Archive for the 'Sports Bras' Category
December 09, 2009
No kidding–breast movement can hurt. Along with America’s obesity epidemic, the average size of women’s breasts has been on the increase. Over the last 15 years, the average bra size has moved from a 34B to a 36C, and some are suggesting we are now approaching 38D as the new average bra size in America. And, with a pair of D cup size breasts weighing in at between 15 and 23 lbs., breast pain during high impact activity is becoming a bigger problem.
Last year, I reported on Dr. Joanna Scarr’s research out of the U.K. Basically, her findings were that breasts move in a sideways, figure-8 kind of movement. And, she discovered that the breasts not only move from side to side, but also in and out from the chest wall. Similar research has been done in Australia by Deirdre McGhee – a sports physiotherapist and graduate student at the University of Wollongong.
McGhee’s research shows that women’s breasts move in a sinusoidal pattern – basically the same finding as Scurr. However, McGhee feels that controlling of this breast movement is more closely tied to how the bra straps are constructed rather than the bra cup construction. As a result, her team is working on the world’s first "smart bra." It will use intelligent materials and electronic textiles to sense breast motion and tighten or loosen appropriate parts of the bra to reduce breast bounce.
All of this is very hush-hush and is in the process of being protected with patents. Their goal is to create a paradigm shift similar to the shift running shoes experienced in the 1970′s. The research is being coordinated with British retailer Marks & Spencer.
I for one am looking forward to seeing what turns up from all this work. As long as it doesn’t need to be plugged in and gets great mileage, I’m ready to try it.
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Posted by Tomima at 11:56am
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June 19, 2009
Let me start with the punchline here: No one knows. Believe it or not, research on what causes breasts to sag has not been done. This fact is probably due to the time involved to find out. You’d be hard pressed to find a woman willing to go without a bra for 10 years all in the name of science – especially if she’s full figured.
So we don’t know if bras prevent the inevitable breast sag. But, here are a few things I do know. My 80 year-young mom has great looking D-cup boobs. Even her gynecologist has commented on how high they are compared to those of other women her age. I too have pretty perky ones. What both of us have in common is that we have always worn a bra. Though I’m a C cup, I really avoid clothing where I can’t wear some kind of bra.
I had the opportunity to work with Joanna Scurr last year. Dr. Scurr is the only one I know currently doing work on breast bounce and movement. Her research shows that our breasts move in a figure-8 motion as we move – especially while running. Though she wasn’t able to measure an increase in sagging, she did discover that breast pain and thus breast movement can be reduced or eliminated by wearing a supportive sports bra. The more support, the less the bounce and thus less breast pain. HerRoom, in fact, is the only website that conducts a bounce test on every sports bra and shows you how much breast bounce to expect when wearing various sports bras.
Our breasts, like our faces and other body parts, are subjected to daily gravity. They will sag. And, since they have little to no muscle tissue, it’s not possible to tone our breasts to make them firm. Wearing a bra may or may not reduce your sag over time, but what a bra can do is put your girls in a more flattering light. A bra can lift, separate, push up, minimize, plump up and generally present your breasts in a more youthful and attractive silhouette to make your clothes look better. And, wearing a bra cuts down on breast pain, reduces jiggle, provides modesty from headlights showing, and makes us more comfortable. All in all, it’s a great idea to wear a bra.
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Posted by Tomima at 11:41am
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October 22, 2008
Did you know there is a woman scientist studying the science of breast bounce? Her name is Dr. Joanna Scurr at the University of Portmouth in the UK. I had the pleasure of meeting Joanna earlier this year when she and I shared a podcast on sports bras and breast bounce. My part of the podcast was sharing the fact that HerRoom.com provides a Bounce Test video on every sports bra that is branded as high impact. From viewing the videos, several on the market are not doing the job. Joanna shared that during high impact, our breasts move in a figure 8 movement up and down (as much as 8.25"), side to side, and also move in and out. Her research showed that no matter what your breast size, wearing a good sports bra in the correct size will reduce or reduce breast pain and diminish the strain on the Coopers ligaments, which help keep your breasts from sagging.
Recently, Dr. Scurr and her breast biomechanics research team have discovered through many interviews with women that embarrassment and/or ignorance are the key reasons for women choosing the wrong type of bra support.
Over a three year study, Scurr confirmed that women tend to purchase bras where the band is too large, and the cup size is too small. This has been the consensus of almost all the bra manufacturers I have spoken with as well. Wearing the wrong size during aerobic activity reduces a woman’s breast support and increases her breast discomfort due to excessive movement. Thus women’s breasts will stretch and sag if not in the proper size sports bra. Adding to this incorrect sizing are women’s false perceptions about what breast size they want to be. Rather than finding the right size, women stick with a size that they feel is socially acceptable. This, of course, is absolute nonsense because no one knows what bra size you are wearing, and the right size will probably make you look thinner and more youthful.
Another interesting point made by Scurr is that women experience breast pain more during acceleration and deceleration of the breasts. So, once a woman is in the zone running for example, consistent breast movement is not as painful as when she starting to run or beginning to slow down. I absolutely agree with this finding because I personally feel more breast pain when doing aerobic activity that is not a consistent repetitive movement.
Women also seem to have some built-in predjudices when it comes to selecting bras for sports activity. Joanna’s team found that many of their interviewees have a stong preference for a certain style of sports bra, and would not consider buying a different style if it deviated from what they thought represented a supportive sports bra. Specifically, many women feel that a sports bra must be one that pulls on over their head and not have a back or front closure. If the sports bra resembles the look of an everyday bra, most women feel its not truly a sports bra. Of course, this is absolutely false. There are many sports bras with openings that provide fabulous support during high impact activity. Just look at the Bounce Test to see this point.
Perhaps the UK is really ahead of the US in this area. Last year, a British Medical Association Conference made a recommendation that a free bra fitting be offered during a physical exam. It is felt that if women are properly fitted, there would be a decrease in the number of unnecessary breast reductions.
Posted by Jan at 10:05am
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