A good sports bra is one of the most important items any active women should have in her kit bag.
Yet, while most ladies take the time to carefully select a new pair of trainers, making sure they’re correctly fitted and comfortable, they tend to glance over the correct fitment of a sports bra.
What science says…
However, experts say it’s just as important to wear a well-fitted, quality sports bra as it is a pair of quality trainers! According to a study by the Research Group in Breast Health (RGBH) in the UK, your bust moves up and down about 4cm per stride while walking; and up to 15cm during running.
Stephen van Niekerk, chief bra officer at Anita South Africa, says the average South African women’s bra size is a 34 D, with an average breast weighing just under 500g. “That means most women are carrying 1kg of weight!”
Breasts are only “carried” by skin and breast ligaments, so any movement, such as running. exposes breasts to extreme strain. “Breasts are not naturally designed to resist extreme movements, so it’s important to always wear a quality and well-fitted sports bra to avoid back and neck pain, alleviate breast discomfort and avoid sagging” says van Niekerk.
Wearing an incorrectly fitted sports bra not only causes discomfort and chafing, but it also strains the breasts supportive tissue, known as the Coopers ligaments. This eventually causes the dreaded and irreversible “sagging”. Wearing a perfectly fitted, good quality sports bra prevents permanent damage to the breast by supporting and holding them firmly in place so that they don’t move independently of the body during physical activity.
“A well fitted sports bra should have no spillage, it should be firm but not restrictive and most importantly, should be comfortable,” adds van Niekerk. “Women may also find that a quality sports bras also improve their sporting and gyming performance. Those who don’t wear sports bra experience increased upper body muscle activity, which negatively impacts their performance, and their breathing patterns can also be impacted due to increased pressure on their rib cages, which causes them to take shallow and quicker breaths.”
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.