Having competed for many years, Agility has become a huge part of Lesley Short's life. In the past, she had often joked that when she couldn't run anymore she would have a stand selling Sports Bras as a way of continuing to be part of this great community so, when in 2013 she was made redundant, she decided to give it a go.
We all worry about our dog's health and performance when training agility but shouldn't we also take as much care of ourselves. After all, it is a partnership! Apart from generally keeping as fit as we can, one way we can help ourselves is by wearing a decent sports bra. We should be putting as much thought into this item of clothing as we do into our choice of footwear.
Exercise, whether it involves dogs or not, generates excessive movement in our breasts. To protect ourselves from a variety of unpleasant, often damaging, injuries and pain all women should be wearing a decent sports bra when exercising. Otherwise in future, we just might encounter, in varying degrees, some problems such as:-
Fit for purpose...
Research continues and more information is being discovered every day. Both the University of Portsmouth and the University of Loughborough are currently working in this field.
Extensive bio-mechanic research has been carried out to help in the design and manufacture of sports bras. They came in to being around 1970 and research has continued since then to improve the design of sports bras and there is now a much better understanding of the problems that need to be addressed. Improving posture and support by wearing a good sports bra helps eliminate a lot of aches, pains and discomfort caused by unruly breasts!
More bounce to the ounce
There are no muscles in the breasts, only ligaments. These are like elastic and when over stretched they will refuse to spring back, 80% of doctors believe that wearing a sports bra will help prevent long term damage by reducing the stress on the 'Cooper's ligaments' and this will help to delay sagging breasts later in life. Maybe you are young enough not to think that this might be a problem, or you do not worry that much about your 'body image' but who knows what the future will bring? Once the damage is done it can't be reversed. This applies to all of us regardless of what cup size you wear.
As part of the research carried out at the University of Portsmouth, reflective markers were placed on the body so that the vertical, horizontal and 'in and out' movement of the breasts could be monitored whilst running. The retro reflective markers that were positioned on the body showed that the breasts moves in a figure of 8 whilst running and this movement is substantially reduced by wearing a sports bra. When a woman runs, more than 50% of the breast's total movement is vertical, 22% side-to-side and 27% in-and-out.
The diagram below shows the basic components of a standard bra, but there are many more components to a sports bra
A 'G' Cup can bounce up to 14cms, even an 'A' Cup can bounce up to 4cms - get your tape measure out – amazing and scary! Average movement is 8.5cms. Another fact: in 62% of women the left breast is larger than the right. My tip is to always fit to the larger breast.
Sports Bras are often graded either 1-4 or high, maximum or extreme support. Make sure that you buy the correct style for your size and for what level of activity you want to do.
Exercising without good support can lead to breast mastalgia (breast pain), breast ptosis (breast sag) and excessive ground reaction force, as well as rashes, chaffing and even nerve damage resulting in numbness. These are the things we know about and more discoveries are being made every day.
Anatomy of a
Fabrics used in sports bras are moisture wicking so they help to draw sweat away from the body, helping to keep the skin dry and stop sore spots, rashes and chaffing developing. The fabrics are also quick drying to help eliminate hotspots. They are also breathable, allowing air to circulate which helps to keep the skin cool.
Sports bras have deep under bands to help support the breasts rather than all of the support being provided by the shoulder straps. This helps to alleviate back and neck strain. The under band supplies 80-90% of the support and the other 10-20% is supplied by the shoulder straps. Excessive drag on the straps can cause soreness and even neural problems leading to numbness in the fingers.
Have a look at this short video to understand the amount of research going into this problem. http://vimeo.com/27527621
Some ladies have even considered the possibility of having a breast reduction when all that may be needed to help some of these symptoms is a good fitting sports bra.
Another problem that many of us encounter is varying sizes at different times of the month or year. Many of us have 'fat days,' bloated days, water retention problems and depressed times when we have poor body posture or are just too tired to be bothered to stand or sit up properly! In some people these problems can be so pronounced that they will need different size bras for these times. It is worth thinking about this to improve your general well being at these times. You should really check your bra size regularly - at least every six months - and definitely if you change the make.
Improved bra engineering has not improved the disparities in sizing between different brands.
Even if you do not think you are experiencing any problems wearing your normal attire, please be aware that the breasts are bouncing. Whether it bothers you or not, you should consider the implications and go and try some sports bras and see the difference.
For more information, please have a look at my website. If I can be of any help, you can contact me through www.bragility.co.uk or ring m. 07816 160254
Her lovely boy Rudi competed well in Grade 6 and, although he was very noisy and boisterous around the agility rings, he was a true gent, lovely with puppies and a dog that people would often ask to meet their new additions as he was so good with them. The 'Black Witch' was a rescue dog and always had 'issues' but she is missed as well. Life was too quiet.
Lesley was made redundant, couldn't get a 'proper' job - too old - and was down to only one dog to run - so she decided to give the sports bras idea a go. So far it has gone really well. She is very pleased to see so many agility people taking the plunge and getting a sports bra and then coming back for another when they realise the benefits. She will be attending various shows such as Rugby and Dog Vegas, Matlock.
First published 18 June 2014
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