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Less bounce for the ounce...

Image result for sports braCrufts, once again, has brought dog agility to a wider audience and put it under increased scrutiny. For those of you who were at the NEC or watched at home, there's a good chance that you might have commented on some of the handlers as well as the dogs. Be honest. You can't deny that some of the more 'traditionally built' ladies were attracting more attention than their four legged companions. Selaine Messem of LessBounce is concerned that some of our larger ladies are running without adequate support.

In all the excitement and preparation for the event, it is easy to forget ourselves, the owners. Ladies, did you know that your breasts can be permanently damaged if you persist in running without proper support. Research has shown up to 56% of women experience breast pain when exercising. This is due to the large displacement of the breasts, which in addition to the discomfort can cause embarrassment.

The female breast is composed of mammary glands and fatty tissue, covered by skin and attached to the chest wall by ligaments. The muscle is deep so cannot help much in supporting the breast. Depending upon the size and shape of the breasts, they may not get a lot of stability.

The Shock Absorber study at Portsmouth University found that the unsupported bust moves in a figure of eight. This movement is reduced by 38% using an everyday bra, but up to 74% in a sports bra.  The average 36C breast weighs 200-300g and moving uncontrolled this puts significant strain on the outer skin and Cooper's Ligaments, thin bands interwoven into the breast that hold up the bust.  Damage to the bust in this manner may be permanent and irreversible. Over time, experts surmise that ligaments and skin might lose their elasticity, allowing the Cooper's Ligaments to stretch and the breast to sag.

Another important factor to remember when deciding whether to wear a sports bra is the comfort level. Excessive movement may well be causing pain, which although temporary, may prove a distraction when running a course. Whether you are in the ring or at training, if you have unsupported breast tissue bouncing about, it can be pretty uncomfortable. The snug fit of a sports bra relieves the strain on ligaments and can help you concentrate on your tight turns and contacts.

Choosing a sports bra
Increasingly it is possible to find a bra that will give a nice shape under your outfit as well as reducing the bounce whilst running. There is a host of suitable styles and colours available for all shapes and sizes, full busted or flat chested.
  • Crop Top style
  • Non-wired
  • Underwired
  • Front fastening
  • Racer back

When choosing a sports bra to wear on show day, it is probably best to go for one that looks more like a regular bra to enable it to sit under your clothes more comfortably as well as one which is provides the best support and is most comfortable. Shock Absorber and Triumph both produce a good range of reasonably priced sports bras from a 32B through to 44G that will provide shape and support. A specialist supplier such as will be able to provide further guidance on which bra may be most appropriate for you.

Yours sports bra should fit snugly with no bulges or gaps and should significantly reduce breast movement compared to your everyday bra. Everyone’s bust is different so you may need to try a couple before finding the perfect bra for you.

It is not just the larger breasted women who suffer breast pain when running but smaller breasted women can often suffer just as much. So please do look after your own grooming as well to enable everyone to focus on the dog’s performance rather than your own! Remember all eyes are on you and your dog.

About the author
Selaine Messem  was unable to find a good sports bra locally and decided to set up a company to enable women to buy the products they need. She has run the UK’s leading independent sports bra retailer since April 2000. She
has been the Wessex Businesswoman of the Year 2003 and also runner up in Wiltshire Businessperson of the Year 2005 and LessBounce was the winner of the Wiltshire Small Business of the Year 2004.  LessBounce stock the widest range of sports bras in the world.

Selaine teaches aerobics and is a personal trainer. In addition, she trains hard herself having completed the London Marathon and Playtex Moon Walk. She sees over 1000 ladies a week taking part in different activities and, therefore, has a good idea of what works and what doesn’t!

The business, Selaine and her dog Harry are based in Netheravon on Salisbury Plain.

First posted: 09/04/07


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