Sports Bras: A Woman’s Training Buddy
Exercise and sporting activities cause the breasts to move around, making the woman feel awkward and uneasy. Cooper’s ligaments are connective tissues that run through a woman’s breasts like a cobweb. Known as suspensory ligaments, they are responsible for maintaining shape and configuration of the breast. A young woman’s breasts are youthful and upright due to tautness in the ligaments.
Unsupported bouncing movements cause the ligaments to stretch. Ageing, pregnancy, menopause, shrinking breast size due to estrogen fluctuations are other reasons for breast sagging. The extent of sagging will differ from woman to woman, depending on genetic factors. Once stretched, Cooper’s ligaments cannot un-stretch and move back to their original position. During activity, the breasts move up and down and also sideways. How far up or to the side they travel will depend on the elasticity of her skin; the older she gets, greater is the decline in elasticity.
Normal bras do provide support. They are good for standing or seated positions where arms are down to the side. Daily wear bras are not designed for energetic activities. The breasts can be protected through appropriate support by using a good sports bra. A sports bra is rugged, confines the breasts, frees the exerciser from uncomfortable constraints, and protects the breast by reducing stretching damage.
Support and control over breast movement is required during physical activity and these diverse activities require different levels of breast control.
Walking, weight training, yoga are low impact activities for the breasts (lowest level of bounce). Spinning, stair climbing, speed walking, martial arts, rowing, elliptical trainer, cycling would be termed medium impact (moderate bounce) while jogging, running, aerobics, tennis, are high impact (highest amount of bounce) for the breasts.
There are different types of sports bras providing varying degrees of control and restriction. Match the bra type to your activity.
Compression bras are good for low and moderate impact work like brisk walk, weight training or yoga. Encapsulated bras are good for women with larger breasts and for high impact activities like jogging and running. Multi-brand stores in malls stock both types and you can expect to be guided well by the sales staff. Trial and error is the best way to zero in for proper fit.
Jostling and movement in the breasts can be a source of distraction and pain to the active woman. Nothing is more demotivating than body discomfort, embarrassment and being self-conscious while exercising. The use of sports bras liberates the exerciser to workout in confidence and do better by focussing on progression. Uplifting technology ensures that you reduce the bounce and don’t give in prematurely to gravity. True, sagging is inevitable, but it can be delayed!
Senior Faculty (Exercise Science)
K11 Academy of Fitness Sciences
Fitness Icon Kaizzad Capadia