High-impact exercise, such as running, places tension on the supporting structures of the breast, which can result in pain and a less efficient running style. There are no muscles in the breast. The only supporting structures are the skin and ligaments. It is thought that sagging, which is irreversible, occurs when these ligaments are overstretched. Without "built-in" support, breasts bounce up and down freely, which can cause pain and discomfort. University research has found that excessive breast movement can result in heavier, injury-promoting landings. Many women avoid exercise because of breast discomfort, breast pain and feeling self-conscious about their breasts.
Professor Joanna Scurr, who heads University of Portsmouth's Research Group in Breast Health (RGBH), says:
Exercising in a well-fitted sports bra to protect your breasts is just as important as running in the right type of trainers.
The breast has limited natural support, and unsupported movement causes the breasts to move: up-down, in-out, and side-to-side. During running this multi-directional breast movement can be as much as 15cm or 6 inches. It can cause breast pain, which affects one in three women, according to a University of Portsmouth study. Breast movement can also be embarrassing and put women off running. Breast movement is not only an issue for larger-breasted women. A well-fitted supportive sports bra for A cup-sized women can reduce breast movement by more than 50%.
There are three types of sports bra:
- compression (pushing the breast against the chest)
- encapsulation (lifting and separating each breast)
- a combination of both.
Like running shoes, sports bras should be replaced every 6 - 12 months to perform at their best.
Luckily at Running Form we provide a comprehensive fitting service to help you choose the bra for you. Our staff are trained by Brooks who sell the fantastic Moving Comfort Bra Collection. Visit us in store or on line for more details!