Have you been having trouble lately containing the weight on your chest while running? Or are the golden girls threatening to pop out every time you splint? Do you know how to use a sports bras size chart? Well, worry no more. You are in the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss a few issues pertaining breasts and generally how to handle them as a runner. We’ll also help you pick your perfect sports bra size using the standard sports bras size chart. Let’s get started, shall we?
A Woman’s Breast Anatomy
Mature female breasts contain the mammary glands, which are attached to pectoralis muscles via connective tissue. It is composed of five major parts.
- Ligaments of cooper:
These are fibers of connective tissue that attach your breast to the skin.
- Lobes and lobules:
A healthy breast has between 15-20 lobes. These further divide to form lobules. Milk ducts connect the lobes and lobules. Each lobule contains tiny; hollow sacs called alveoli. For a lactating mother, these ducts carry milk from the alveoli to the nipple.
Secreted fluids travel out of the breast through the tiny openings on the nipple through these canals.
- Fat tissue:
Is composed of adipose tissue, which surrounds the lobules and ducts. It also determines the texture and size of your breast.
Is the dark skin surrounding the nipple.
The Dangers Of Poorly Supported Breasts While Running
Have you had ever run without a sports bra? I bet you already know how uncomfortable it can get. And now that you understand your breast anatomy, let’s see what happens when you don’t support that tissue properly, and keep subjecting it to motion and strains of all types.
Breasts can get heavy depending on their size and also if you’re lactating. When you run without proper support you can cause your body a myriad of problems. These include:
This is precisely common in women with large breasts. A bra that doesn’t fit well causes stress on the back muscles (pectoral girdle), which over time can cause postural disorders and back pain. A restraining bra can cause stiffness to your spine that should be comfortable enough for bending, rotating, and moving.
Bruising and scaring on the shoulders:
This is caused by wearing a bra with thin straps. They dig into the skin. Consequently, you see painful dents, which over time cause scars.
An ill-fitting bra causes strain on your neck because of the pull-down effect of your breasts. When your neck muscles are overworked, you are likely to suffer neck pains.
When you tighten your bra straps too much, they will compress your shoulder nerves and cause trouble.
These are often caused by the wrong posture which results from wearing the wrong bra size. A strain on suboccipital muscles can cause these muscles to be tense and cause headaches. Tight bra straps can also pull your shoulders down putting pressure on your vertebrae at the bottom of your neck causing mild headaches.
Shortness of breath:
You might not notice this, but if the bra is too tight, your breathing quality drops due to restricted movement of the ribs. It gets worse if you’re running. Find the right bra for you.
Wearing wrong bra size over time, may lead to sagging breasts and chaffing.
Know Your Bra Size & The Right Bra For You
After confirming your size using a sports bras size chart, these three checks will help you to ensure you got it all right.
The strap check:
Ensure that the straps are comfortably lying flat on your shoulders and they shouldn’t be too snug or too loose. Use the two-finger rule to test the fit. Slip your index finger and middle finger under the strap. If it’s too tight and digging into your skin, while running, it can get very uncomfortable. If it’s too loose, the straps can cause a lot of friction and chafing. Overall, such a bra won’t give you the maximum support you require.
Overall bra fabric:
Check how the bra is lying on your body. If there are some fabric gathers, pulls, or wrinkles, it means the bra is either too small or too big, hence not the right size for you.
Use the one finger rule. Place your index finger comfortably between your skin and the bra-band. Again, this should not be too snuggly or too loose.
Other fitting checks include;
The jump test:
Jump up and down for a minute then move your arms up and down and look at yourself in the mirror. Are your breasts still comfortably contained in the cup? Your breasts should not be spilling over or bulging on top or sides. If they do, then the bra is too small. It’s time to get the proper bra for you.
Take deep breaths to ensure that the bra is not too constricting. You should be able to breathe comfortably. However, you’ll encounter shortness of breath when you go for a running bra that is too snuggly.
As a rule, avoid with thin straps especially if you have big breasts.
The correct fitting sports bra is ideal for minimizing exercise-induced breast discomfort. Use a sports bras size chart to determine your perfect bra size.
Breast Health 101
As a runner, you’ve ticked the most important box; regular exercise. Concerning your lifestyle, minimize or avoid alcohol and quit smoking. Secondly, eat foods that promote breast health. These include (but not limited to):
- Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, kale, cabbage e.t.c – great antioxidants.
- Citrus fruits, e.g., oranges contain vitamin c, beta-carotene, and folic acid.
- Oily fish rich in omega three fatty acids like salmon.
- Turmeric – lowers estrogen in post-menopausal women and also decreases inflammation.
- Plant based protein – great for fiber and essential phytonutrients.
- Flax seeds – contain lignans, which have antioxidant effects.
As a runner, you are at a lower risk of contracting breast cancer. This is according to recent research by a scientist. So don’t stop running. Instead, use a sports bras size chart and get yourself the perfect sports bra to offer you optimum support while running. You now understand the dangers of letting your breasts lose while running. Don’t be a victim. Act now.