Choosing the correct sports bra can be tricky. If your breast or back hurt, the band is not even, or the shoulder straps are not snug, there's a good chance you may have chosen the wrong sports bra.
How Important Is The Correct Sports Bra For Good Health?
Due to there being an overwhelming number of different sports bras on the market, it can be very simple to just pick one and not put a lot of thought into it. It can be very tempting to just throw your hands up and pick the sports bra that is very cute, or the cheaper sports bra because you don’t want to try on another bra. If this has ever been you, or you’ve stood in the store for what seemed like forever trying to make a decision; I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this difficult to understand how to pick the correct sports bra for your current needs.
Each sports bra is designed with certain functions in mind, they will each provide a different kind of support. For a person that participates in many different activities, cycling, yoga, and running for an example, you should have multiple types of sports bras. The three main types of support; low, medium and high impact.
According to Runner’s World the average breast weighs between 8 to 11 ounces and any unsupported movement, such as running, moves the breast roughly 3.5 inches with every stride. This movement repeated over and over can cause tissue damage to the Cooper’s ligament, which can cause sagging. Using the wrong sports bra can also lead to general discomfort as well as soft tissue damage. All of this discomfort and pain can be reduced by choosing the correct sports bra for the activity.
Types of Sports Bras:
If you’ve read this far, you may be asking how you can pick the best sports bra based on your activity levels. As mentioned before, there are three main types of sports bras on the market: High Impact, Medium Impact, and Low Impact.
Low Impact: Typically made from thinner material, and is made to be light weight. Due to the material selection, as well as the low compression, they are also better known for their ability to wick sweat away from the body. Typical uses for low impact sports bras are stretching, walking, and yoga.
Medium Impact: This type of sports bra is typically a combination of the low impact and high impact. They can be made with thinner material, with sturdier seams, or they can be thicker material in a tank or cross strap cut. The activities that a medium impact are best suited for include moderate hiking, skiing, or cycling.
High Impact: High impact sports bras are commonly made from thicker, sturdier material. They also typically have stronger seams, as well as overlaid material to make them stronger. High impact sports bras are best suited for running, mountain biking, and aerobics.
How to ensure proper fit:
Each company has slightly different sizing, so it is important to read the charts that many companies will provide on sizing. The best practice if you’re unsure is to start with your current size and adjust from there. If you are at a store, trying on the sports bra is the best way to make sure the fit is correct. If you are purchasing from an online retailer, make sure to check with their return policies. Many online retailers, including Swoobfit, will allow returns for sizing issues.
Here are some common indicators that your sports bra is not the right size:
Breast or Back Pain: Pain is one of the top indicators that your sports bra is not the correct size. Breast pain can signify that your bra is too tight and that you need a bigger size. While back pain can indicate that your bra is too loose and is not providing the proper support. To test this before you go for a run, try jumping in place 5 times.
The Band is not even: The band, the part that sits under your breasts, provides most of the support in your sports bra. A band that is riding up your back indicates that it is too loose, and will not support your breasts. If the band is digging into your skin, you need a bigger sports bra. The band should fit snuggle, but not cause pain. A way to test this before working out is to raise your hands above your head. If the band moves, it is too loose.
The shoulder straps are not snug: The shoulder straps should sit snug on your shoulders. A gap is indicative of needing a smaller sports bra, or an adjustment of the straps. Straps that are digging into your skin is indicative of a sports bra that is too small. When testing the fit of the straps, you should be able to fit two fingers between the straps and your shoulders comfortably.
How often should I replace my Sports Bra?
Just like running shoes, sports bras should be replaced every few months, or every 30-40 washes. According to Runner’s World, you will need three new sports bras for every one pair of running shoes. The elastic will age, which can cause chafing and poor support. With each wash the fabric breaks down a little, and the elasticity will diminish. There are some steps that you can take to prolong the life of your sports bra: Washing them by hand greatly extends the life of your bra, as well as only drying them on tumble, no heat.