Sports Bras: Would You Run a Marathon Bra-less?

  |   By Elisabeth Dale

The LA Marathon attracts 25,000 runners every year. I’m not sure how many of those are women, but I saw plenty of sports bra-less female athletes take part in last weekend’s annual race.

I was there as an observer cheering on a good friend who had taken on the challenge of competing in her first, ever marathon. (She finished in record time!) Many of the women running looked like they left their sports bras behind. Boobs of all ages, shapes and sizes were bouncing in every direction. All I could think of was “ouch.”

Many active women find relief from breast pain by wearing a sports bra. But studies show that a good sports bra takes pressure off supporting muscles, can add to a female athlete’s breathing and lung capacity, and helps reduce injuries. Turns out that wearing a well-fitting sports bra provides the same benefit as a great pair of running shoes. You go further, faster, and with fewer risks.

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Surveys show that over 70% of women don’t wear sports bras when exercising. It’s not like they're hard to find. They're sold on-line and in most department stores, at various sporting outlets, and are available in maternity and post-surgical styles. So why aren’t women willing to invest in this essential piece of athletic equipment? For some it may have to do with price. Just like a well-constructed bra, many high quality sports bras can run from $40 to $80. And I need more than one for my athletic wardrobe. A couple of sports bras can easily add up to the price of one pair of name brand running shoes. For me, both are necessary and equal investments.

I’ve been running for about 10 years, have entered a couple of 5K races, but have never considered signing up for a 26 mile marathon. Even though I love running, my distance limit on the gym treadmill is no more than three miles. I can’t imagine going even that short of a distance without supportive shoes and my sturdy sports bra.

What about you? Do you exercise without wearing a sports bra? How much are you wiling to invest in your sports bras?


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