Bra Information

Activity, Breasts and Bras

Can you imagine running in a pair of shoes that are two sizes too small or too big? What about running in heavy winter shoes? Both are pretty silly things to be doing and in the same way, you should ensure that you don't exercise in any old bra.

It is vital that you wear a sports bra and just like your sports shoes, your sports bra should fit well, be comfortable and be suited to the type of exercise you intend doing. Just because a bra has 'sports bra' printed on the packaging, it doesn't mean it's the right bra for the exercise that you're going to be doing. Similarly you would never wear running shoes to play a game of tennis. Are you getting the idea?

The everyday bras that most women wear are not really designed to stop breasts from bouncing when exercising. They are also not designed to prevent the other painful problems associated with exercising such as chafing. When exercising, breasts don't just move up and down. They can also move forwards and sideways as well as independently of each other. In fact the poor things get thrown in all directions!

If you have rounded shoulders, lack of support will put an impingement on your respiratory capacity, reducing your aerobic capacity. What's more, if you're a C or D cup and working out on some cardio equipment, the lack of adequate support can even affect your aerobic capacity.

Breast motion isn't easy to reduce as the breast doesn't contain strong intrinsic structural support. The primary supporting structures in the breasts are the Coopers Ligaments, with secondary support only from the skin. It's therefore important to reduce breast movement to limit breast pain, stretching of the Coopers Ligaments and breast sag.

Growing teenage girls also need to consider their delicate breast tissue especially when their breasts are still developing. Even girls with smaller breasts should invest in a good sports bra if they take physical education or participate in sports.

A study in Australia found that up to 56% percent of women experience breast discomfort whist exercising. This is due to the large displacement of the breasts, which as well the discomfort can cause embarrassment. Further studies tested a sports bra against a fashion bra, a crop top and bare breasted exercise and found that the sports bra reduced pain and vertical movement by 50% compared to bare breasted exercise. The crop top and fashion bra reduced vertical movement and perceived pain but only by half the amount of the sports bra.

So as well as thinking of wearing the right shoes, having the best technique and which shorts to wear before exercising, perhaps you should be paying more attention to the bra you're wearing too.

Beyond Bra Size

According to the results of the "Size UK" survey, the average bra size in the UK has increased from a 34B in the 1950s to a 36C today. Similarly, according to the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the average size for U.S. women in 2005 was 34B.

Whilst some women will be very happy to simply make the most of their breasts and simply wear a bra that fits, others might want to enhance what they have. After all, breasts can be a woman's most distinctive feminine feature and adds to her beauty and sex appeal. Different women want different things and there are many who wanted to increase their beauty and sex appeal whilst others do not.


Breasts are mostly made up of fatty tissue, so their size depends upon how much fat is stored there, which calls in factors like genetics, weight, health and age. The muscles that reside directly underneath your breast are called pectorals and they are partly responsible for the 'perkiness' of your breasts. Exercise can build the muscles on the chest wall, so your breasts will look less droopy if you exercise correctly. If you also strengthen your back muscles, you can improve your posture, which can further improve things. Note that in order to improve your pectoral (chest) muscles; you would be performing chest exercises. This is mentioned simply s that you don't refer to them incorrectly as breast exercises.

The area underlying the breasts, or pectoral muscles, can be strengthened and enlarged providing a little more support for the actual breast tissue; however, this would not increase breast or cup size. Lifting weights to build your pectoral muscles can increase or tone your chest size, but not your cup size.

Getting rid of any of that fat and toning up your pectoral muscles requires the same strategy as with other area of your body: a regular programme that includes cardiovascular exercise, strength training and a sensible healthy diet.

Cardiovascular workouts such as running, cycling or aerobics are the best way to burn off excess body fat. A strength training programme will also increase your metabolism, which in turn will burn more fat and calories, even when you're resting.

It's a well known fact that you can't choose which area of your body to burn fat from. Doing exercises such as push-ups and bench presses can build your chest muscles, but they will not burn off fat in one particular area.

On a positive note, as women lose fat and become fitter, their gluts (buttocks) tend to become smaller, tighter and more muscular as fat is replaced by muscle. However, as women lose fat and gain muscle, their breasts tend to get smaller because they begin to lose that fat that makes up the breasts. This can easily be seen in female weight lifters and other top athletes whose body fat ratios drop extremely low. As they reduce the amount of fat in their body, their breasts often seem to shrink amongst the more prominent muscles.

The law of gravity is against women to keep a firm bust as age passes by, but some simple activities can offset things and help you look better.

Solving Common Bra Problems

Many women say things like; "the bra I have doesn't give much support", "the straps are digging into my shoulders", "the band in the back is riding up" or "the underwire is cutting into my sides", etc, etc.

An ill fitting bra can cause red marks on your skin, ride up your back, dig into your back and cause flesh bulging from the sides. A cup size that's too small can pinch and be uncomfortable and well endowed women often find themselves overflowing from their bra cups. There are so many little problems that can be a big hassle when you're trying to go about your day. The one thing these problems all have in common whether you're a 32B or a 40DD, a 22 year old or a 57 year old, is that your bra problems are unlikely to go away unless something changes. And the only person who can make those changes is you.

Women who experience problems whilst wearing a bra are often wearing the wrong bra.

Keeping Abreast of Change

Many women believe that they are wearing the right bra because they were professionally measured at some stage during their lives. The unfortunate news is that one measurement really doesn't fit all stages of your life. In fact it can often change in just a matter of months!

Most women's breasts will keep changing size as their bodies undergo a process of change. Women's breasts tend to develop during the teen years and plateau off, although many women suddenly find themselves getting shapely into their 20s.

But there are other factors that influence changes to your breast size and these include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Weight loss or breast skin
  • History gain
  • Menopause
Thickness and elasticity of the of pregnancies and breast feeding Hormonal influences such aslarger breastswhen you have your period, take the pill or use hormone replacement therapy.

Weight gains and losses can affect breasts very fast. Periods and pregnancy will also make a difference as will the natural ageing of the human body.

When your body changes, your breasts are likely to change too, and that's a good enough reason for you to get measured AGAIN, by someone who really knows what they're doing.

Bra sizes change as easily as dress or trouser sizes. The wrong size can mean a difference in your comfort and in your overall appearance. You should certainly think about getting fitted twice a year or whenever your body or lifestyle changes, e.g. weight gain or loss, menopause, childbirth or exercise.

In the sections that follow, we'll take a closer look at just some of the factors that influence the size of a woman's breasts.