22 April 2005

Sports bra survey - the verdict

More than 2 000 women recently took part in the Health24/Shape/Shock Absorber online survey – the first to look at the sports bra habits and preferences of South African women.

More than 2 000 women recently took part in the Health24/Shape/Shock Absorber online survey – the first comprehensive consumer study to look at the sports bra habits and preferences of South African women.

For today's active woman, a good sports bra is as essential as a good pair of running shoes. The wrong sports bra can get in the way of exercise and may even be a threat to your health, leading to all kinds of problems like the horrid Cooper's droop – when the connective tissue strands in the breasts, called Cooper's ligaments, irretrievably stretch.

Luckily, most South African women seem to realise the importance of wearing the proper gear to protect their breasts during exercise. Most of you (55%) indicated that you do wear a sports bra – and not a normal bra, crop top, or vest with built-in bra – when you train.

This is good news, especially when you take into consideration that a large percentage of you take part in exercises that can be quite strenuous on the breasts, like running (46%) and aerobics (36%). Walking, however, seem to be the most popular form of exercise, with 60% of the respondents saying that they take part in this activity.

Correct bra size seems to be an issue that local women do pay attention to. This is important because the wrong sized bra often doesn’t provide enough support and may even contribute to lymph trouble by preventing proper drainage.

A full 85% of you said that you do know your correct bra size and another 81% said that you've had yourself measured in the past to determine your size. It is a bit worrying, however, that 28% of you said that the last time you measured your size was more than two years ago. You indicated that you wear the following sizes:

Bra size % of respondents
34 C 17%
34 B 16%
36 C 13%
36 B 10%
38 D 9%
32 B 8%
38 C 6%
36 D 6%
38 B 4%
34 A 3%
32 C 2%
38 DD 2%
34 D 2%
40 C 1%
40 D 1%

It looks as though proper fit is the most important consideration when it comes to the selection process. The shape that the sports bra lends to breasts as well as cost seems to be the other important factors (75% of you said that you are willing to pay between R100 and R200 for your sports bra).

None of you seem to be influenced by fashion or brand name when it comes to this piece of clothing. Not much thought is given to colour either (only 2% said that colour plays a role in the selection process), although white seems to be the preferred colour.

When it comes to the style of the sports bra, most of you (56%) seem to prefer the underwire bra instead of the elasticated bra. The majority (56%) also go for T-back or racer back designs and wide straps (21%), instead of thin strapped, halter neck or cushion strapped bras. You indicated that you prefer either a hook and eye at the back of the bra to fasten it or racer-backs without hooks.

Most respondents (65%) only own one sports bra, which most (66%) prefer to wear under clothes and not as outerwear. A cotton/lycra blend is preferred. The reason? You indicated that it gives you the necessary support (71% of you ticked this option), that it controls moisture (43%) and that it doesn't chafe (43%).

Whatever bra you choose, bear in mind that sports bras are specially manufactured to beat the bounce and combat the dreaded Cooper's droop. Although the proper gear needn't break the bank, it sure is a good investment. – (Carine van Rooyen, Health24)


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