Breast cancer

Updated 09 November 2017

Bosom buddies

You wouldn't squash your feet into a ill-fitting pair of running shoes, so why squash your breasts into the wrong sports bra? Protect your assets!

Picture it. July 10 1999. Forty million viewers worldwide glued to their television sets watching the Women’s Soccer World Cup final match between America and China. It was going to be a tie, until, in the final minutes of the game, Brandi Chastain scored the tie-breaking penalty kick that won America the world cup. In a moment of triumph, she whipped off her jersey exposing her sports bra to the world. Women’s soccer was thrust into the global spotlight and the sports bra came out of the closet.

Worldwide interest in the wonders of the sports bra became intense, but novice wearers were only discovering what veteran sports women have known for years, that a good sports bra is essential to their health and success.

The sports bra has come a long way since the 1970’s when two female marathon matters decided to take matters into their own hands and sewed two jock straps together to create the first sports bra.

The design was so effective that Champion patented it and the Jogbra was born. Thankfully today the sports bra no longer feels like a vice grip and looks a whole lot better than a pair of men’s underwear.

Why should you wear a sports bra?
Ask any woman with sizeable assets and they will tell you that reducing breast motion during exercise is a daunting and often impossible task. Although bouncing breasts are highly desirable on the set of Baywatch, they are the last thing that you want on a 10-kilometre run. Many bigger-breasted women are so embarrassed by the bounce that they either avoid exercise or opt for breast reductions.

You cannot naturally reduce breast motion as your breasts do not contain strong intrinsic structural support in the form of muscles. The primary supporting structures in the breast are thin, fragile Coopers ligaments. The only other support comes from your skin.

If exposed to continuous jarring without adequate support, the Coopers ligaments will stretch permanently leaving you with the one thing all women fear (besides the scale, menopause and the other woman), “saggy” boobs!

Take into consideration the fact that exercising may cause as much as 80 pounds of impact on the breasts and you can see why they require extra support.

It is therefore very important to wear a sports bra while engaging in any activity that causes repetitive vertical motion in the breasts.

Why can’t my normal bra do the job?
Lingerie is not cheap and many women are loathe to spend hundreds on a handkerchief-sized bra or panty, so why fork out extra for a sports bra?

Well, an Australian study tested a sports bra against a normal bra, a crop top and going bare breasted. It was found that in comparison to going bare breasted, a sports bra reduced pain and vertical movement by 50% more. The crop top and normal bra reduced breast pain and vertical movement by only half of what the sports bra did.

A sports bra will look after your breasts from the outside, but if you want to know more about caring for your breasts from the inside read what our A-Z of diseases has to say about Breast Cancer

The Sports Bra Centre
You wouldn’t squash your feet into an ill-fitting pair of sports shoes and then play a full game of tennis, so why do the same to your breasts?

There are hundreds of sports bras to choose from that come in all colours, styles and sizes, so choosing the one that’s right for you can seem like mission impossible. But do not despair, the Sports Bra Centre is here to help and will tell you everything that you need to know about and look for in a sports bra, and more!

Be sure to take the Shock Absorber Sports Bra survey and you could win one of ten Shock absorber sports bra hampers.

Shock Absorbers are worn by tennis ace, Anna Kournikova and many other leading sports women throughout the world. The award-winning Shock Absorber range guarantees optimum support, comfort and style, because “Only the ball should bounce”.

Once you know what to look for, check out the superior Shock Absorber sports bra range at


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Ask the Expert

Breast cancer expert

Dr Gudgeon qualified in Birmingham, England, in 1968. She has more than 40 years experience in oncology, and in 1994 she founded her practice, Cape Breast Care, where she treats benign and malignant breast cancers. Dr Boeddinghaus obtained her qualification at UCT Medical School in 1994 and her MRCP in London in 1998. She has worked extensively in the field of oncology and has a special interest in the hormonal management of breast cancer. She now works with Dr Gudgeon at Cape Breast Care. Read more.

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