. If youre about to begin a new exercise regime a sports bra may seem like an unnecessary expense along with the rest of your sports kit and gym membership but it really is an essential for your sports bag. If youre not sure why or dont know how to choose one this article will tell you all you need to know.
Why you need to wear a sports bra
When you are exercising your breasts will move quite considerably if insufficiently supported. If you are running they can move by as much as nine centimetres. This not only feels uncomfortable it can make you feel very self-conscious when exercising. Aside from any discomfort, undertaking high impact exercise such as running, dancing or going on a cross-trainer can cause irreparable damage to the supportive tissue round the breasts, known as the Coopers ligaments. Damaging this tissue may lead to sagging, which is something all women want to avoid!
How to choose one
There are a number of sports and lingerie brands that specialise in sports bras. Good brands include Freya, Shock Absorber, Glamorise and Royce. Many sports bras do not have cups but work by holding the breasts in against the body. This style is known as a compression sports bra. An encapsulation bra has two separate cups; this style is recommended for larger busts. Both styles are usually non-wired; instead look for styles with slings or reinforced sections within the cups. Wide and/or padded bra straps will also stay securely in place and are more comfortable to wear because the weight is distributed over a larger surface area. Many sports bras have two back fastenings: one in the usual back band position and another higher up between the shoulder blades. This helps to make the bra extra secure and supportive, plus it will help you with your posture when exercising by keeping your shoulders back.
How to get the right fit
The best place to start is by ordering your usual bra size but even so you may need to try on a few size variations until you find the perfect fit. The back band should be very snug so that you can only pull it a tiny way away from your body. When your bra fits properly the back band should be horizontal all the way around and there should be no wrinkling at all on the bust. If your bra is too loose your bust will still move yet bear in mind you will be breathing harder when youre working out so you dont want it to be too restrictive. A compression sports bra will feel quite different compared to a normal underwired bra with cups, and the feeling of your breasts not being separated takes a bit of getting used to but you will soon adjust once you have felt the difference it makes to your work out.
Caring for your sports bra
Although well worth the investment, good sports bras dont come cheaply so make sure you care for your sports bra properly. Although you can wash non-wired bras in the washing machine, hand washing will prolong its life. Definitely avoid tumble-drying though, which can damage the fibres and reduce elasticity. If your bra begins to rub or chafe then it is likely that the bra has become a little worn out and it is time to replace it. Once youve found a brand and size you like you may wish to stay loyal and get the same style again.