How much time do you spend figuring out your clothes for the next run or gym session? If you’re a woman, chances are you decide your attire on the basis of the intensity of your workout. And if not the entire attire, then at least your sports bra.
The sports bra is one piece of attire that can make or break your run. It can make you feel comfortable and aim for personal bests, or it can ride up or feel constricted and distract you from lifting any weights. More importantly, research has shown that breasts can move nearly 19cm during vigorous exercising. If not properly supported, the breast tissues can lose elasticity. So finding a properly fitted sports bra is about prevention as well as comfort and style. Here’s my pick of three sports bras for various levels of activities, no matter what workout style you choose.
Low impact activities: If you love yoga and pilates, please don’t think a normal bra would be enough to practice your asanas. While it may seem slow (and flowy), yoga and pilates both require you to hold difficult postures. For that you need a sports bra meant for such activities.
Uniqlo’s wireless bra is perfect for this. The construction makes it very comfortable as you bend and stretch. At the same time it gives ample coverage for you to move or even hold a headstand. There are ventilation holes placed near the back to let your sweat evaporate easily. These come with removable pads, which, depending on your level of comfort, you can choose to use or detach. It has a racerback style, which means your shoulders are free to rotate. The best part is the material which is soft, and you quite possibly would feel like going to sleep in them.
Please remember, just because it is a wireless sports bra does not mean you just throw it into the machine for a wash. Ideally, sports bras should not be washed in the machine. Hand wash it, or put it in a lingerie bag in the machine. Use mild detergent and always dry flat. Important: never use a fabric softener on your sports bra.
Uniqlo Wireless Bra Active Square Neck; ₹1,990; uniqlo.com
Medium impact activities: While not as strenuous as high impact activities, movements in cycling, weightlifting, rowing and climbing requires you to wear a medium impact bra. This means that you need a little bit of support and also a lot of flexibility.
The Asics accelerate bra checks all these boxes. It has a compressed feel to keep your breasts locked in space, without being restrictive. A soft lower band (above the waist) means reduced fear of chaffing during sweaty workouts. It has a quick dry fabric and a mesh upper design, to make it more breathable and airy. But the best part is its adjustable straps. Sports bras usually do not have any adjustable qualitities. You tend you buy one size—a snug fit— and that is what you are stuck with. But during your menstrual cycle, your breast size changes. So adjustable straps are that wonderful thing we did not even know we needed.
Accelerate Bra, ₹2,999, asics.com/in
High impact activities: As the name suggests, these bras are best for activities that require a lot of support for movements in various directions. Some of the activities that require these include running, jumping rope, or playing sports like rugby and football. High impact bras should minimize friction and hold your breasts in place.
A front zip bra top was not my first choice for a high impact bra. Why? Because a front zip makes me uncomfortable; I constantly feel that it will somehow slide down. But Puma’s ingenious designers have put a small, hidden, clasp-hook behind the zip, adding extra protection. Obviously the front zip itself is great for easy take-off post a sweaty workout.
The padding is extremely light, and in no way does the bra feel chunky. It is, again, a racerback design which lets your shoulders move freely, and the mesh at the back makes it suitable for any activity where you might sweat. It is also a slightly longer length, which means if you are comfortable with it, you can just use it as a workout top.
High impact front zip training bra, ₹3,499, in.puma.com