For the breast health of the nation, this statistic must change – and change fast.
What’s The Big Deal?
Wearing a sports bra while working out offers more than just great comfort, it also helps prevent irreversible damage that can lead to “sagging” breast tissue. Women can help minimize this damage by investing in a great fitting, quality sports bra.
The breast is comprised of connective, fatty tissue attached to the chest wall by fibrous strands called Cooper’s ligaments.
There is no internal structure for supporting the breast tissue against gravity and excessive movement beyond this band of fibrous tissue.
When the breast is unsupported during activity, the weight of the tissue, coupled with the breast movement, causes the ligament to stretch. This can cause both discomfort and permanent damage to the breast tissue.
It’s important to note that all breasts, no matter what size, are susceptible to damage of this ligament. The best prevention is to minimize excessive movement by providing support for the breast tissue with a properly fitted sports bra.
All good, well properly fitted sports bras are designed to significantly reduce breast movement during physical exercise, and help to protect breasts from both breast pain and stretched ligaments.
So, ladies, for the long-term health of your breasts, it’s a really good idea to invest in a high-quality sports bra; they might not be the cheapest item of sports clothing out there, but they are certainly worth it in the long term.
Finding The Perfect Fit
Accepting that it’s now time to kit yourself out with a quality sports bra is one thing, but knowing what size bra you need is another.
It goes without saying that a personal fitting from someone who knows what they are talking about is ideal, but if you are a little embarrassed about getting that personal with someone you don’t know, check out this video so you can work it out for yourself.
Once you have a good idea of what size you are, I’m afraid there’s still a bit of work to do before you can confidently head out for a run or exercise class wearing the right sports bra. There are a range of different sports bras on the market depending on your activity level, body shape and personal preference.
So with that in mind, do not be afraid to try on half a dozen bras before you commit to purchasing one. You have to be sure the one you invest in is going to support you and your girls up to three times a week whilst pounding the pavements, so you have to be sure you’ll be comfortable and confident whilst exercising.
To help give you an overview of some of the choices of sports bra out there and how to tell if the fit is right, take a look at this video.