If you are a female exerciser, one of the most important items in your workout wardrobe is your sports bra. While you COULD wear a regular bra to the gym, you will be much more comfortable and better supported if you opt for a well-fitting, specialist sports bra.

The need for support

Regardless of the size of your breasts, exercise will make them bounce up and down. That bouncing is not only uncomfortable and distracting, it can also cause damage to something called the Cooper’s ligament. If this ligament becomes stretched or otherwise damaged, the natural elastic support that hold up your breast will disappear and, subsequently, your assets will sag and no one wants that!

Also, there is some evidence that suggests women who do not wear a supportive bra during intense exercise, especially high-impact activities such as running, jumping or aerobics classes, are at increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Many women, especially those that are well-endowed in the chest department, often complain that high impact exercises are uncomfortable and even painful. This discomfort can be limited to the chest but may also include the upper back. A sports bra can prevent this pain and allow women who previously steered clear of high impact exercise to take up and enjoy things like running.

So what should you look for in a good sports bra?

Sports bras have come a very long way since they were invented back in 1977. A female jogger constructed the first sports bra by sewing two jockstraps together – how’s that for innovative! Fast forward to the 21st century and, thankfully, things have improved significantly and there are lots of makes and designs to choose from.

It’s obvious but still needs saying, a good sports bra should be supportive – that’s the whole point. That means it should be snug but not too tight and keep your breasts firmly but gently in place. Straps should be wide enough to spread the load but not so wide that they are restrictive. The straps should stay in place and not fall off your shoulders – not only would that mean you are missing out on essential support but lose straps can also be very annoying and distracting. While some sports bras are adjustable, others are not so make sure you buy the type that suits you best.

The material should be elastic enough to stretch for comfort but also breathable to help keep you cool.

Sports bras are available in plain colours and conservative designs that are ideal for wearing under other workout tops but there are also some great-looking bras that can be worn alone. Others are built into workout tops.

Wearing a sports bra will make exercise much more comfortable and also keep your breasts healthy so don’t skimp on this essential piece of exercise clothing. Make sure that, whatever your workout, you always wear a good sports bra.