Since the recent completion of a 15 year study conducted out of the University of Franche-Comté which looked at the long term effect of bras I’ve seen a dozen or so media articles referencing the ‘findings’. The media seem to have gone a little crazy around the notion that bras may not in fact have any long term effect on reducing breast sag, which has made for some interesting reading.
Professor Jean-Denis Rouillon advises that the results show “Medically, physiologically, anatomically, the breast does not benefit from being deprived of gravity”. Their findings also conclude that nipples were found to sit higher in the non-bra-wearing women, and that the chest musculature of this experimental group had developed more muscle bulk to cope with the demands of carrying the otherwise unsupported breast.
Coming from a footwear background the ‘bare is better’ argument has been done to death and as such is a little lost on me. I’ve written about breast sag in the past, and agree that there has been no solid research to suggest that bras do in fact prevent sagging breasts. While I certainly appreciate the fact that so much time and resource is being channelled in to breast health, I am far from convinced that this should change the way women look to bras for breast support.
After all, why is it that you put a bra on every day?
Not many would answer ‘to prevent my breasts from sagging’ in their first breathe. Most of us wear bras to enhance our shape, improve comfort and avoid the embarrassment of breasts bouncing as we move.
15 years ago we would have winced at the idea of running barefoot, but nowadays you don’t have to look far to find someone donning a barefoot running shoe of some description. Fortunately for us ladies I can’t see this extreme being applied to our Sports Bras so there is no predication on my part of a bare-chested running fad! Our arm swing and torso movement is significantly alterted with a reduction in breast support, caused largely by our instinctive reaction to prevent the pain associated with an increase in vertical and lateral breast displacement. Efficient upper body body movement assists with propulsion and balance. It is essentially the reciprocal motion of our legs and is highly considered when assessing someones overall running biomechanics. So hold off on burning your Sports Bras ladies, they aren’t going anywhere!
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