Why a Good Sports Bra is Important
Long gone are the days of wearing an old lace under-wire bra to the gym. Like strapping on your workout shoes, strapping on a sports bra should be a no-brainer - every woman, whether a cup size A or cup size F, needs a good one. A sports bra provides women with proper support and alignment while exercising.
Doctors and fitness professionals alike continue to tout the benefits of the sports bra. These include decreased back and shoulder pain, prolonged perkiness of the breasts, and sweat absorption to thwart irksome chafing.
The best sports bra for you depends on the size of your breasts, as well as your level of activity. Workout activities that involve a high volume of bouncing, such as running or dance, require a more supportive kind. To make sure that you are giving your breasts the support they need and deserve, here are some important sports bra facts and resources.
Where did the sports bra originate?
The first “jogbra” was created in 1977 by sisters and joggers Victoria Woodrow and Lisa Lindahl. The idea came about as the jockstrap equivalent for women.
What’s the “Cooper Droop” and how is it related to my breasts and working out?
Women’s breasts are surrounded by a series of tissues and ligaments, called Cooper’s ligaments. Exercising that involves movement and causes breasts to bounce, such as running, jogging, and kickboxing, can loosen up these ligaments. This can lead to sagging and drooping.
Wearing a supportive sports bra during workouts can help to prevent the so-called “Cooper droop.” Yoga and pilates are not as jumpy, so may warrant a low-impact bra versus a high-impact one necessary for horseback riding, for instance. Skiing, spinning, and brisk walking are all considered medium-impact workouts.
What are some other health benefits?
A good sports bra is a worthy investment in terms of preventing injury and other health problems. Women who wear proper sports bras have noticed a decrease in soreness of breasts, more neck, upper back and shoulder support, better alignment, and less irritable chafing.
Finding the right sports bra is especially helpful for women with larger breasts. Without sufficient support, the back and neck muscles have to work overtime to support the front excess weight. This can lead to serious injury.
How can I find the right fit?
Think you can go sports bra-less just because you have smaller breasts? Wrong. An A cup can sag, too. So as with women with larger breasts, consider wearing one during exercise as a preventative measure.
“Compression” sports bras, which pull breasts inward to hold them in place, are ideal for smaller breasts. If you are concerned with appearing too flat-chested, there are padded options on the market. Try companies such as Moving Comfort, New Balance, Nike, and Lily of France.
Racer back, natural shaping, or under-wire bras are best suited for larger cup sizes. Consider a high impact sports bra from companies such as Enell (touted by Oprah) and CW-X.
In searching for the best sports bra for you, it is most important to measure your cup size accurately, and then pick a sports bra with enough support for your level of physical activity. You can find a bra size calculator online, or ask a salesperson to take measurements.
Experts suggest buying a new sports bra every six to 12 months depending on frequency of wear.