Which type of bra to wear for exercising?

A number of my female friends have asked me what type of bra they should wear for sports and exercising. Understandably, many of them think that the best bra to wear is a sport bra - that's what sports apparel makers want us to think so that we would pay exorbitant prices for a few piece of clothes sewn together (incredibly easy to make!) that unfortunately provide little support against breasts sagging. The sports bra is supposed to work by squeeze the breasts tightly against the chest to minimise up/down/left/right bouncing. They also have wider straps to provide support. However, they usually do not come with underwires to prevent breasts from migrating lower down the chest with age. Regardless of the cup size, I think underwire is very important - even A cup breasts can sag! And during certain times of the month, the breasts feel tender and it can feel slightly painful to have them jumping up and down too much.

I heard from fitness trainers that some women do not even wear any bra in the gym. Ya, sure it's nice for guys to ogle at now but 5 years down the road when it's saggingdon't blame them for puking.

High impact exercises
These refer to exercises where force or impact is directed into the muscles or the joints during the activity, e.g. running, basketball, soccer, skipping rope, etc.

Bra recommendation:
- Ideally, wear a sports bra that is underwired. Unfortunately, it's not easy to find. The popular brands don't manufacture such bras for some reason unknown to me.
- So if you cannot find an underwired sports bra, wear a normal underwired bra. The straps must be tight. On top of the bra, wear sports bra or a running top with inner support, i.e. a built-in sports bra.

Low impact exercises
These activities are performed with the body placed in a stable, stationary or controlled position without high amount of force or impact on the muscles or joints, e.g. swimming, yoga, pilates, resistance training in the gym, etc.

Note: low impact is not the same as low intensity. E.g. swimming can be high or low intensity depending on how fast you swim.

Bra recommendation:
- A sports bra only without underwire is fine. Sports bras make you look flat chested so I recommend wearing an underwired bra inside to make your breasts look nicer. If you don't want your nipple showing up through the bra it would help to have another layer of cloth but if you do please go right ahead.
- A normal underwired bra with a normal t-shirt or tank top. Top should be fitting if you don't want people looking into it when you bend down.

As with all bras, make sure you are wearing the right size of bra. If the bra is too big, you won't be getting any support at all. The sports bra must be tight enough to be difficult to remove (if it's a one-piece).

Related post:
[Getting the right bra size]
[Do bras cause breast cancer?]


Anonymous said...

People say that wearing sports bra over a long period of time reduces th breast size .
How true is that ?

Chai said...

nice.....err...article i mean...lol

Yu-Kym said...

I don't know how true but I won't be experimenting on myself!

Anonymous said...

actually i think wire is not so suitable.. i've tried jogging w bra that has wires and they are really uncomfortable. the best is wearing an exercise top that has inner padding because it has a rubber band to support the breast. same concept for sports bra. i personally think sports bra or padded exercise tops is best.

Yu-Kym said...

I always wear underwired bras (except at home). Perhaps some women can't get used to wires. A good-fitting underwired bra isn't uncomfortable for me. If the band is too tight/loose or the wires don't (under)circle the bust properly then it would be uncomfortable. I suggest you try different brands and cuttings to find out which suits you. The padding and rubber band does not provide much support.

Anonymous said...

hmm.. yes thats quite true as well! thanks for the advice ;)