There are personal trainers and assistants to help you choose the right type of exercise to help you meet your goals. There are nutritional experts who will explain what you should be eating to help you keep your body in top condition and ensure that it has all the nutrients it need to support your workout regime. When it comes to the most important item of gym wear however the responsibility is yours alone.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of a Good Sports Bra
Few people know that what keeps your breasts up where they should be is a combination of the surrounding skin and the all-important Cooper’s ligaments. These coil or spring-like ligaments keep the breasts up on high unless they are damaged by unsupported vigorous exercise such as running and jumping or through a combination of genetic weakness and gravity.
Once these ligaments are damaged they can’t be repaired so that when the breasts sag, they’ll stay saggy. Stretched ligaments and drooping breasts may also be uncomfortable and so it is important to take steps to avoid this, namely by wearing a properly fitted sports bra.
What Type of Bra is Best
What sports bra is best depends on your cup size, overall size and shape and your level of activity.
There are two main types of bra.
Compression Bra: For moderate to low activity and for those with a smaller bust size, usually size A and B, this type of “shelf” bra is usually more than adequate.
Encapsulation Bra: Unlike compression bras this style sports individual cups and is better for those with larger breasts and those who enjoy more vigorous activity.
When shopping for your new sports bra you will also be faced with whether you want a pull-on / pull-over bra or whether a bra with a clasp at the back would be preferred. Some prefer pull-ons for ease and comfort however what this style lacks that a back clasp bra doesn’t is the ability to tighten the fit if necessary and adjust straps.
Find the Perfect Fit
A disturbing number of women choose to wear a sports bra yet wear the wrong size. An incorrectly fitted sports bra will not provide the support you require which in turn will not project your ligaments from damage.
Fairly rigid support is what is required and therefore you need to find a bra which does not allow the breasts to move too much during exercise. That said you also need to be able to breathe and so try on a bra before purchasing, checking that you have the right cup size, that the band and side panels offer enough support and the straps are firm enough. A general rule of thumb when trying on a sports bra is to place a finger between you breasts and pull the bra outwards. If you can move the bra outwards more than an inch maximum there will not be adequate support.
If in doubt get yourself professionally measured and fitted.
Keep the Support in Place
Over time our bodies change shape, we lose or gain weight and muscle and of course bras when washed and worn do eventually start to lose their support. Check regularly to ensure that your sports bra is up to the job and replace as necessary.