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.
“An ill-fitting or unsupportive sports bra, especially while engaging in sports or strenuous activity, can cause premature sagging of the breasts and stress on your back muscles,” she told DietsInReview.com. She explained that this can cause breast, back, shoulder, and arm pain. “It can also cause headaches, indentation, scarring, chafing and/or improper posture.”
But are women willing to invest in, or even attempt to find, a properly-fitted sports bra? This may especially be a challenging question for women who don’t have large breasts, and may not realize that smaller chested women risk damage to the breast tissue because of the jostling, pulling, and disruption a workout causes.
“You would not run in just any old shoes, so why run in any old bra? Today, a good sports bra is and should be an essential piece of athletic equipment,” said Renelle. “It’s important for women no matter what their breast size to find a bra that allows them to do their favorite workouts without pain, discomfort, or feeling self conscious. If you have to wear multiple bras to get the right amount of support, it’s time to look for a different bra.”
Whether you’re starting a brand-new workout routine, ramping up one that’s well established, or coming back to the gym after a hiatus, one thing is clear — you’ll need more than just moral support. It’s definitely worth the time, and perhaps a small financial investment, to find a bra that works so you can focus on your workout.