If you wear bras, making sure they’re well-fitted is basically the most important thing you can do.
A properly fitted bra can make you feel more comfortable, provide better support, and even mitigate things like back and shoulder pain. So, getting your bra fitted properly – and semi-regularly – is a no-brainer.
But not many of us pay the same care and attention to our sports bras.
Which is actually really counter-intuitive, because when we’re working out or playing sport, our breasts need even more support than in regular life.
Ahead of the Olympics, Team GB’s female athletes have been fitted with individually designed sports bras to ‘enhance their performance.’
According to recent research, 75% of elite athletes have never been fitted for a sports bra, while 26% said breast pain had affected their performance. 70% said they would like further help to improve their breast health.
And if that’s the country’s most elite sports stars, you can imagine it is an even more worrying picture among the general population.
Sport’s Direct’s recent Equal Play report found that 26% of young women feel put off taking part in sport because of their kit, twice as many as boys, so it’s clear inadequate kit is a very real barrier to girls and women in sport.
In light of these findings, the fitness retailer has announced the launch of a dedicated Bra Studio and bra finder tool at the re-opening of its Oxford Street flagship store.
The launch is part of the retailer’s long-term Equal Play commitment, to provide better support for females participating in sport.
As the sporting industry responds to the requirements for its female athletes at an elite level, Sports Direct say they have a responsibility to ensure sports women at grassroots have the same support.
The new space is the first of its kind in the UK. It is designed to ensure all women, no matter their level of ability, have access to the expertise and correct bras they need for their chosen sport.
‘Having the right bra fitted and access to the right kit is hugely important for athletes like me as it can make or break a great performance,’ says Team GB Olympic Weightlifter and Equal Play ambassador, Zoe Smith. ‘With weightlifting, it’s really key to have a supportive bra, so your back isn’t impacted or put under unnecessary strain.
‘Not having the right kit is a huge barrier for young women and it’s important brands and retailers do their bit to support women at all levels, ensuring they feel comfortable and confident to train fiercely.’
A Sports Direct spokeswoman adds: ‘Bras are one of the most important pieces of kit for women who are exercising or playing sport, especially if the workout is at a medium or high intensity.
‘Ensuring that the fit is right can make all the difference. The right sports bra ensures that you feel comfortable, confident and supported while exercising. More importantly, a sports bra which fits correctly will also help to prevent injury.
‘If girls and women feel comfortable in their kit, they’re going to feel comfortable participating in sports and giving it their all.’
What to look for when choosing a sports bra
‘If I could advise just one thing, I would say that it is important to know what’s right for you and to get to know your own body,’ says Mari Thomas, founder of Maaree sports bras.
‘What one person may think is good about a sports bra for them, may not be right for you. There’s no one-bra-suits-all out there.
‘Learn about the different types of sports bras out there and get to know what feels and performs well for you. If you are selecting a sports bra out there solely on how it looks, then you may want to take a step back and think “actually, will this work for me?”
‘Don’t get me wrong, how a bra looks is also an important factor. I mean, if you don’t feel good in it, then you’re probably not going to wear it. But it shouldn’t be the main or only factor you base your purchase on.’
The key things that the experts suggest is to ensure that the band of the bra sits firmly beneath your breasts on your rib cage, and the straps should sit on your shoulders.
It should be fitted, but not so tight that you can’t breathe. Make sure the bra isn’t digging into your skin. A common warning sign that your sports bra is the incorrect fit is if flesh is bulging out from either under your arms or above your breasts.
For optimal cooling and comfort, opt for sweat-wicking fabrics, rather than cotton, and the best sports bra should be both stretchable – so you have a greater range of movement – and sturdy – so it can endure impact.
Credit: Original article published here.