How to find the sports bra that best suits you

Autumn is almost here. There is no better time than this to breathe new life to your routine of exercise, just before welcoming the arrival of fresh air and lush exteriors. But before you even grab the rope or dust off your trainers for the season running, it is important (rather, essential) that you are equipped with the correct sports bra.

Sports bras are often a side note, and most women do not wear the appropriate without being aware”, dice Laura Tempesta, an expert in sports bras and founder of Bravolution. “During exercise the impact on the chest intensifies and wearing the wrong size will cause pain and discomfort.” And it’s not just about short-term benefits: the consequences of wearing a sports bra inadequate, especially in the neck and back, they accumulate over time.

“Not having enough support, as well as continuous compression of the neck muscles such as the upper trapezius, the levator scapulae, and the pectoral muscles can cause chronic postural overload“, Explain Emily Kiberd, chiropractor and founder of the Urban Wellness Clinic. “This will put excess stress on the structures of the neck leading to tension headaches, muscle tightness, rapid and shallow breathing, anxiety and nerve pain.”

Since find the right amount of elasticity down to the nuances of the size of the strips and bottom support, here’s your guide to choosing the best sports bra for optimal health and comfort.

Take care that it does not stretch too much

There is a very simple rule of thumb for tuning in general: “The more a sports bra stretches, the more your chest will move”Explains Tempest. “Sports bras have to be tighter than everyday bras, but not so tight that you feel limited or feel like you can’t breathe.” Although a certain model seems more comfortable to you because it is elastic, the likelihood of causing breast pain increases with breast displacement. The amount of stretch you can withstand will depend on the impact of the activity. “For yoga you can afford something more elastic,” says Tempesta. “But when it comes to running, any excess stretch in the straps, cups or even the bottom will result in excessive breast movement. It gives me the creeps every time I see a woman running around in a bra that was clearly designed for yoga”. When it comes to weighing the options, it is ultimately about finding the right combination of encapsulation and compression, especially in the case of large breasts, in which case they need to be restrained in addition to compression to reduce movement. Having said that, you have to be careful to choose one that is not too little. “It will compress the muscles in your upper back, which are often tense if you spend the day hunched over in front of a computer,” says Kibard, adding that it will also prevent your lymphatic drainage (the body’s natural system for getting rid of inflammation). and toxins) work properly.

Know the size of your cup

“Women often assume that their bra size is fixed,” says Tempesta. “But it’s a mistake to just buy your normal bra size. Bras are like any other type of garment. You will not always have the same size and style in each manufacturer”. If you want a robust support, the ideal is to avoid exposing the breast tissue. “If you can see the cleavage, the bra is not your size or is not shaped appropriately for your body,” she says. If you are going to use the bra for a high intensity exercise, you should try it in the fitting room running without leaving the site, in addition to jumping. Or better yet, use the slow motion function of your smartphone to record yourself as you move and observe how your breast moves inside the bra. “You will be amazed at how much breast tissue comes out of an inappropriate bra viewed in slow motion”, Tempesta assures.

Make sure the grip is firm

Most of your bra support should come from the bottom”Tempesta insists. “If it’s too loose or not providing enough support, the burden of the restraint will fall on the shoulder straps, causing shoulder and back pain.” To make sure the band is firm enough, Tempesta recommends pulling the band from the back to calculate how much space it leaves. “It should not be separated more than 2.5 cm to perform high impact exercises,” she specifies. “You need enough space to dilate your lungs, but the last thing you want is for the support to move around, as it will cause irritation. Ideally, the band should be well attached”.

Pay special attention to the strips

One of the most common mistakes Tempesta runs into is that the strips are not the proper length or tend to be too thin. “Usually, wider straps help to distribute pressure and weight better“, Explain. “Fine shoulder straps dig in and can hurt.” When the latter happens, the compression from the thin strips constricts the brachial plexus, “an important bundle of nerves that runs from your neck to your arm,” Kiberd cautions. As far as the range of the strap is concerned, it is important that the design does not rise too high on the neck, as it can cause shoulder and neck pain. As for the design, as long as the strips are not too thin, crossover models tend to provide more stability and postural supportBecause they “maintain a better shoulder posture,” says Kiberd.

Look for a breathable fabric

When it comes to performance textiles, it is a myth that cotton is better than synthetic fabrics for sports use. “Cotton absorbs moisture, but it doesn’t dry quickly,” says Tempesta. Another detail to take into account is how much padding the cups have, since the foam absorbs sweat and does not dry easily. “Excess moisture in the chest area can cause discomfort and irritation”, Tempesta expands. Always opt for breathable materials like microfiber nylon or polyester to “let your skin and muscles breathe as you start to sweat,” says Kiberd.

BUY: sports bra, by Nike (€ 60).

BUY: sports bra, by Sweaty Betty (see price).

BUY: sports bra, by Ernest Leoty (€ 73).

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