The results were featured in a study within the May 2012 issue of the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, published by Sports Medicine Australia.
Despite it being shown that well designed sports bras are effective in limiting excessive breast motion and related breast pain, fewer than half of the survey respondents wore a sports bra during physical activity.
Deterrents to wearing a sports bra included shoulder straps cutting in; shoulder straps slipping; fasteners digging in; bra creeping up; bra cost; bra stitching rubbing; the look of the bra; the bra neckline; the bra fabric, the bra colour and the bra brand name.
Co-author of the study, Professor Julie Steele said the findings suggest consumers are dissatisfied with current sports bra designs.
“Although education plays a large role in improving sports bra usage, the results also imply that consumers believe that current sports bra designs need to be improved if women are to wear them more frequently while they are exercising,” Professor Steele said.
To help educate and encourage women to wear a sports bra while undertaking physical activity, Sports Medicine Australia and the Breast Research Australia (BRA) team in the University of Wollongong’s Biomechanics Research Laboratory, have combined to produce a free do-it-yourself guide to bra selection for sport and exercise.
Called EXERCISE AND BREAST SUPPORT, the brochure is a guide to understanding breast support during physical activity and how to determine whether your bra is fitted correctly.
“The benefits of exercise have no doubt been extensively documented. By encouraging and empowering women with the information relevant to ensure correct (and comfortable) bra fit, this seeks to break down one of the barriers confronting women when exercising,” Professor Steele said.
“By gaining correct breast support and correct bra fit while exercising, women can exercise more freely, develop optimal health and set a path to a healthy future, avoiding many health problems commonly linked to inactivity,” she said.
“Through our research it is hoped that bra designers and manufacturers sit up and gain a better understanding of their client’s needs and how to target sport bra design features to active women, in the hope that more women wear sports bras while exercising,” Professor Steele said.
The EXERCISE AND BREAST SUPPORT fact sheet is available to download at sma.org.au
For more information, contact Professor Julie Steele on 0419 464 873 or Amanda Boshier, Sports Medicine Australia on 0412 224 729.