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I am a 32-year-old active woman. Although I workout at my local gym, my favourite form of exercise is running. My trainer told me recently that I should wear a sports bra irrespective of what kind of workout I am doing. My breasts aren't very large and was wondering do I really have to wear a sports bra? Why?
Your trainer is absolutely right. It is essential that women wear a sports bra irrespective of their breast size or the kind of workout they do. Although the kind of sports bra you choose will differ depending on how intense your workout is, a sports bra is a must. Here's why.
Your breasts are fragile and need support
According to a study performed at the University of Portsmouth, when a woman works out (be it any form) her breasts bounce up to 21 centimeters and almost 20 percent of women suffered from breast pain after an intense workout. In essence, when you exercise your breast move in three directions -- up and down, in and out and from side to side -- putting your breasts under a lot of strain.
This movement puts a pressure on the muscles of your chest wall and can cause pain in the breasts, leaving you feeling sore after your workout. The larger your breasts the worse the pain as larger breasts exert more downward pressure.
What's more is that your breasts are extremely sensitive and do not have any muscle or ligaments in them. The only support they do have are from the very delicate Cooper's ligament.When you exercise, your breasts tend to bounce, and their weight can stretch out these ligaments and lead to permanent sagging.
How do sports bras help?
Sports bras are designed to minismise movement when you exercise, protecting your breasts and the muscles under it from damage and sagging.
How do you choose a good sports bra?
The thumb rule when choosing a sports bra is to find one that is tight enough to keep your breasts from bouncing but loose enough so you can breathe. Another thing to consider is to buy one that is made of absorbent material and is made to suit the intensity of your workout.
As a guide, if you like to run, choose a high intensity sports bra since these bras are made to support your breasts during a workout that involves a lot of jerky motions.
A medium intensity sports bra is for those fitness regimes that don't need you jump a lot. So workouts like Zumba, strength training or working out at the gym are when you need a bra like this one.
A low intensity bra is for a workout that has a lot of mat work and floor exercises. These bras will hold your breasts in place and are also padded along the back to avoid any discomfort during exercises that need you to lie down.
Image source: Getty Images
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References: University of Portsmouth. (2007, September 23). Bouncing Breasts Spark New Bra Challenge. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070915124901.htm
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