In figuring out which sports bras to buy, there are lots of things to take into account, including the style, fit, color, fabric, and features. But one of the most important considerations is the level of impact involved in the type of exercise you’re doing. As you may or may not know, it’s most important that you wear a sports bra during high-impact exercise. While engaging in medium-impact exercise, it’s advisable to wear a sports bra as well — however, you can probably opt for one that’s a little less heavy duty, depending on your breast size. But what about low-impact exercise? Do you need a sports bra for those types of activities?
In this guide, we’ll reveal everything you need to know about the answer to this common question.
What is low-impact exercise?
According to Greatist, low-impact exercise typically involves less direct force and strain on the joints, thus reducing the risk of injury. It’s typically defined as any kind of exercise during which at least one foot stays on the ground at all times. So, a few examples would include yoga, spinning, using the elliptical machine, swimming, and Pilates. Depending on the nature of the workout, strength training might constitute as low-impact exercise.
This type of exercise is ideal for those who are recovering from an injury or have experienced any kind of joint damage (particularly around the knees). It’s a phenomenal choice for increasing flexibility and strength without putting a ton of stress on the body.
Do I need a sports bra for this kind of workout?
For many reasons, it’s extremely important to wear a sports bra during high-impact exercises, like running, plyometrics, dancing, and aerobics. Not only that, but you’ll need one with extra supportive features, such as a combination compression and encapsulation sports bra. This is because your breasts are more prone to stress during high impact workouts due to the vigorous force exerted. In order to protect the ligaments that keep your breasts looking perky and maintain their shape (called the Coopers’ ligaments), it’s crucial to wear a supportive sports bra that minimizes breast movement.
However, a low impact workout obviously exposes your breasts to less potential strain. Think of it this way: Your boobs are less likely to be bouncing around during a yoga class than they would during a jog. That said, it’s still a good idea to wear a sports bra during low-impact exercise, particularly if you have larger breasts. The fact of the matter is, even cycling and using the elliptical machine can still cause some breast movement, and according to Shape magazine, wearing a sports bra will help to protect your boobs while also warding off any potential discomfort or pain.
“Even the smallest sizes can experience permanent damage to connective tissue over time if you neglect to give them the right support,” Shape Magazine reports.
So if you’ve been thinking about going braless to that Pilates class just because you wear a B cup, you may want to reconsider.
Which sports bra is best for low impact exercise?
Choosing the right bra for your low-impact workouts demands taking your breast size into account. If you wear an A or B cup, a standard compression bra might work for you. A compression bra essentially presses the breast tissue against the chest.
On the other hand, if you wear a C cup and above, you may need the extra support provided by an encapsulation bra. An encapsulation bra encircles and supports each breast individually, thus providing a higher level of support. They tend to be more effective at minimizing breast movement, and thus also at protecting the breasts from potential pain or damage.
Regardless of which type of sports bra you choose, the bottom line is that it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to low-impact exercise. At the very least, a sports bra will provide an extra layer of fabric between your boobs and your workout top, thus preventing your nipples from showing. The most important features to look for are adjustable straps and an adjustable band — the only way to get a flawless fit from your sports bra is to ensure that you can loosen and tighten these as needed. And of course, a perfect fit is crucial to ensuring you get adequate support from your sports bra. Also, it’s a good idea to look for low-impact sports bras that are made with moisture-wicking material. That way, you can stay cool and dry while also preventing any chafing around your boobs during that hot yoga or spinning class.
Related: How To Find A Supportive Sports Bra
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Happy bra shopping!