Breasts are made of fatty tissues which are supported by delicate ligaments and skin. When a woman engages in any physical activity – be it walking, running, jogging or even cycling, the breasts bounce up and down and these Coopers Ligaments can become over-stretched, causing pain.
As is obvious, women with a larger cup size are more prone to this irreversible stretch and as a result have sagging, drooping breasts. But that doesn’t mean that women with a small cup size don’t face embarrassment and discomfort when their breasts bounce around with excessive movement; they are just as likely to experience pain and the harsh effects of gravity!
So, How Does A Sports Bra Help?
A good sports bra offers adequate support and shock absorption to the breasts; minimizing the bounce and holding them together even during strenuous physical activity. It does so by either encapsulating the breasts firmly, or pushing them towards the chest so that when you move, your breasts don’t move with you.
Our breasts don’t contain any muscles, and therefore they become sore as a result of movement caused by physical activity. With excessive movement comes sagging, which can further cause neck pain, back pain and muscle damage.
Also, once the Coppers Ligament is over-stretched, the damage is often irreversible and sagging breasts are unavoidable. A good sports bra will hold it all together and also offer comfort.
Additionally, it makes women with a large cup size feel less conscious about jogging and running, as they don’t have to worry about the embarrassment that comes from jiggling breasts.
It’s very common to have excessive sweating between and under the breasts when exercising, which is why a sports bra made of soft cotton fabric that offers temperature and sweat control to keep you cool and dry is very important.
How to Pick the Right Sports Bra?
The right sports bra for you will depend on two things – your cup size and your level of activity.
As a general rule, small cup sizes (from A to B) fare well with a compression bra. As the name suggests, these bras will compress the breasts and move them closer to the chest, hence restricting movement. The result is a ‘flat chest’ look, which is ideal for running or jogging.
Women with a larger cup size (from C to higher) should opt for encapsulation bra. More comfortable, this bra has cups made to encapsulate each breast firmly and supports each of the breasts separately. Hence, each breast gets individual attention and care and stay ‘separated’ throughout the workout, so that sweat doesn’t collect in between and cause an uncomfortable itch.
On the other hand, if you are a girl with smaller breasts engaging in moderate intensity exercises – like walking or cycling, you can also try the more popular Bra Tanktops or Shimmels, which are basically just tank tops with built-in cups for smaller sizes.
Another thing to consider when looking for a sports bra is the strap. If you have larger breasts that need more support, opt for the wide straps. If you have smaller breasts, spaghetti straps and even racer-backs will do.
6 Things to Remember when Picking a Sports Bra
Now that you understand the importance of a good sports bra, here are some tips that will help you choose the best option.
- While you know what the right style of bra should be based on your cup size and activity level, now look for the perfect fit. A sports bra should offer adequate sports to your girls while exercising, but should not be so tight that you find it tough to breathe. The ideal fit will be snug but allow free unrestricted movement without having any gaps or bulges.
- Some women think they can double up their sports bra over their regular bra for more comfort. However, this is not recommended as two restricting layers can cause chafing of nipples or near the shoulders and armpits. There is no single style or brand of sports bra that fits all; you will have to try various styles and find one that offers you adequate comfort and support without having to put on two layers to restrict breast movement.
- When trying on sports bras, always test them for effectiveness. Jump and move your arms up and down, emulating a jog. The sports bra should be snug enough to restrain excessive bouncing without causing any pain, soreness or chafing.
- If you have larger breasts, look for a wide, supportive band. The band of the sports bra offers the most support and hence should sit perfectly under the breasts, pushing them upwards. Next, pay attention to shoulder straps. They should sit comfortably on the shoulder and not slip off with excessive movement, while it’s also best to choose a bra with non-stretch shoulder straps. Wide straps offer more support, while adjustable straps will offer a better fit.
- Look for a soft, gentle moisture wicking fabric. A good sports bra will be a blend of cotton and spandex. It should be breathable and light weight, and any texture on it should definitely not irritate your skin.
- Don’t be fixed on one size, which is your regular bra size. In sports bras the sizes will vary from brand to brand, and also based on style, so try multiple options before you home on to one. Keep in mind that since a sports bra is made of highly stretchable material, it wears down with every single wash. You will need to change your sports bra every 3-4 months, depending on how often you wash it. Hence, find a style and brand that you can afford to buy often as this is not a one-time-only expense.