Thursday, August 9, 2012

Choosing the Correct Sports Bra

So, the more I workout the more I realize I am in desperate need of some new workout clothes. I haven't bought a new sports bra in about four years, since I was a cheerleader in high school, and my body has definitely changed since then. Since then I have had two adorable children, and have gained nearly fifty pounds. Now, four years ago my mother pretty much picked out all of my bras for me, and wasn't the type to spend much on a bra, so here I am a twenty two year old unsure of what exactly I should buy. I do know that I do not want to spend a lot on my new gear, I'd rather save my money so when I do lose weight I can treat myself. So as I sit here with my coffee and WordWorld on in the background I have decided to do a little research on sports bras. I want to know what's best for my chest size, and I'd even like to inform women with smaller chests what's right for them. I know some women will not believe that the clothing you wear can make a difference for your workout, but you have to be able to move properly, and ill-fitting clothing can restrict your movement. It doesn't matter what cup size you have, proper support is key.

Some women out there may find them self question why it is even important to wear a sports bra, well let me tell you. The primary support system for our breasts are called Cooper's Ligaments (check out the picture above) , the secondary support to our breasts is our skin. When breasts are not properly supported during exercise our skin and ligaments stretch, causing your breasts to sag, and when they do there is no turning back, unless you want to fork out quite a bit of money for surgery. Also, wearing no bra or an ill-fitting one can cause breast pain after your workout, and who wants that?
Encapsulation Bra

Compression Bra

According to my research there are two different types of sports bras, encapsulation bras, and compression bras. Encapsulation Bras are constructed with two cups, just like a regular bra, and the compression style bra causes your breasts to be pressed together, flat against your chest in an attempt to reduce motion. As I researched the opinions on which style is best varied, but I did notice a trend, a compression bra will work fine for women with smaller chests, but it doesn't offer enough support for women with larger chest, for women with larger chests (cup size C and up) they recommend to go with an encapsulation style bra.

Fabric, another important factor in choosing the correct bra. The fabric you choose also has an impact on how comfortable the bra is, most sports bras are designed to wick moisture away, but with the right fabric you can also have one that prevents chafing and all around discomfort. It is always important to read the tag before purchasing the bra.

Polyester/Cotton- A blend that provides softness and moisture management.
Cotton/Lycra-A combination of softness and moisture management, that stretches and supports.

Polyester/Cotton/Lycra- This three-fiber blend offers softness, moisture management, support and stretch.

Now that we know how to choose the right type, fabric and why sports bras are important, we can finally start shopping around. Sports bras are sold in many places and you can find them at various prices, as long as you are following the previous guidelines you should be able to find something that works for you. Another tip to remember is to NEVER rely on sizing, always try your bra on, and when you do jump up and down, move side to side, and verify that bra is holding your girls the way it's supposed to, and that the bra fits you properly. The girls should never slide out from underneath, or spill over, and if they do the sizing is not correct for you, if your breasts are spilling over, you should try going up a cup size, if your breasts are trying to escape underneath try going down a band size. I hope this is helping you find what you need, if in the end you find yourself questioning anything just shoot me a comment and I will gladly clarify. Below are some links to websites that sell high-quality, well rated sports bras. Also, you can always check out the local Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl's etc. just make sure you follow the guidelines to find something that is right for you.

Thank you for your time, I hope I helped you, and I learned a lot in this process.

Bri Grim