It's hard to build an exercise habit without functional, comfortable gear — and for large chested women, a good sports bra is as essential as the right bike saddle or running shoes.
Half of large-breasted women, and a quarter of small-breasted women, report frequent pain with exercise. The right bra features can help, writes K. Aleisha Fetters at Runner's World. Here are the key things to look for:
The Band: It should be made of wide elastic material so it can support your breasts without causing back bulges or riding up when you lift your arms. You should fasten the bra on the loosest hook so, as it ages and becomes looser, you can tighten the fit.
The Shoulder Straps: They should be wide and padded so they don't dig into your shoulders.
The Cups: To limit movement, the cups must completely cover your breasts (without leaving any creases or gaps). Keep in mind your running bra cup size may be different from what you wear under your little black dress. That's OK.
The Underwire: It should sit on your ribs so it doesn't dig into your breasts or the tissue under your armpits.
The Front Band: The center of the bra should sit on your breastbone, squarely between your breasts.
Meanwhile, if you've long since outgrown DD bras, you may need to look for a "crop top" compression bra for some double-bra layering, [researcher and sports physiotherapist Dierdre] McGhee says.
There's no substitute for trying on bras in person, although once you've found the perfect model you can re-order online. (To get started, check out these sports bra guides from Runner's World, Big Girls Bras and Babble.) Read more at the link below on how to navigate the ups and downs of running with large breasts, including some exercises that can help with back pain.
Tips on Running with Large Breasts [Runner's World]