Ten Things Every Girl Should Know About Sports Bras

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You might have been wearing sports bras for years (extra brownie points for you if so!) or perhaps you’re of the opinion that they’re nothing but another piece of hyped up kit to waste your money on.  Either way, the fact is that if you participate in sport – ANY sport – you really should be wearing proper running clothing, which includes a good sports bra.

Sportswear expert Brett Bannister says, “No matter how small or large, the breast is a fragile organ. It is essential for women to wear a correctly fitting sports bra that provides enough horizontal and vertical support for their chosen sporting activity. After all, playing sports is all about making us look and feel better, not worse!”

So, without further ado, here are ten things you simply need to know about sports bras…

1. Not wearing a sports bra can cause saggy boobs. You already figured that one, but the reason for this is that during high-energy, high-impact sports women’s breasts can move up to ten or more centimetres, which in turn can cause your Cooper’s ligaments (the primary supporting structures in the breasts ) to stretch beyond repair. Not pretty. And small-breasted girls, you are not immune to this!
2. Not wearing a sports bra can lead to tension and strain in the upper back and neck. This is particularly the case for women with larger breasts and is caused by the fact that the excess weight at the front means the back muscles have to work harder to keep the shoulders in the correct position. This causes these muscles to eventually become weak and stretched, leading to pain in the back and neck. Ouch!
3. Not wearing a sports bra can cause painful breasts. Yep, more pain! A 2007 study by the University of Portsmouth found that one in two women complain of breast pain during exercise. So if that’s you, get yourself a good sports bra.
4. Not wearing a sports bra can decrease athletic performance. It’s common sense of course, but another recent study by the University of Portsmouth has indeed found that running strides are affected by swinging breasts, which in turn increases stress on the body and can lead to decreased performance and even injuries.
5. You should measure your bust every six months. The effects of not wearing a sports bra also count for wearing one that doesn’t fit. Whether you’re a fully grown adult or not, your breast size can change due to fluctuations in your weight or hormonal factors. It’s important you measure yourself to determine your bra size every six months, because wearing an ill-fitting bra or sports bra won’t provide the support you need.
6. Sports bras should be replaced every 30 to 40 washes. The all important, boob-hugging elasticity of your sports bra gets damaged during the washing cycle, which means support decreases. Depending on how often you wash your sports bra, this means you’ll probably replace it around every six to ten months. If you find your boobs are bouncing more before then, check to see if any of the elastic bands are obviously stretched. If the bra no longer fits snugly you’re ready for a new one.
7. Sports bras with complete cups (aka encapsulation bras) give more support. While some sports bra models feature a crop-top style design without distinguishable cups (compression bras), research has shown encapsulation bras are better at preventing up and down, and side to side movement of the breasts during exercise. Large-breasted ladies and people taking part in high impact exercise will be better off with complete cups.
8. Different levels of impact require a different type of sports bra. For high impact sports (like running or aerobics), you’ll need a high impact sports bra, designed to minimise breasts swinging up and down and from side to side while exercising. While high impact sports bras can be used for low impact sports (such as yoga or Pilates), you may find a specially designed low impact sports bra less restrictive. However, don’t go running in a low impact sports bra or you’re back to the saggy boobs issue!
9. Wearing a sports bra can prevent joggers’ nipple. If you’ve never had this condition, lucky you! Joggers’ nipple is a friction burn caused by a T-shirt continually rubbing against the nipples during running or other repetitive motions during exercise. A well-fitting sports bra reduces the chance of this happening.
10.Sports bras don’t need to cost the earth! Here are five affordable sports bras, all available for under £30:


Lite Sports Supplex Bra Top – £9.99: Great for low impact sports, this sports bra has a soft, supportive and comfortable fabric with a Coolmax inner lining for breathability.


Nike Lady Seamless Bra Top – £14.99: Ideal for medium impact sports, such a walking or cycling, the Nike Lady Seamless Bra Top features double lined cups, moisture-wicking fabric and an adjustable racer back.


Nike Dri-Fit Revolutionary Sports Bra – £11.95: This bra is made with a unique fabric laminate which combines stretch and non-stretch zones for a high level of support and a personalised fit. It’s good for higher impact sports such as running and comes in sizes up to a D.


Thuasne Force 3 Top Strap Bra Top – £29.99: This bra was initially designed for women with breast implants but is a firm favourite with natural ladies today too! Available up to an E cup, the bra gives unparalleled support thanks to a tops strap support band which sits above the bust.
Shock Absorber Max Sports Bra Top – £27.99: One of the only bras on the market which was specifically created for running and high impact sports, this bra offers enhanced support to reduce excessive breast movement. Tests found that it can reduce movement up to 78%!

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