How to choose a sports bra.

10 Nov How to choose a sports bra.

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I recently attended a lecture at the Australian Physiotherapy Association conference on exercise and breast support, and I found it to be a very interesting topic.

I have had three friends have breast reductions due to increased neck pain, back pain and headaches, and, as most women are, I am quite conscious of the amount of bounce I experience when I do high impact exercise.

A long time ago, before I was a physio, I worked in a lingerie shop in Edinburgh for about 4 months, where I learnt how to fit bras correctly. Which is actually a very good skill to have! At the time my new party trick was to be able to guess the bra size of any woman present. A skill I have sadly lost over time. This combination of events in my own life made me extremely interested in the lecture and what they had to say.

I am very pro exercise in my practice and I think this is a topic worthy of wider education to all the exercising women out there. I would like to share some of the tips with you from the health professional from Breast Research Australia.

How much support?
It depends on your age, your bra size, and what type of exercise you are doing.
This table gives you a guide as to what you should choose. Obviously, personal circumstances vary and this advice is general. For specific advice you need to consult your health professional.

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Image from http://sma.org.au/resources-advice/injury-fact-sheets/exercise-and-breast-support/

What type of bra?
• The less bounce the better, but also comfort is a factor. You need to find a bra with a balance between the two.
• The band should be wide and elastic, the larger the breasts, the larger the band should be. Underwire fashion bras generally do not have much of a band at all, whereas crop tops and sports bras are generally better designed in this perspective. It should not be too tight, if there is bulging of skin over the top of the bra it is too small. If it is riding up it is too big. Bras stretch over time, so go for one that you are starting on the loosest hook.
• The straps should be wide and padded. Thinner straps may dig in. They shouldn’t slide off the shoulders.
• Your breasts should sit fully inside the cup, if they are bulging over the top or out the sides you need to go up a cup size. If there is a gap between your breast and the cup in padded bras, or wrinkling in non-padded bras you need to go down a size.
• If it has an underwire, it should not dig into your breast tissue at all. Underwires come in a variety of slightly different shapes, look for one that is the right shape for you.
• The centre of the bra should sit on your breast bone, it should not be lifting off your body, or be sitting on your breasts.
• Get rid of bras that have lost their elastic and the material is worn.

To download a factsheet or for more information see http://sma.org.au/resources-advice/injury-fact-sheets/exercise-and-breast-support/

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