We’re often told that a good sports bra is essential to protect your breasts as you exercise – but there are more benefits of a sports bra than that. Did you know that a good sports bra might help you run faster, exercise for longer and lower your risk of injury?
The number one benefit of a good sports bra is that it supports the breasts during exercise. As you workout the breasts move a lot. In fact, with every step you run the breasts move in a figure of eight motion and, if you’re larger busted they could sway as much as 21cm away from their normal position. This potentially leads to stretching of the Cooper’s Ligament that support the breasts (leading to perkiness being a thing of the past), it also increases the risk of breast pain, especially if you’re pre-menstrual, pregnant or post-menopausal when the breasts can become more tender. However, the health of your breasts isn’t the only benefit of a sports bra. Here’s four more …
- A good sports bra lowers your risk of injury: That’s the finding of research from the UK’s University of Portsmouth. The team there, who are basically the queens of all things to do with boobs and exercise, found that if runners breasts aren’t supported, their body weight sways to the side as their breasts move throughout the run. Researcher Jenny White found this interferes with the way you stride causing you to land more heavily than normal. The result is a big fat impact shock through your knees and back with every step. Support your breasts and this is less likely to happen.
- You might run faster: How effectively you swing your arms is one of the key things that determines running speed and when experts at Breast Research Australia at the University of Wollongong measured how people ran they found that if the breasts move too much women tend to reduce their arm swing to compensate which naturally slows you down. Support your breasts with a good sports bra and you therefore might run faster
- You won’t get as tired: If you’re wearing a good sports bra you reduce the amount of effort from your pectoral muscle under the chest by 55 per cent. This can help conserve energy. Another benefit of a sports bra is that good support to the breast may also stop you slouching forward which also causes you to use more energy while you run than standing with a more upright form.
- It makes horses happy: Nearly half of all women experience breast pain while riding horses – yet only 19 percent of large breasted riders, and 14 percent of smaller breasted women actually wear a specialist sports bra when riding. Interestingly, not only will you suffer less aches by making the swap, your horse will be happier. If a rider’s posture is tense (which it can be if you’re trying to avoid breast bounce) the horse picks up on this and this increases their heart rate and stress level say researchers at The University of Portsmouth.
Of all the sports bras I’ve tried three stand out as particularly impressive. I really like the Panache Bra as it goes on easily and keeps everything firmly in place. The Shock Absorber Bra has great support but, as I found out to my cost one day you’ve got to make sure it’s done up correctly or you can end up in trouble. I also really like the Enlite bra by Lululemon. I’m not the best horserider in the world – I can’t ride a bike the idea of leaving myself at the mercy of something extremely tall with it’s own brain doesn’t compute, but I do know that it’s best to buy a specialist equestrian sports bra when riding.