We’ve all got our reasons for not being as physically active as we should. Typically, low energy level, time, and other lifestyle constraints affect our decision to hit the gym. But according to a study from the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, there’s another reason women aren’t engaging in exercise as much as they’d like.
Seventeen percent of women reported that the breast was a barrier to physical activity participation. I can’t find the right sports bra and I am embarrassed by excessive breast movement were the most significant breast-related setbacks recorded by the study.
It’s no wonder women experience this obstacle when considering the unique nature of female breast tissue. According to this article from the New York Times, a recent study by the Research Group in Breast Health discovered that “unsupported female breasts — that is, those not contained within a bra — oscillate as much as eight inches in space when a woman runs, and not just up and down, but also side to side, forward and backward.” Wow. That’s a lot of motion!
This is no surprise to Renelle Braaten, founder and president of ENELL, a company whose purpose is to create state-of-the-art, high-quality performance sports bras for women C cup or above so that they have the opportunity to fully participate in an active lifestyle.
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For women, the right sports bra is often the most important piece of gear no matter what sport you do. But because the requirements for running are different than those of yoga, or cycling, or Zumba, it’s hard to find one bra that works for everything you want to do. That’s why I have about 20 sports bras in my closet (I know, I know) and I’m not alone: When I polled my female friends I found that most had somewhere between 3 and 30+ sports bras (no joke!).
But it is possible to cull that number at least a little. LaJean Lawson, PhD, a sports and exercise expert who has consulted sports bra makers for a couple of decades, suggests trying on a sports bra before buying it so you don’t get strapped with a not-quite-right bra. (Ordering several from a shop with a liberal return policy works too!) Before committing, put your over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder through this series of tests:
- The bend over: Lean forward and see if your cleavage spills over the top. This is ultra important in yoga, which has a ton of upside down poses, but spillover can also be an indication that the bra doesn’t fit right and won’t contain your assets during jumping and running.
- The bounce: Jump up and down and watch your reflection in the mirror. If your cleavage moves more than one inch up and down this isn’t the right level or support or size for you.
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I had taken off on my morning run one day and gotten pretty far from home before I’d realized I had forgotten my sports bra. Oops. I laughed and just finished my run as it clearly wasn’t going to make a big difference for me. However, I am just now realizing that this is not even an option for other female runners. For women who have larger chests, not only is running very uncomfortable, it can actually be very damaging to their body.
Kelly Turner of KellyTurnerFitness.com alerted me to some stark truths about the harm running can do to breasts.
“It’s primarily just an annoyance, but not properly supporting your breasts, or wearing an ill-fitted sports bra, can potentially be harmful to the tissues of the breast over time. Running pulls on the breast in all directions: in, out, up, down and side-to-side. This movement can weaken the connective tissue that supports the breasts causing it to lose elasticity and even permanently damage your breasts.”
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By Chelsa Skees
Memorial Day has passed and officially marked the beginning of summer. If you haven’t already started, it’s time to get in shape to fit into those itsy bitsy teeny weeny little polka dot bikinis!
For lack of better options, women, including myself, used to workout in old ripped tee shirts and sweatpants which had been cut into shorts. However, the tides have changed in terms of sportswear and workout attire. Just as we have evolved our understanding of our bodies and exercise, workout clothing has changed as well. They have been designed to deliver us the best experience while exercising – from wicking away sweat and keeping us cool to increasing our performance to be the best that we can be.
I was never one to buy clothing to workout in, it all sounded so silly; “you mean, I am supposed to buy this expensive garment just to sweat in?!”. Nonetheless, I quickly realized after becoming a lover of spin classes and running to competing in biathlons and triathlons, that it is important to have the proper gear. That being said, it can be daunting to find suitable gear that you feel good about wearing, especially if you are a beginner to this active world.
Here is a list of curated products tested and approved by yours truly. They will not only provide the best performance but you will feel just as great about wearing them as your workout will make you feel.
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Oh sports bras. They’re supposed to be a little cocoon of fitness protection, but more times than not end up feeling like a straight jacket for our breasts. They’re impossible to deal with. Too loose, too tight, too itchy, too sticky, you’d frankly rather just go without. But no one wants to deal with those repercussions. Not you nor the wide-eyed onlookers at the gym.
Recently we saw a tweet in which @KSJILF announced the trauma caused to her by her sports bra. “GET IT OFF ME! GET IT OFF ME! OMGGETITOFF!!! – me almost having a psychotic break while trying to get a sweaty sports bra off.” After we asked her about the experience she said “They are the chastity belt for the chesticles. An ugly necessity.”
She got a response from @TriMeOn that told of a similar situation in which she had to get scissors and cut herself out of the sports bra. We can only hope it wasn’t an expensive one!
The howling laughter that followed this exchange came only because we fully connected with what she was going through in that moment. Hot and sweaty after a workout, trying to get in the shower, and for the love this contraption just will not come off! One arm trapped up the left side, another wandering around the right, your hips and neck wiggling just hoping something will shift and give. What woman hasn’t been there? So it got us wondering, what’s the worst thing your sports bra ever did to you? These are tales from the FitCrypt.
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