Choosing the Right Sports Bra

Hannah Payne running imageJust like your old tennis shoes, your old everyday bra wasn’t meant for running. Sports bras are designed to minimize breast movement and alleviate the discomfort associated with impact sports. A good sports bra will also wick sweat away from your body, reduce chafing and keep you at a comfortable temperature.

Women with larger breasts need more supportive bras. This may sound obvious but there are lots of women that don’t know the importance of a specialised running bra or don’t realise that there are plenty of styles and options out there to offer them adequate support.

No matter which type of support you need, the right sports bra is an essential piece of athletic equipment for women who are exercising.

As a runner, you’ll want to choose a bra clearly intended for impact-sport performance.

When choosing a bra, try on a few and pay attention to the following;

  • Make sure the fabric is meant to handle sweat. For chaffing prevention and comfort look for moisture-wicking fabrics such as Coolmax and Drifit. Stay away from sports bras that are made of 100% cotton or have a cotton lining; it will stay wet and keep sweat clinging to your body.
  • If you have larger breasts try looking for bras that have wider straps and racer backs for extra support. Bras with separation between cups can also offer more support. The divider between the cups should be touching your chest and if it doesn’t you will need a bigger size.
  • Make sure you try on several different sizes of sports bras. The right size for you may not be the cup size you normally wear.
  • Look for well-crafted seams. This is where most chaffing occurs. You’ll want seamless fabrics, fabrics where the seams are sewn flat or better yet bras with the seams on the outside of the fabric.
  • The band around your ribcage should be snug but not suffocating. You should be able to breathe freely. The band should not move when you raise your arms above your head, if it does then the fabric will end up rubbing and irritating your skin.
  • The fabric that covers your breast should also be snug but not suffocating. Jump up and down in the dressing room to ensure your breasts feel comfortable with minimal bounce.
  • Comfort when you move. If the bra feels like its digging or cutting into your skin then try a larger size.
  • Coverage. Make sure that no part of either breast is spilling out of the cup or the bra. If they are then look for the next size up.
  • Expect to pay between £25 to £35 pounds for a good quality sports bra.

To maintain the life of your sports bra, wash them on a gentle cycle and let them air-dry. This will maintain the elasticity for a longer period of time. Make sure you replace your bra when it no longer provides adequate support or if you have lost a significant amount of weight.

Good Luck!!

About the author

Hannah developed a passion for fitness from a very young age which led her to compete in a wide range of sports including netball and athletics, where she trained and competed for several years. She graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 2009 with a Degree in Health, Exercise & Nutrition, during which she gained experience in the fitness testing of elite athletes including Cyclists and Triathletes.

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