There’s More to Bras Than Meets the Eye

The NY Times has an interesting article about the science of bras and breast support during exercise. Apparently, although most sports bras focus on keeping breasts from moving up and down, the dynamics of running actually cause breasts to move in a figure 8. The side-to-side motion causes runners to land more heavily on their feet, with more impact on the inner arch. This can create more stress on the body and more injuries.

It doesn’t surprise me to read that “the most effective style of sports bra, particularly for women who wear a D-cup bra or larger, does not yet exist, at least in stores.” I’ve spoken with a lot of women who have said that exercise is difficult for them, simply because of the lack of adequate support from their clothing.

It’s also not a surprise to read that a 2007 report on breast biomechanics had the rather defensive title “Bouncing Breasts: A Credible Area of Scientific Research.” But when you think about how much money is spent to analyze and create sports gear like sneakers, performance clothing, and such, I’m amazed that nobody has tapped into this market.

I have to wonder how much of this neglect is coming from body- and sex-negativity. If breast biomechanics researchers take a defensive stance, that’s probably because they get a lot of hassle for their work. Smirks, funny comments, and such are likely to be part of their life, sadly enough. But if they can come up with a better design for a sports bra, something that will alleviate discomfort and reduce the risk of injuries for millions of women, I’m sure that they’ll have the last laugh. All the way to the bank.


Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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