Maina Ndung'u is a fashion enthusiast and has been a fashion consultant and blogger since February 2015.
We all seem to be reluctant when it comes to buying sports bras. Firstly, they are expensive. Secondly, we have the notion that they might not be necessary. However, any activity must have its own toolkit. The big question is, must you wear a sports bra when working out?
In this article, we shall answer these questions:
- Why ladies exercise without a sports bra.
- What happens if you don’t wear a sports bra?
- Can you wear a normal bra for exercise?
- What are the qualities of a good workout bra?
- What can you use instead of a sports bra?
Working Out Without a Sports Bra
Not wearing a sports bra during exercise is not unusual. But why do ladies work out with no sports bra? Some reasons are highlighted below:
- Not willing to invest in a sports bra
- Girls with small breasts think they don’t need a sports bra
- Some women use built-in support
- Using a normal bra instead of a sports bra
- Lack of awareness
- The fear that sports bras are uncomfortable
- Uniboob or flattening effect
The Result of Exercising Without a Bra
Working out without any bra at all can have devastating consequences on your breasts. Each breast is an independent external organ that is connected to the body only by skin and delicate ligaments.
When your body bounces back and forth, the contents of the bust, which is mainly fat and fluids, move in all directions to stretch this natural support. During and after exercise, you can feel pain and discomfort within the bust. This pain can spread to the shoulders and upper back.
With repeated exercise with no bra, there are long-term consequences. These supportive tissues, including the skin, are stretched and cannot return to their original shape. This leads to sagging breasts and stretch marks.
Can You Wear a Regular Bra When Working Out?
Ordinary bras do a very good job of supporting your bust against gravity. But this is possible only when your body is not bouncing. During high impact activities like running, a normal bra cannot prevent your breasts from bouncing back and forth.
Research has shown that your performance in sports can be affected by the type of bra you wear. In the long run, women who wear the wrong bras to workouts can have low morale. This might lead to frequent absenteeism. In extreme cases, such ladies may quit sports altogether.
What Kind of Bra Should You Wear for Exercise?
It all depends on your breast size and the type of exercise. There are basically two types of sports bras: compression and encapsulation.
- Compression sports bras work by pressing the bust against the chest. They are good for small breasted women. Those with medium-sized chests can still use these types of bras when doing low impact activities.
- Encapsulated sports bras work by surrounding each breast individually as in a normal bra. They are more effective in deterring breast movement during exercise.
Some sports bra manufacturers make sports bras which combine both encapsulation and compression. These are even more efficient than encapsulation alone bras.
Sports bras are also categorized according to the impact level that they can handle. There are low impact, medium impact, and high impact sports bras. You should match your activities to the right type of bra. Because sports bras are made specifically for exercise, there is no need to risk wearing any other type of bra. It’s always better to be sure rather than sorry.
Sports Bra Alternatives
There are no proper sports bra alternatives. However, you can use plan B when you can’t easily locate your workout bra. I must emphasize that the following alternatives are not meant to replace your sports bra.
- Bikini top
- Stretch tank top
- Ribbed crop top
- Tank top with a built-in bra
- Push-up bra
- Men’s compression vest
- Under-wire full figure bra
- Combining two bras
Note: Only use these in case of an emergency. Be careful not to get used to exercising in them.
Fitted Sports Bras Are a Must
It’s very clear that the majority of athletes cannot run or jog without a properly fitting and comfortable pair of shoes. Reason being that a pair of running shoes is vital. But we sometimes assume that a sports bra is not. And we are all wrong.
The true state of affairs is that a properly fitting sports bra is an indispensable part of an active woman’s toolkit. You should, therefore, make sure that you are wearing the correct sports bra when working out.
Maina Ndungu (author) from Thika, Kenya on September 17, 2018:
Thanks renee21 for your feedback. I hope you're now surer than ever that you do the right thing by wearing a sports bra during workouts.
Tori Leumas on September 17, 2018:
This is a great article. I like to workout, and I always make sure I wear a sports bra when I do.