Inti St Clair / Getty
Inti St Clair / Getty
If you're an active woman with a larger bust size, you've probably complained about inadequate sports bras ̵
There are few studies on how women's bust size influences women's willingness to become active, but recent research from the University of Wollongong in Australia has shown that breast size plays a key role in women's exercise habits, from women's breastfeeding the frequency with which they sweat and how intensely they exercise.
There is no denying that breasts of all sizes move when we run, jump or do just about anything. And while sports bras dampen this movement, they rarely stop them altogether. As many active women know, this can lead to serious pain during and after exercise.
The New York Times reports that there have been some studies of this physical pain in the past, but little research has been done to find out how the size of the breast affects the woman's decision, or the type of exercise that they prefer.
The new study, published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports asked 355 healthy women between the ages of 18 and 75 to fill out questionnaires about their training habits. Another questionnaire asked how the size of their bust size affected the way they were exercised. The researchers measured the volume of each woman's breasts with three-dimensional scanning and classified them as small, medium, large or hypertrophic (very large).
The researchers found that the breasts of larger women were all the less physically involved in activity – particularly vigorous exercise. Many of the women with larger breasts also felt that their breast size made exercise difficult, including low-impact activities such as walking or swimming.
Even age and BMI – two factors that also affect exercise habits – the results were the same. In overweight females with small breasts and in middle-weight females with large breasts, the effect on exercise was the same. Women with larger busts, regardless of BMI, performed less than women with lower bust sizes and probably felt that their breasts impaired their ability to engage in physical activity.
The results are not exactly shocking, but they confirm what many women confirm have always known about breast size and physical activity. The good news is that the authors of the study have developed a free app that helps women figure out what their ideal bra needs are based on their breast size and training preferences. Of course, you have to change the Australian size to another to find out what you are doing.