2020… As another new year rolls around you promise yourself that THIS is your year! You’re going to finally dust off those trainers. No, really this time. This is the year when you’ll get fit, the year you’ll start walking up the stairs rather than taking the lift, the year you’ll run that half marathon, the year you’ll eat healthily and achieve those health goals and be really “truly happy” (whatever that means).
2020 is your year and you’re going to smash it!
It is then that you realise that your trainers have seen better days and you don’t have a sports bra, but you do have a comfortable old bra that you don’t wear anymore so it will be good for getting sweaty. Your plans for a run get waylaid as you start searching the internet for new trainers. Your old comfy bra will be ok, as long as you can stretch in it, right?
We can’t help you with your trainers unfortunately, but we’re here to tell you about the importance of wearing a good sports bra and how it can make or break the ‘new you’. Yes really.
Read on dear reader, this is the advice you need to help you achieve those new year fitness goals…
The Invention of the Sports Bra
Women in ancient civilisations used to bind their chests with leather to stop their boobs bouncing around and legend has it that the Amazons of Ancient Greece used to actually cut off their right breasts to partake in archery pursuits. In the 1920s French sportswoman Violette Morris even chose to have a double mastectomy because her breasts “impeded control” of her racing car!
Thankfully, sports bra technology has come on leaps and bounds (pardon the pun) since the sports bra was invented in 1977 and put a stop to all that historic craziness. Commercial sports bras came into circulation thanks to the new popularity of jogging in the US and the women’s liberation movement. And our boobs have been grateful ever since.
The Importance of a Good Quality (Properly-Fitted) Sports Bra
Your sporting performance can be affected by the type of bra you wear. During high impact activities like running, a normal bra cannot prevent your breasts from bouncing back and forth. If you don’t wear a sports bra then the Cooper ligaments (that maintain the shape and height of the breast) can tear and become damaged. Just as with any sport-related ligament damage, this hurts! Also, once they’ve been stretched they don’t shrink back so you need to take the utmost care because gravity is queen!
Breasts can move as much as 8 inches during exercise up and down, in and out and from side to side. This figure-of-eight-shaped boob dance when exercising means that a good quality supportive sports bra is a must, especially for high impact sports such as running.
A good pair of trainers should cushion the foot, give arch support and improve athletic performance by aiding the prevention of injury. A sports bra is no different and equally as important – but for your boobs instead of your feet. If your sports bra is ill-fitting or not supportive enough it can damage delicate breast tissue, cause back pain and even restrict your breathing – which of course will make exercise more difficult and hamper your keep-fit efforts.
Here at Mish we generally specialise in bras for larger boobs but where sports bras are concerned, even women with smaller boobs need to get correctly-fitted and wear a good quality sports bra when exercising. You wouldn’t exercise in trainers that are too small (or too big), so why would you wear an incorrectly-sized sports bra?
What Makes a Good Sports Bra?
A good quality sports bra should have cool breathable panels, be able to wick away moisture and have a wide elasticated chest band which can reduce bounce (as with this non-wired Shock Absorber running sports bra which reduces bounce by up to 78%, and this wired sports bra by Panache which reduces bounce by 83%!)
Along with this, it needs to fit correctly! Take a look at our bra fitting guide for advice. A good sports bra needs to fit a little more snug than a regular bra but shouldn’t restrict breathing. You should be able to fit two fingers between the straps and your shoulders. If you choose an underwired sports bra then it should lay flat against the ribcage. The band shouldn’t ride up when you raise your hands above your head and ideally the cups should be seamfree and moulded to ensure that you avoid the dreaded nipple rub! 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.
Can I Wear the Same Sports Bra for All Sports?
While having one reliable sports bra in your gym kit is a necessity, ideally you’ll have a few on the go for different activities, such as a simpler style for yoga and a high impact design for more intensive workout sessions. Choosing a sports bra which is supportive for running and court sports, or aerobics and yoga means choosing one which is lightweight, flexible and which has the technology to withstand high impact activity too.
Things to Consider:
- If you plan on weight training, dancing or boxing, a bra with a good low cut around the armpit will restrict chafing on the armpit. Good to consider when doing wide arm movements, whether it’s warrior II pose or a deadlift.
- If doing yoga or low impact sports then consider a lightweight freestyle non-wired bra with a racer back style to give freedom of movement. Also consider the neckline and compression of the bra to ensure your boobs don’t fall out when you’re practicing those tricky yoga inversions!
- Compression/Encapsulation: Most regular bras offer encapsulation (where each breast is encapsulated by a cup, supporting each boob individually) but many sports bras offer compression (where the breasts are compressed against the chest to restrict movement). Consider which works best for you and your breast size/chosen sport.
- Don’t be embarrassed to try your chosen sports bra on and jump up and down, jog on the spot, do jumping jacks and stretch those arms around. If it feels supportive and comfortable, you’re set!
Getting Fit, Getting Strong
Getting fit is not necessarily about weight loss – it’s about being fit and healthy and strong. It’s about seeing what the body can do and pushing it that little bit further to make you feel good. Whether that means a 10k run or a swim in the local pool, just getting moving is a positive step for your body and your mind. We love Georgina Horne @fullerfigurefullerbust who has a good workout on her grid which shows how moving and feeling strong can make you feel incredible.
Park Run organises Saturday morning runs in communities all around the UK. The runs are open to all; anybody and everybody of all ages and running abilities can take part in a park run – you can run, jog or walk the course and speed doesn’t matter. Taking part and getting moving is what it’s all about! This is a great drive to get people out and about in their communities and an awesome way to start getting fit. And once you have a good bra and your boobs aren’t uncomfortably getting squashed or jostled about when you exercise, you might find that you really enjoy it!
We stock a good selection of sports bras which are suitable for all your sporting needs, just pop in to our shop in Wadebridge and we can fit you and advise you on the best sports bra for you.
Take a look below at a few of our favourite sports bras and their benefits, we hope you’ll now be clued up on the importance of a good sports bra and come in to be fitted for yours soon.
“New year new you” starts here!