We all know we need to do at least 30 minutes of activity a day, but for women there’s also one more consideration: We all need to wear the right kind of sports bra.
So you’re fired up and ready to hit the gym or go to yoga. You look down and fear your breasts are going to bounce too much or you adjust the irritating straps and hope you don’t have a wardrobe malfunction. If this sounds familiar, it’s time you picked the right bra for your body and the activity you are doing.
Research published in May this year by the University of Wollongong (UOW) showed that less than half the women surveyed wore a sports bra during physical activity. The reasons included slipping straps, parts digging and rubbing into the body, cost, look and feel. Some women stated that they didn’t exercise altogether to avoid the embarrassment and discomfort of wearing a poorly fitted sports bra.
Unfortunately though, not wearing the right bra means women are at risk of poor posture (causing headaches and upper body pain), excessive breast movement and damage to the breast tissue.
UOW Professor Julie Steele is passionate about women having the right support for exercise and, in partnership with Sports Medicine Australia, she has published a quick guide on Exercise and Breast Support.
“The benefits of exercise have no doubt been extensively documented. By encouraging and empowering women with the information relevant to ensure correct (and comfortable) bra fit, this seeks to break down one of the barriers confronting women when exercising,” Professor Steele said.
“By gaining correct breast support and correct bra fit while exercising, women can exercise more freely, develop optimal health and set a path to a healthy future, avoiding many health problems commonly linked to inactivity.”
When you next go to purchase a sports bra think about how much support you need. This is dependent on your:
- Age (skin elasticity decreases as we get older)
- Breast size (the larger they are, the heavier they are)
- Chosen activity (certain sports require greater support).
Which bra is best?
Most often you can go for a softer style crop top if you’re just walking or doing a low-impact exercise like yoga. If jogging or medium-paced exercise is more your style you will want a firm fitting bra. If, however, you crank the speed right up and do activities like running, tennis, netball etc then you definitely want to go for a bra that has maximum support and you may want to layer it with a crop top.
Importantly, your bra should be comfortable. You don’t want it to feel tight, restrictive, have gaps or bunch up.
If you’re really after the perfect fit, go to a specialty lingerie store like Bras N Things or La Senza where they have expert bra fitters. Department stores like David Jones and Myer also have staff available at their change rooms to help make sure you’re getting the right bra.