Sports Bras: love ’em or hate ’em, women gotta have ’em
A survey of female participants in the 2012 London Marathon revealed that 32% of the female runners experience breast pain while running. We think that’s high percentage. Women shouldn’t have to experience breast pain while running.
A good sports bra is one of the most overlooked pieces of running equipment for women and the best way to prevent breast pain. For women, it’s second in importance only to shoes. Yet, studies show that about 75% of women wear a poorly fitting bra.
What does that mean for the girls?
A woman’s breasts are physically unable to sufficiently support themselves during exercise, especially high impact exercise like running or aerobics. They can oscillate as much as 8 inches while running. High impact activity without proper support causes your breast to hurt and the tissue to stretch out (think saggy boobs). Insufficient support can also impact your running form causing shoulder, back, and neck pain – all of which can impact stride.
And studies have proven that proper support is necessary no matter a woman’s pace or cup size.
Bras come in three types: compression, encapsulation, and compression/encapsulation. Each provide a different level of support.
- Encapsulation bras are your everyday bras: perfect for daily wear, but uncomfortable and not supportive enough for exercise.
- Compression bras provide support by squeezing your breasts to your chest. For some women, this type of bra provides ample support. For others, this type of bra is perfect for low impact exercises like yoga.
- Compression and encapsulation bras provide the most support. They allow your breasts to move separately while also supporting them.
A sports bra’s band provides the support, so a good sports bra has a comfortable, wide band. Some bras offer adjustable straps that are also wide so they don’t cut into shoulders.
Wearing two bras won’t provide the same support as one properly fitting sports bra. And like your shoes, sports bras need to be replaced at regular intervals – every 6-12 months.
Running doesn’t have to be painful. And wearing a good sports bra is just one more way to keep your body healthy and you running.