For women, wearing the correct sports bra is just as important as wearing the correct running shoes. The breasts are mostly made up of mammary glands and fatty tissue, which are not very supportive. The main support for breasts are ligaments called Cooper’s Ligaments, these can be stretched and damaged if the proper sports bra is not worn during activities.
Linda "The Bra Lady" Becker, perhaps the foremost expert on bras and proper fitting thereof says, “Your sports bra is the most important bra you can wear, because it’s doing such a big job. If you don’t have a sports bra it can be very damaging to your breasts. You also want to make sure that you have the right sports bra for the type of activity that you’re doing. You don’t want to wear a low impact bra for a high impact exercise or vice versa. You always want to make sure that the bra you wear is made for the exercise you are doing. “
If the right bra is not worn, it changes the biomechanics of your sport, especially during a run. The run will change to accommodate the bounce of the bra. Newton’s second law says “force equals mass times acceleration.” That means that while running small breasts can move more than three inches and larger breasts much more than that. All women need to wear a proper sports bra for their shape and size. The aim is to have a little bounce as possible.
The main types of sports bras are compression, which flattens the breasts to the chest wall and these are best for smaller breasted women. Encapsulation is the next type, and this offers more support by harnessing each breast individually, these are best for larger breasted women. The bras, which combine both compression and encapsulation, are best for medium breasted women.
Finding the right bra for your body and activity is not easy. Everyone is shaped differently and your needs are as unique as you are. My advice is to go to a store and try on different types of bras. In the fitting room, jump up and down and see which gives you as little bounce as possible. That’s the one you should wear.
Hand wash your sports bra and then let it air dry. Machine washing and drying destroys the supportive system built into the design. A typical bra will last 6-12 months, depending on usage.
Getting the right support is essential in life and in sport. I just know that the right support is out there waiting for you.