01/23/2012 01:14 EST | Updated 03/24/2012 05:12 EDT

Sports Bras: The Bounce Stops Here!


We've all seen it: a woman running, arms moving, legs going... and breasts flying erratically in every direction. Ouch! While it's easy to assume she's is not wearing a bra, chances are, she is not wearing the right bra. More importantly, is she wearing a properly fitted sports bra? A well-fitted sports bra is essential to any woman's well-being, not to mention appearance; the dreaded "sag" look is far from desired.

Imagine this: while exercising, breasts can move around up to EIGHT inches. (Can you believe it?! But it's really true Ladies!) Now factor in the weight of the breasts. That is a lot of stress on the tissues and ligaments, not to mention quite painful! To better explain, here is a 30-second science lesson. Your breasts are not made up of muscles; rather they are mostly composed of mammary glands and fatty tissues. The only support comes from Cooper's ligaments and the skin. Cooper's ligaments are similar to an elastic band. The more weight you attach to these ligaments and the more you stretch them, the less "perky" they remain. Eventually, they give next to no support and breasts tend to eventually sag, and this is non-reversible without surgical intervention.

While this may all seem somewhat complicated, there is a relatively simple solution: a proper fitting sports bra. Contrary to popular belief, a sports bra is necessary for women of all cup sizes -- including the As and Bs. A professional bra fitter can help you figure out what you need. There are different types of sports bras for different types of activities, for example: high impact (running) versus low impact (yoga) activities. Ultimately you want a sports bra that reduces movement. The best way to test this is to try on a sports bra and then literally jump and move around in the change room to see if it is doing its job!

The two most common types of sports bras deal with compression and encapsulation. Compression bras tend to work better for smaller cup sizes. Ultimately they compress the breasts to reduce movement, mostly up and down movement. For larger cup sizes, an encapsulating sports bra is recommended. This generally has an underwire and cups that fully encapsulate the breast.

For those wondering if a regular bra will suffice, the answer is a definite no! A sports bra is however, fitted in a similar way to a regular bra, with cup and band sizes that are meant to be fitted to your unique body. The waistband should be fairly snug (I estimate 90 per cent of the support comes from the waistband) and the straps should not dig into your shoulders or slide off.

A good guideline is to have a bra fitting every six to 12 months. As you lose weight, your body and breasts will change, not to mention your bra will wear out and no longer provide the support it once did.

In the same way that you take care of your feet with good running shoes, take care of your breasts with

a proper sports bra. Your body will thank you!

Take a stand. Get fitted. Be healthy. Ladies! Stop the bounce.