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Up To 80% Of Women Wear The Wrong-Sized Sports Bra, Which Can Impact Breathing And Respiratory Function

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Many women wear sports bras while exercising because they provide support for breasts, helping to reduce movement and protect against pain and discomfort.

In addition, the garments can prevent damage to breast tissue. However, studies have shown that up to 80 percent of women wear the wrong-sized sports bra, which can affect breathing and respiratory function.

“Respiratory function may become compromised by the pressure exerted by the underband of a sports bra when women self-select their bra size,” Shalaya Kipp, an athlete and research fellow at the Mayo Clinic, told Newsweek.

Kipp and some colleagues from the University of British Columbia researched the effects that an ill-fitting sports bra might have.

They measured the breathing capacity and efficiency of nine highly-trained female runners wearing sports bras with various levels of tightness. The study was published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

The findings showed that a looser underband allowed the runners to take deeper, less frequent breaths, leading to improved efficiency in performance.

When the women wore a sports bra with the underband fixed at the tightest setting, the researchers observed a one to two percent increase in oxygen consumption. Loosening the band resulted in a two percent increase in oxygen efficiency.

The researchers note that their experiment was conducted with a small group, so further studies that include a wider range of women need to be done in order to produce more accurate results. Overall, the study highlights the importance of wearing a sports bra that is the right size.

“Most women pick their sports bra based on how they feel at rest,” Kipp explained. “However, it was only during hard exercise—when the women in our study were breathing hard and inflating their lungs—that respiratory function was compromised.”

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