So is wearing a sports bra while working out really important?
The short answer, YES!
Despite the fact that many people think sports bras are just there to look pretty, or are only useful for larger chested women - they are a crucial part of your workout wardrobe no matter your age.
If there is one thing that you should spend your money on, then it is definitely a sports bra. The reasons for this are:
The Correct Support
Most forms of exercise make your breasts bounce up and down, regardless of your cup size. Now this isn’t a laughing matter as it can pose serious risks to your health. Our breasts are made up of fatty tissue which is surrounded by skin and fragile ligaments called ‘Coopers Ligaments’. The problem with this is once Coopers Ligaments are stretched or broken down, they will sag and nothing can fix this. It doesn’t matter whether you breasts are big or small, we all have Coopers Ligaments that can be broken down over time and they won’t bounce back. When choosing a sports bra make sure to consider whether you are going to be doing high or low impact exercise as there are different bras to suit each of these. It is also important that you get the right fit, there are a few different sports bras out there ranging from compression bras (which look like crop tops) to ones with inbuilt cups (similar to regular bras). Choosing the right bra will depend on your cup size, preference and activity level.
Under wires digging into your skin, need I say more? There is nothing more annoying than straps falling down, hooks becoming loose and things coming out when trying to do an intense workout. By wearing a sports bra you are also able to regulate the temperature of your body a little better because most are made out of fabrics that won’t make you as hot and sweaty..
If you workout without a bra, or just use a standard t-shirt bra you are more at risk of developing back and breast pain as a result of this. Sports bras are specially designed to support your breasts ALL the way around, making sure they are secure and your skin can breathe.
Types of sport bras
Compression bras work the way they sound, by compressing breasts against the chest to restrict movement.
Encapsulation bras have individual cups. Each cup surrounds and supports each breast. Most regular bras are encapsulation bras and have no compression.
Combination compression/encapsulation bras combine compression with individual cups and offer the most support.
also known as shimmels, are tank tops with a built-in shelf bra. These are okay for low impact activities, but not for running.
Finally, there are differences in straps. Spaghetti straps provide less support than wider straps. Racer-back straps are the most supportive type
Fitting a sports bra
You want a sports bra that fits well, both in the band and cups. Overall, your sports bra should feel a bit tighter than a regular bra, however, you should be able to breathe deeply and comfortably. Hook it in the middle and take some deep breaths. Is this comfortable?
The band shouldn’t move. It should fit snugly and comfortably. Raise your hands above your head. Did the elastic band move? If it’s up your rib cage, try a smaller band. If the bra has straps, try adjusting them.
Your breasts shouldn’t bulge, pay close attention to any bulging at the top or by the underarm. Furthermore, the cups shouldn’t have any wrinkles or gaps. If the cup fabric is wrinkled, try a smaller size.
Make sure there is nothing rubbing or chafing around your arm holes, straps, seams, hooks, clasps or anything else. Many sports bras offer adjustable straps. Adjust them to feel supportive, yet not uncomfortable. Furthermore, make sure the straps aren’t digging into your shoulders.
Under wires are supposed to sit flat on your rubs, not on your breasts. The front (between the wire) should be against your chest bone - but for a sports bra we would recommend that you choose a type that does not contain wires.
Luckily, most newer sports bras use high-tech fabrics, including moisture wicking. This can improve breathability and help remove excess moisture from sweat which can cause chafing. Cotton bras will stay wet, this can lead to uncomfortable skin irritations.
For the last step, jump up and down, jog in place, do jumping jacks. If it feels supportive, you’re set! If not, keep looking.
Taking care of your sports bra
Even if you’ve found the best sports bra ever designed, you will eventually have to let it go. Unfortunately, at some point a sports bra will lose its elasticity. However, there are ways you can lengthen its life: hand wash and hang dry them. If you can’t hang dry then make sure not to use fabric softeners which kill moisture wicking fabrics remember this for those workout tops too!
if the fabric starts piling and/ or movement increases and support diminishes… it’s time to let it go.
A good sports bra should last six months to one year or approximately 72 washes.
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