WHY A SPORTS BRA?
Much of the motivation for us ladies to get out and exercise is to feel better about our bodies, to tone and firm them. We all know the importance of wearing a pair of proper trainers – however are we looking after our breasts adequately during exercise? It would seem not. A recent study found that 73% of women who exercise regularly are not wearing sports bras. This is the equivalent to heading out for a run in a pair of Uggs. While you will reap the cardiovascular benefits you will likely cause damage to your ankles or knees thus decreasing any positive gains. As with our breasts not wearing an appropriate bra during exercise will have negative consequences.
Breast tissue contains no muscle and is composed of glandular tissue and fat all held in position by the delicate Cooper’s Ligaments and skin. Women’s breasts, when unsupported during exercise, will move up and down (as much as 21 centimetres) and, as a recent University of Portsmouth study has found, will also move side to side and back and forth*. This puts strain on the Cooper’s Ligaments causing them to stretch and in the long term lead to irreversible breast sag. A thought that might just strike terror into the heart of any woman! Furthermore inadequate support during exercise can also cause breast pain and discomfort during exercise and even injury due to strain on neck and upper back muscles.
In many cases women are relying on their regular bras during exercise. While tests have shown that an ordinary bra will reduce breast movement by up to 38% it just does not compare to a proper sports bra which will reduce it by up to 78%. And while larger chested women will certainly experience more movement smaller chested women are not immune to breast tissue damage and discomfort during exercise.
As a personal trainer my activity levels are high, and I am always on the lookout for comfortable and good looking gear so when I was invited to try out some of Shock Absorbers new range of sports bras I was very interested. Shock Absorber has been designing sports bras for 15 years and one of leaders in the study of breast biomechanics. For example it is through their research that is it now known that while running breasts move in a continuous figure of 8 pattern. Based upon their studies of breast movement the Shock Absorber range now includes bras specifically designed for different activities such as running, racket sports and ball sports – meeting and minimising the breast movement patterns caused by each type of exercise.
As I am most definitely on the smaller side of the size scale in the interest of fair and balanced product review I felt it only right to also have a client of mine – who at a C cup is somewhat more well-endowed than I – to test one of the range also.
I tested the Shock Absorber Pump Sports Bra with removable padding. This lightweight bra is designed for smaller chests and lower intensity exercise. Made with breathable sports performance fabrics, with soft hook and eye closure at the back, this is a seriously comfortable bra – zero digging into the skin and it’s seriously good looking to match. Racerback and coming in variety of colours you won’t be hiding yourself in the corner as you change – in fact, on a hot summer’s day it would do nicely as a top in itself.
My client tested the Shock Absorber Max Sports Bra designed for high impact sports. Despite my pleas this client had thus far avoided buying a sports bra and was relying on a regular bra during running (with resultant and obvious excess movement) and I was keen to hear her opinion. Off we set on our run. With almost no ‘bounce’ the control effect was visible right away. The client loved it – feeling much more comfortable and completely supported while she exercised. She is insistent that, during exercise, she will never wear a normal bra again. Again this bra looks great, coming in a variety of colours, and gives the breasts fantastic shape too. It would seem the days of ugly and uncomfortable sports bras are well and truly over.
If you need any further encouragement to wearing a proper sports bra go to www.shockabsorber.co.uk and check out their ‘bounceometer’ to see movement of your breasts based upon their size and your activity level. Based upon this, you can then select the sports bra most appropriate to you.
Never resting on its laurels, Shock Absorber has added a new colour combo to its über comfortable and effective Run bra and Max Sports Bra Top…
Ladies it is pretty simple, if you’re exercising ditch the normal bra or old and worn sports bras and invest in a proper and well fitted and sports appropriate bra. Your breasts will thank you!
Product Info: Pump Bra retails at €35 (sizes A – D) and Max Sports Bra €40.50 (sizes B -HH)
Shock Absorber is available at Debenhams, Arnotts, Elverys and Champion Sports.
*Source: Portsmouth University research 2009, Scurr et al
Gillian hynes is a NCEHS qualified personal trainer and STOTT trained pilates instructor. Over the past several years she has worked with a wide variety of clients to achieve their fitness goals. www.gillianhynes.com Tel: 087 2028062