Monthly Archives: December 2013
Sports bras are critical to your comfort, health and well being when exercising vigorously or playing sports. But just as important as wearing a sports bra when undertaking physical activity is that you wear the right one.
Follow these tips to ensure you choose the sports bra that is right for you and your needs:
- Get a bra professionally fitted. Statistically, seventy five percent of women wear a bra that is the wrong size for them. Whether by accident or intentional size denial, so many of us have it all wrong. Would you wear a shoe in the wrong size? No. So why wear the wrong sized bra? Considering the cost of this essential wardrobe staple, why not at least find out what size you should actually be wearing?
- Try your bra on before committing. Tiny quirks in design can make a big difference – so you may well wind up with a drawer full of bras in slightly different sizes. And they all fit properly. Additionally, some bra designs are better suited to particular body (and breast) shapes than others. So always try first. If you purchase online – make sure there is a return policy, that you try on just after a shower (when you are clean and deodorant/perfume free), and don’t remove tags until you are sure.
- When shopping for a sports bra, consider your impact level. What kind of sport will you be doing? Low Impact activity includes walking, yoga, or road cycling. Medium Impact activity includes hiking, skiing, and skating. High Impact sports include running, aerobics, and mountain biking. There is a bra suited to each impact level.
- The point of a sports bra is to minimise breast movement. The ligaments that support the breasts do not bounce back when stretched – sports bras protect the breast anatomy. This is done in a number of ways:
Compression Bras – compress the breasts against the chest wall in order to restrict movement. Best for A and B cup sizes. Encapsulation Bras – support the breasts individually and separately with individual cups, without the use of compression. Best for D and DD cups and larger. Compression/Encapsulation Bras – combine both the above mentioned methods for support and comfort, and are ideal for C and D cup sizes.
The perfectly fitting sports bra will achieve the following:
- Fit tighter than a regular bra but not uncomfortably tight
- Will not chafe at the seams, straps or armholes
- Straps are wide and do not dig in
- The band at the ribcage should remain in place when arms are raised above the head
- There will be no wrinkles or puckers in the cups
- It will stand up to the test: jump in place. Does it feel supportive?
How do you know when it’s time to retire that old sports bra?
- It fits more loosely than before
- Vertical movement has increased
- Fabric has begun pilling
- The care instructions have become invisible.
Most sports bras have a lifespan of 6-12 months.
A bra exists first and foremost to offer comfort and support to a woman’s breasts. It follows that when a woman undertakes rigorous activity, such as exercise, her breasts will experience more movement (and ever uncomfortable bounce), so as such will require a higher level of support. Enter the Sports bra.
A sports bra is especially designed and manufactured to limit movement of the breasts by holding them more firmly against the body and by offering a much higher level of support. Straps are generally wider and better designed tom prevent slipping from the shoulders; wires and other hardware are minimised or eliminated for comfort considerations; a more sturdy material is used for construction; and fabric and engineering are employed to reduce perspiration, chafing, and irritation. Seams are minimised, breasts are comfortably compressed against the body (but not squashed!), and the band is wide for comfort and support.
The Sports Bras we are familiar with today have been a long time coming:
- The first commercially produced sporting bra was the “Free Swing Tennis Bra”, produced in 1975 by Glamourise Foundations. It was more supportive than a regular bra, yet still nowhere near adequate for its stated purpose. The straps were thin, it allowed for “free movement”, and really was suited only to women with very small cup sizes – hence very limited breast bounce.
- In 1977, US jogger Lisa Lindahl developed a sports bra based on a list of what a “jockstrap for women” would require. These factors included straps that would stay put and reduction in breast bounce. The prototype was none other than an actual jockstrap! It became the “jog bra”.
- Large breasted women were not catered to at all in the sports bra arena until as recently as the 1990’s – for some reason, large breasted women were believed to not participate in sports. This seems even more ridiculous when considering that sporting activity was expected of girls in high school and into adulthood.
One must wonder how our mothers or grandmothers undertook vigorous exercise without a proper sports bra – even without the comfortable everyday bras we all wear today! Today we are fortunate to have seamless sports bras in athletic designs which not only look appealing and sporty, but are comfortable and protect the wearer from physical pain and even damage. We’ve come a long way, baby!