Know what to look for in a sports bra
say that every woman, regardless of bust size, should use a sports bra for any
type of exercise. This includes low-impact activities like walking or yoga.
Sports bras provide more support than regular bras, and they can help prevent
breast pain and premature sagging. Girls should start wearing a sports bra
whenever their breasts develop and they begin wearing a regular bra.
- Get a personalized fitting when shopping for sports bras, to ensure you get
the right size. Most
of the top-rated sports bras use regular bra sizing, but some come in small,
medium and large sizes. In the latter case, check the size chart on the
manufacturer's site (or on the tag) for more details about sizing and, when in
doubt, try it on.
- Read the tag to determine what sort of
impact (high, medium, or low) the bra is designed for. Keep in mind that
experts usually recommend compression-style bras for A and B cups and
encapsulation bras for C cups and larger, although some bras meant for larger
busts combine encapsulation and compression.
- Look for materials that wick sweat and
breathe. Nearly all sports bras are made with a blend of polyester, Spandex
or nylon, and manufacturers add their own proprietary moisture-wicking
treatment. This is designed to keep sweat away from your body and make vigorous
exercise more comfortable. Avoid all-cotton bras, which become wet and heavy
when they absorb sweat.
How to make sure
a sports bra fits
this shopping strategy to find the best sports bra for your activity and bust
Bring three sizes of
each bra with you. Sizing
may differ slightly between brands, so bringing your usual bra size into the
dressing room with you, plus the next smaller and larger cup sizes, can
eliminate frustrating trips back and forth.
Put the bra on and
scoop your breasts into the cups, then check your appearance in the mirror. If
the cups wrinkle or pucker, they're too big. If flesh bulges out the top or
sides of the cups, or if the seams pinch or cut into your skin, the bra is too
Fasten the bra band
on the loosest hook and take a deep breath. A sports bra should fit a little more
snugly than your regular bra, but not so tightly that it limits your breathing.
Make sure it lays
flat against your chest beneath and between your breasts if the bra has
underwire. The wire shouldn't pinch or poke at all.
Check that the bra
band sits level around your torso, parallel to the ground. If it rides up in the
back or when you lift your arms, you may need a smaller band size.
Slide two fingers
beneath each shoulder strap. If you can't fit two fingers beneath the
straps, they're too tight; if you can fit more than two fingers beneath the
straps, they're too loose. Some sports bras have adjustable straps you can use
to fine-tune this fit.
Simulate the type of
exercise you plan to do. Jump up and down, jog in place or swing your arms. Make
sure you're comfortable with how the bra both looks and feels as you move. Pay
special attention to how much bounce it allows and whether it stays in place as
you jump, twist and turn.
Watch for chafing as
you move around. Pay special attention to the armholes, shoulder straps, closures and seams. If you sweat a lot or plan to use your
sports bra for vigorous sports, experts recommend a seamless sports bra to
replacement of your sports bra
bad news is that once you find the perfect sports bra, you won't be able to keep it forever. Experts
say that most sports bras should last six to 12 months, depending on how often
you wash them. Here's how to care for them:
Wash your sports bras in cold water and
let them air dry whenever possible. Heat can break down the elastic in sports bras, so giving
them the gentle treatment will help prolong their lifespan. If you must put
your sports bras in the dryer, use low heat settings.
Here's when to replace them:
If you lose or gain
weight. Breast size can change dramatically if you lose or gain weight, so purchase new
sports bras if your body weight changes. Likewise, you may need to purchase a
larger, more supportive sports bra if you're pregnant or nursing.
If your sports bra is stretched out or
losing its shape, it's time for a replacement -- no matter how long or short a time you've had it.
If you have a mastectomy. Several
manufacturers, including Amoena and Anita Medical, make sports bras
specifically for mastectomy patients. These bras include pockets for
prosthetics or padding to disguise breast irregularities.