The best sports bra for you

When you perform any form of exercise, and this is true for gentler forms of exercise such as pilates or jogging as it is for more strenuous activities such as sprinting or horse riding, your breasts move. And they don't just move up and down, they move from side to side and in and out too.

All of this movement can lead to breast tissue damage which can result in mild discomfort or even enough pain to make you stop doing your chosen activity.

Breast movement during exercise can also lead to embarrassment, particularly if you have larger breasts, and this is the reason that far too many women are not taking part in sports and activities that they would enjoy and benefit from.

Sports bras are designed specifically to prevent breast movement, thereby making physical activity a far more pleasurable experience for women. Not only will the right sports bra eliminate pain, but it will also reduce levels of embarrassment and boost your self-confidence. In short, a sports bra will allow you to participate fully in whatever activity you choose.

So how do you choose the best sports bra for you?

Types of Sports Bra

There are two main types of sports bra - compression and encapsulation. You can also get bras that incorporate both compression with encapsulation.

Compression sports bras work by flattening your breasts against your chest wall to limit movement. Compression support is most suitable for A and B cup sizes.

Encapsulation sports bras work by enclosing each breast in a cup specifically designed to limit the movement of each breast. Encapsulation support is most suitable for DD and bigger cup sizes.

Bras that incorporate both compression and encapsulation are best suited for cup sizes B to D.

The right Sports Bra for the job

Another important factor to take into consideration is the type of activity you will be undertaking. The best sports bras are specifically designed to offer the appropriate amount of support during particular activities and are graded in terms of support offered.

Light Control - pilates, yoga, walking and gardening

Medium Control - cycling and hiking

Firm Control - tennis, football, jogging

Maximum Control - running, intense workouts, boxing, aerobics and horse riding

Choose the correct level of support and control for your activity and then decide whether a compression or an encapsulation sports bra would suit you best.

Most sports bra manufacturers rate their bras from one to four with one representing light control and four maximum control.

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