At the London Marathon, 32 percent of runners said that their breasts sometimes hurt when running. As a result, 17 percent even limit their training. That doesn’t have to be! Because the Sport-BH -designs are getting better and better and researchers continue to study the effect of movement on the female breast. Every runner should know this about her breasts:
1. the body hardly gives the breasts any support
“Depending on their size, breasts can be very heavy,” says Andrea Cheville, breast cancer researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. “But the body supports them very little. Hardly anything holds them down or keeps them still.” Just skin and some ligaments. Other parts of the body look very different. “The fascia in the abdomen, for example, are extremely strong,” Cheville says. “When you walk, the organs don’t wobble back and forth because they’re surrounded by a strong, fibrous shell.
This is not the case with breasts. They have virtually no support, but still have pain receptors. So if you’re stretched, it hurts.”
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2. your breasts move more than you think
Sports scientist Michelle Norris from the University of Portsmouth is studying breast movement and testing products that are designed to support the tissue. To do this, she and her colleagues let women run on a treadmill, first topless and then with BH s with little or a lot of support and capture the movements of the breast via 3-D motion capture. In doing so, you noticed that the breasts move in the shape of an 8.
This means they not only bounce up and down, but also sideways and backwards and forwards. “Breasts are just tissue, not muscle,” says Norris. “They are not rigid, but can move in all three dimensions when we walk.” And they do.
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If you put the movement in all three planes together, according to Norris, breasts move about 15 centimetres at each step (this varies of course depending on cup size). About 50 percent of the movement is vertical, and 25 percent each to the side and to the front and back.
3. a good Sport-BH is a must-have
With so much movement in all dimensions you need a good BH that holds everything in place. Some women prefer tight BH s that press everything into place, others that “encapsulate” the breasts, that is, hold them in firm cups. But it doesn’t matter which variant you choose. In the end the best BH still the one you feel comfortable with. “The most important thing is that BH fits perfectly,” says Norris.
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Tip: If you have a model with a fastener on the back, wear it in the widest setting at the beginning. If it becomes wider later on due to washing, you can then tighten it even more.
No matter how fast you run, your breasts always move the same way. © Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com
4. the walking speed does not influence how much the breasts move
Norris was surprised herself when she found out the following: No matter how fast you run, your breasts always move the same amount. “I thought that the faster I run, the more they move. But it’s not like that,” she says. “If you run at 10 km/h, you have reached the maximum range of motion. At 14 km/h they don’t move any more.” Therefore: Even with a slow basic endurance run, you need a BH that gives your breasts a firm grip.
5. makes the breasts smaller?
Women who start walking for the first time often notice a strange shrinking of the breasts. What’s happening? Walking itself does not reduce your bust size. It is made up of fat and tissue. “If you run regularly, eat well, and lose body fat, you will lose weight on your breasts accordingly,” she says. But: “Not only are your breasts getting smaller, you’re losing weight altogether.”
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Pain in the chest can affect your motivation to run. © Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com
6. you should always take chest pain seriously
There are different types of chest pain – and most of them can be easily explained. Nevertheless, you should not ignore them. Often the pain comes from too little support – then the BH does not serve its purpose. Especially for women with voluptuous breasts it can be difficult to find the right model.
Many women are particularly sensitive to the breast, especially just before their period. This varies from woman to woman. If you have severe pain during this time, you should rather do a workout with less jerky movements. “Accept that this will pass. And take it easy as long as you’re more sensitive,” says Cheville13 tips for fitness motivation. However, for any unusual pain, you should see your doctor.
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Another tip: During your period, pay particular attention to how much salt you take in, as this can lead to water retention in the breasts.
7. the chest pain can kill the motivation
A study by the Portsmouth Laboratory showed that the well-being of the breasts influences the willingness to walk. Then we often find it difficult to go out the door and walk only a few kilometres. So your breasts can thwart your running plans without you noticing. Norris says: “If you choose the wrong BH “doesn’t wear, doesn’t run.”
The movement of the breasts cannot be avoided. It is important that you have a BH that gives your breasts ideal support.
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