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Let's talk Boobies
Kirk Padmore

Let’s Talk Boobies

by Avril Harry, RN, BSc Oncology Nursing (U.W.I.)

Most evenings as I make my exit from my office I see many ladies of all shapes and sizes in fitness gear making an attempt to engage in their evening exercise routine. Whilst good running shoes and comfortable athletic gear is important; a common mistake made by most of these ladies is that little consideration is given to a seemingly insignificant undergarment, that of a sports bra. Believe it or not most of those ladies that jogged around the park, unfortunately wore regular everyday fashion bras. This is a definite no no.

Some may say, well, what's the big deal? I can tell you, I see countless women daily who verbalize that they experience some form of breast discomfort and even in some cases experience breast pain, so excruciating that overtime it affects their activities of daily living.

Let’s briefly examine what happens during physical activity. With each running stride, breasts move not only up and down but also side to side and in and out, tracing a butterfly pattern or a figure eight pattern as some literature document. Unsupported, the average A cup travels about an inch and a half in each direction and a D cup bounces two to three inches. The thing is, our breast are made of soft tissue, not muscle. It's the surrounding skin and internal Cooper's ligaments, a web of springy coils that are built to rebound until jumping, genetics and gravity catch up with them.

Exercising without supporting the ligaments stretches them so there's premature loss of elasticity and hence causes sagging, stretch marks and can also induce breast pain. Unsupported breast movement can also cause upper back and neck tension particularly in larger busted women. This is because the back muscles have to work harder to keep the shoulders from being pulled forward by the weight of the breast. Wearing a proper sports bra is therefore very very important for high energy, high impact sports.

The reality is that with a good sports bra, this degree of movement can be cut in half, which is key to sparing the support structures in your breast and can also reduce the degree of sag to one's breast overtime.

A healthy diet and lifestyle are associated with overall good health. There are now studies which indicate that diet and lifestyle may play a role in averting breast cancer and its recurrence. The following are noteworthy lifestyle adjustments to consider:

  • Just like an everyday bra, much is needed to check the fit of your sports bra in order to ensure the best possible support and performance.
  • It should have a secure firm fit around the rib cage with the underneath sitting comfortably under the bust.
  • Each breast should be fully enclosed within the cup, with no spillage at the top or sides.
  • The bra should fit snugly around the chest and underarms without digging into the skin.
  • Get extra support for high intensity exercises. Look for supportive stitching around each cup, this is referred to as breast encapsulation bras, and are particularly beneficial for cardio like jogging and tennis.
  • Choose a sports bra with adjustable straps especially if you do a variety of exercises for example if you do yoga or cardio as part of your exercise regime. This promotes comfort and support relevant to the particular workout you are engaging in.

So ladies it’s my hope that you will make the extra effort and invest in the health of your boobs by investing in a suitable sports bra and truly complete your exercise attire.

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