You have your exercise gear for the gym ready but have you given a thought to what lies beneath?

The right breast support is a must during a workout, especially a high-impact one. Lack of support can lead to back pain, discomfort, and tissue damage, ultimately resulting in stretch marks and sagging. A wrong fit can also cause headaches, indentation, scarring, chafing and/or improper posture. And never make the mistake of thinking that small breasts don’t need bras; the smallest sizes can experience permanent damage to connective tissue without proper support.

Bra checklist: What should you look for when you go shopping for a sports bra?  Apart from a design and style that fits you perfectly and flatters your shape, look at bras in a lightweight and breathable performance material. Check the seams, as they are often responsible for major discomfort due to chafing. Ensure that the bottom band sits well underneath your breasts as this is the foundation of proper support.

Get the right fit: The perfect fit is a must for proper functioning and comfort. Women with larger cup sizes should consider sports bras offered in cup/band sizing. Those with a C cup or larger should look for a high-impact bra, one that provides support and allows for movement. Thicker straps and adjustable bands work well. Ensure that the bra isn’t too low cut; spilling isn’t conducive to strenuous workouts. Lower impact activities such as yoga, pilates and walking need full coverage. Women with small breasts are luckier – they can pick from a variety of styles as long as the band is snug and the bra allows proper coverage.

Take the sports bra test: Pick up the bra if it passes these quick tests. Nothing should spill out when you bend over. You shouldn’t bounce more than an inch when you jump up and down. Pumping your arms should feel comfortable. Nothing pokes you in the back when you lean against the wall. Last but not the least, take a few deep breaths to ensure that the band provides support but doesn’t constrict breathing.

Replace regularly: Experts suggest that you check your sports bra sizing often as a woman’s body keeps changing, especially if she works out consistently. It’s a good idea to replace your sports bra as often as you replace your running shoes – every 500 km.

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Written by Roshini Gilbert

Roshini Gilbert

After a diligent workout plan helped her lose 30kg of post-pregnancy weight, chartered accountant Roshini Gilbert was inspired enough to go from tallying numbers to training others. A freelance personal trainer today, Roshini has been certified by the American Council on Exercises (ACE) for functional fitness and specialises in post-natal weight loss, exercises for low back pain, arthritis and osteoporosis. She also has REHAB Trainer certification from Australia for rehabilitative exercises and has trained with reputed sports physiotherapist Ulrik Larsen in corrective exercises and injury management. In HealthifyMe, Roshini has found a collaborator with a common cause – making people fit to live life to the fullest. Her assessment of how fit you are is based on three broad guidelines — stamina, body age (a person who looks way older than his age can’t be deemed healthy) and lifestyle (beware, those with bad eating habits and sedentary behaviour). Prepare yourself mentally first and then your body will follow, she says, of the opinion that if you want to change something about yourself then you need to challenge yourself to do it. Are you up for it?

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