A well-designed sports bra can alleviate pain and limit breast motion during exercise.
A well-designed sports bra can alleviate pain and limit breast motion during exercise. Cbarnes Photography

Bra study stays abreast of designs

BRA shoulder straps have been identified as the biggest deterrent to women not wearing a sports bra when exercising.

The results were featured in a study within the May 2012 issue of the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, published by Sports Medicine Australia.

Despite being shown that well- designed sports bras are effective in limiting excessive breast motion and related breast pain, less than half of the survey respondents wore a sports bra during physical activity.

Deterrents to wearing a sports bra included: shoulder straps cutting in; shoulder straps slipping; fasteners digging in; bra creeping up; bra cost; bra stitching rubbing; the look of the bra; the bra neckline; the bra fabric, colour and brand.

Co-author of the study, Professor Julie Steele, said the findings suggested consumers were dissatisfied with sports bra designs.

"Although education plays a large role in improving sports bra usage, the results also imply that consumers believe that current sports bra designs need to be improved if women are to wear them more frequently while they are exercising," Prof Steele said.

To help educate and encourage women to wear a sports bra while undertaking physical activity, Sports Medicine Australia and the Breast Research Australia team in the University of Wollongong's Biomechanics Research Laboratory have combined to produce a free do-it-yourself guide to bra selection for sport and exercise.

Called Exercise and Breast Support, the brochure is a guide to understanding breast support during physical activity and how to determine whether your bra is fitted correctly.

"The benefits of exercise have no doubt been extensively documented," Prof Steele said.

"By encouraging and empowering women with the information relevant to ensure correct (and comfortable) bra fit, this seeks to break down one of the barriers confronting women when exercising."

The exercise and breast support fact sheet is available to download at sma.org.au.

 

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