When it comes to working out, comfort is one aspect that you should always prioritize. This is especially true when it comes to your choice of workout clothing, which should include a good sports bra. A good sports bra can make all the difference between being able to give it your all and not even making it halfway without dealing with a few issues.
Why wear a sports bra?
A sports bra provides support for the breasts during intense physical activity. Without a sports bra, the breasts would move about during exercise. Over time, working out without ample breast support can cause the skin and Cooper’s ligaments (tissues that support and shape the breasts) to lose elasticity. This, in turn, can result in breast pain and an increased tendency to cause the breasts to sag.
According to fitness companies like Knix, excessive bouncing during exercise can also cause pain in the neck and back, affecting your posture. A good sports bra limits breast movement and provides support for your breasts, helping the wearer avoid body pain.
Importance of wearing the right sports bra
A study headed by Professor Joanna Scurr at the University of Portsmouth found that the breast was considered the fourth most significant barrier for women when exercising, after time, poor health and motivation. It means that a well-fitting and comfortable sports bra is essential to enable women of all ages to enjoy being active. (1)
In 2020, the American College of Sports Medicine journal published another research mentioning that women who experience discomfort and pain during exercise due to poor breast support tend to exercise less, leading to weight gain and other health problems. (2)
Types of sports bras
Sports bras come in two types: compression and encapsulation.
Compression bras are designed to flatten your chest by pressing your breasts against your chest wall to reduce movement. These bras are typically made from stretchy materials like Lycra or spandex, and have wide straps that you can wear in a crossed-back configuration. These are typically recommended for small-busted women or high-impact activities.
On the other hand, encapsulation bras have cups surrounding and supporting each breast individually. These bras are often made from firm materials like nylon and polyester, and feature narrow straps. They offer more support and shaping than compression bras making them a good choice for larger-busted women working on moderate-impact activities.
Now that you know the importance of wearing a sports bra and the different options available, how do you choose the right one? Here are five tips to keep in mind to find the perfect one for you.
1. Consider your cup size
When choosing a sports bra, the top priority is to make sure it offers the right amount of support for your cup size. Studies have shown that 70-80% of women wear the wrong type and size of a bra without adjusting it to their own body. (3)
If you’re well-endowed, you’ll want to look for a sports bra that can contain your breasts without squishing them. It’ll minimize breast movement and prevent pain. If you’re on the smaller size, you may be able to get away with a less supportive sports bra.
2. Look for key features
The technology in sports bras has come a long way in recent years, so there are now many comfort features to look for when choosing a sports bra.
One feature to look for is moisture-wicking fabric such as polyester or nylon, which helps keep you cool and dry by pulling sweat away from your skin. It’s necessary if you tend to sweat a lot when exercising.
Another feature to look for is padding. Padding can help cushion the breasts, protecting them from impact. It can also help with moisture-wicking by providing an extra layer between your skin and the bra’s fabric.
Adjustable straps are also an excellent feature to look for as they can help you get a better fit. For plus-sized women or those with larger busts, it’s ideal to look for a sports bra with a wide band under the bust that stays in place without digging into the skin. The straps should also have seams that lie flat against the body to prevent chafing.
3. Consider your activity
The type of exercise you’ll be doing will also play a role in the kind of sports bra you need. If you’re into high-impact activities like running or jump roping, you’ll need a sports bra that offers a good amount of support. If you’re doing low-impact activities like yoga or Pilates, you can get away with a less supportive sports bra.
Keep in mind that you may need more than one sports bra to accommodate different activities. It’s ideal to have multiple sports bras of varying levels of chest support to make sure you’re always comfortable no matter what you’re doing.
4. Get fitted
Don’t forget to get fitted for a sports bra. Just like with regular bras, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sports bras. An excellent way to go about this is to choose a store specializing in sports bras and ask for a recommendation based on your usual routines.
If you’re shopping online, make sure to read the sizing charts carefully to find the right size. You can also reach out to the shop’s customer service if you have any questions. Keep in mind that some online sellers have their own sizing standards, which means a certain size from one seller could be different from another.
5. Don’t forget about style
According to the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, your clothes subconsciously affect how you act or behave. After all, looking good while working out could be quite the confidence booster. (4)
Just because a sports bra is functional doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish. There are many options for sports bras on the market that are cute and comfortable. If you’re the type of person who likes to match their workout gear, you can find sports bras in various colors and styles to coordinate with your other exercise clothes.
Choosing the right sports bra doesn’t have to be complicated. Just keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be sure to find one that fits you well and provides the support you need.