The Basics of Sports Bras: Getting Your High Impact Sport On Comfortably
Flat-chested or big-busted, A - DD, no matter how you define your breasts, we all need a good high impact sports bra for sports like running, tennis or mountain biking. In fact, there's actually a scientific explanation for why a supportive sports bra is necessary. Women have Cooper's ligaments, those suspensory ligaments that essentially hold up your breasts and keep their size and shape no matter during all forms of movement. Once those ligaments are stretched, there's no going back to perky. A good, high impact sports bra protects those ligaments from stretching. A really great bra is both supportive and comfortable.
Minimizing the "bounce factor" is slightly different depending on cup size. A and B cups can go with compressions bras that compress the breasts against the chest for restricted movement. The ones with a scoop back or racer back are perfect for this size. But do avoid thin, spaghetti straps that provide little to no support.
C and D cups should go with compression/encapsulation bras that tend to be both supportive and comfortable. Encapsulation bras have separately molded cups for each breast. So while compression bras that minimize the up and down bounce, encapsulation bras reduce up and down bounce and the bounce in other directions. Working as a team, encapsulation/compression bras work nicely for a C cup on a long run or a D cup biking through the mountains.
Stick to encapsulation bras if you are a D cup and above. A recent study conducted for the annual meeting for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences researched women with bra sizes from A to JJ as they performed all sorts of high impact exercise. They found that the bounce factor of women's breasts during exercise moves a vertical distance of up to around eight inches. If a pair of D cup breasts weigh about 15 to 23 pounds, they are definitely going to need the support an encapsulation bra offers.
Comfort is a necessity for women of all breast sizes. The first element of comfort is band comfort. The bottom edging of the bra that gives you support is the band. Wider bands are much more supportive than sports bras with thin bands. It shouldn't be so tight that it digs into your skin but not so loose that it leaves a gap anywhere. Shoulder straps go by the same principle - the wider, the better. Straps should have minimal stretch, but don't cut into your sensitive shoulders. There shouldn't be any gaps under the underarms or the front top seam of the bra. Above all, shoulder straps should fit comfortably.
You'll also want to check out the underwire of your sports bra. It should be flexible enough to move with your body when you lunge across the tennis court. Finally, be aware of the bra's material. You want a wicking fabric that keeps the moisture away from your skin to avoid irritation and odors.
Compression, encapsulation or a combination of the two, there sports bra is best suited for you. ActivewearUSA.com has a wide variety of comfortable bras of all varieties that will allow you to engage in your choice of high impact sports.