One in five women are put off sports because of their bras! That's according to recent research in England, but women's issues with finding the right support during exercise and feelings of embarrassment are not confined to the UK alone. However, the solution is to make sure you wear the right clothes for exercise, and that includes undergarments. If you're holding back from keeping active then is your bra putting you off exercise?
Are bras a barrier to exercise?
According to a survey by the University of Portsmouth's Research Group in Breast Health, in England, breasts are a barrier that stops many women from getting involved in activities such as exercise and sport. Out of 239 participants, 17% were put off activities as a direct result of their breasts. The reasons were connected with not being able to get hold of the right sports bra and also feelings of embarrassment by a visual lack of support.
What else stops women from exercising?
Whilst women's breasts might stand in the way of a good proportion of women getting fit, this reason ranked fourth. The top three reasons the women in the survey were not exercising was because of lack of energy, lack of time and health reasons.
Is wearing the wrong bra so important?
Lack of support, because of the wrong bra, does not just lead women to feel self-conscious but can cause breast pain too, as well as risk damaging the Cooper ligaments which are tissues that connect the breasts to the pectoral muscles. Once damaged these are irreparable.
According to Emma Burnett, who was part of the UK study it is the lack of activity which is the result of breasts being a factor in deterring from women from exercising. "One third of women in the study were not meeting physical activity guidelines, but improving breast health awareness may help to encourage participation for these women."
Finding the right support
The women who were exercising were those who were more likely to be wearing a sports bra, which emphasizes the importance of having the right support for exercise. With a good bra you can exercise without excess movement or pain. You need to ensure:
- You wear a bra specifically for sports rather than one designed for everyday use.
- The band fits snugly so there's no painful chafing and that this lies in a straight line that's parallel to the floor, instead of riding up the back.
- Straps need to be comfortable and strong, without digging in. Support should come not just from the straps but the band too.
- Cups should be smooth and completely cover the breasts so that all the tissue is supported. It's important to remember that the breast tissue extends out at the sides further than you might think and you don't want the band digging into this soft tissue. Cups should be smooth and not wrinkled or creating any bulges.
With the right sports bra there's really no stopping you enjoying a great workout as a woman!