Big breasts may look chic on a sports magazine cover but many athletic plus size women are familiar with how uncomfortable they can be. Then again, living an active lifestyle is possible for plus size women as long as they find the right bra.
According to a sports bra researcher from the Oregon State University, if the sports bra is not specifically designed to support larger breasts, the straps may be too narrow and exert extra pressure on the shoulders. When the pressure compresses the area where the nerves and blood vessels exit into the upper arms, a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome can result, characterized by arm, neck and shoulder pain, as well as numbness in the forearm and extremities.
Here are four things to look for in a sports bra:
- Look for a bra that has athletic features such as wider, adjustable straps, a higher neckline, and wider bottom bands that provide both adequate support and breathing room.
- Find a bra with moderate stretch: not too lose yet not too restrictive, particularly in areas like the band, straps, and cups.
- Moisture control. Opt for one with moisture wicking fabric that speeds up evaporation to keep you comfortable during a workout.
- Separate cups. Big breasts need separate support, which traditional flat panel sports bras can’t provide. A bra with separate heat-molded cups for a round seamless shape is ideal.