Wearing the right sports bra can make women run 7% quicker, study claims
- Study participants wore a high support bra, a low support bra and no bra at all
- Wearing the well-supporting sports bra increased performance by 7 per cent
When it comes to running, a pair of good-quality training shoes are widely believed to help shave off crucial seconds.
But simply wearing a well-supporting sports bra could increase your performance by an impressive 7 per cent, according to a study.
Nearly three-quarters of women experience breast pain while exercising, which can be a significant barrier to enjoying activities such as jogging.
Researchers from the University of Memphis analysed the influence of breast support on knee joint stiffness during treadmill running.
Knee joint stiffness is a biomechanical measure that indicates how resistant the knee joint is to movement when force is applied, and has been associated with lower oxygen consumption, improved running performance and speed.
Simply wearing a well-supporting sports bra could increase your performance by an impressive 7 per cent, according to a study. When England footballer Chloe Kelly scored the winner in the Euro 2022 final she tore off her shirt to reveal a Nike sports bra, which one of her teammates said was ‘just as important’ as having the right boots
A total of 12 female recreational runners, aged between 18 and 35, were recruited for the study.
They represented a range of cup sizes, including B, C and D, and were professionally fitted with two sports bras – a high support bra and a low support bra.
Each participant performed three-minute running bouts wearing the high support bra, the low support bra and no bra at all.
Researchers tracked the movements of the women as they ran and found increased levels of breast support were associated with greater knee joint stiffness.
Analysis revealed a high support bra could improve their running performance by 7 per cent.
While performance does not only relate to speed, the findings indicate wearing a good sports bra could potentially knock up to several seconds off a minute of running, or around two minutes from a 30-minute run.
Study author Dr Douglas Powell said: ‘The findings show that breast support not only influences movement of the breasts but that compensations occur across the entire body.
A total of 12 female recreational runners, aged between 18 and 35, were recruited for the study
‘These compensations can lead to reduced running performance, increased injury risk, and even the development of chronic pain such as back and chest pain.
‘Over the past 50 years, limited evolution in bra design has occurred.
‘Our findings, in conjunction with previous research studies, show that sports bras should be considered not only as apparel, but also as sports equipment that can both improve performance and reduce the risk of injury, playing a role in women’s health.’
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, reads: ‘Running is a common form of physical activity with minimal barriers to participation which has been shown to benefit cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and mental health.
‘While running has many benefits, breast pain is a significant barrier to exercise…with up to 72 per cent of women experiencing exercise-induced breast pain.
‘The results of this study demonstrate that increasing levels of breast support are associated with altered knee joint biomechanics.
‘Therefore, these changes in running biomechanics demonstrate the importance of proper breast support in female runners for running performance.’