Sports Bras for Ordinary and Olympic Athletes

  |   By Elisabeth Dale

Sports bras aren't the first thing I think about when exercising. I hate working out indoors when I could be running outside in a park or on the beach. But we’re having a mini-heat wave in Southern California so I’ve been doing my laps on the treadmill at an air-conditioned gym.

The good news is that I’ve been inspired and enthralled by the Olympic events broadcasting non-stop on all their wide-screen TVs. The bad news is that I’m surprised by the number of women who work out without wearing much breast support in the form of a supportive sports bra. You wouldn't see professional athletes take such risks by not keeping "the girls" contained, especially when the rest of their toned and muscular bodies are in play.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been known to put off shopping for this kind of gear myself. I have a couple of ratty bras that should be tossed in the garbage. I could also use some new running shoes. It’s an investment in both time and money. But the down side is the damage I do to my breast tissue if I don’t invest in quality garments. It's even more crucial to protect the delicate growing tissue of adolescent girls. Researchers believe sports bras should be required athletic equipment for all female students participating in physical activities. I'd like to blame my three pregnancies for turning my once perky boobs into saggy sacks. But, in reality, it was my constant battle with weight changes, decades of cigarette smoking, and exercising without two sturdy cups holding me up. It's no wonder that the first jog bra was fashioned from two athletic supporters.

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So what’s the best way to protect your boobs? Pick an encapsulating over a compression bra. That first style is one where each breast has it’s own separate pocket or place, rather than smooshing both down into one uni-boob. Be sure you buy the right size. Be wary of choosing your sports bras from the same department where you shop for stylish yoga pants and tops. If at all possible, get fitted by a professional. Look for specialty sports stores (like Title Nine), or manufacturers that make fit their mission (brands like BodyRockMoving Comfort, and Panache, for example). Don’t ignore what’s best for your body. You wouldn’t buy cheap or ill-fitting running shoes, so why skimp on the best breast support?

What sports bras would you recommend? Do you invest in your chest when working out?

Image credit: Panache Sports Bra

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