Women athletes may know the secret and maybe women personal trainers do too. But it is highly unlikely that the average woman knows and understands why it is important to protect her breast when exercising by wearing a proper sports bra. I’m sure you see these undergarments in any store that sells lingerie. But an sports bra can seem like a luxury not worth the expense. Knowing the facts of their importance can make a big difference for your breasts and overall health.
Recent scientific research by Joanna Scurr, a professor of Biomechanics at the University of Portsmouth in England, provides several findings to support the use of a sports bra when doing exercises that cause the breast to bounce around, even a little bit. One finding of the research was that breasts can move up and down, side to side and in and out during physical activity that causes bouncing movement. Another finding was that the amount of bouncing wasn’t really the big factor; even small breasts of AA cup size can be injured by too much movement.
The reasons breasts are so vulnerable is because of how they are made. Unlike limbs that can be controlled by muscles and bones, the breasts are mostly mammary glands and fatty tissue held together by ligaments and skin. Therefore, they have no natural support to keep them from injury or sagging. Repeated bouncing and movement without proper support can cause them to stretch and sag. It can also cause pain.
Regular bras are not designed to properly protect and confine the breasts from the bouncing movements experienced in certain exercises. Sports bras however, do this in two basic ways. Compression restricts some movement by pulling the breast close to the body, reducing the up and down motion. But compression bras are not that effective in reducing side to side movement. Encapsulation bras limit both side to side and up and down motion by surrounding each breast in an individual cup, much like an everyday bra. Therefore the best choice is a sports bra that makes use of both compression and encapsulation. Additionally, a good sports bra should keep you relatively dry to help prevent chafing that can occur during prolonged activity with a wet bra.
A good sports bras is not just a luxury but a way to protect an important and vulnerable part of your body. Just like getting proper shoes to protect the feet while running, women need to get a proper sports bra to protect your breasts during exercise.