I've always had small boobs, plain and simple. Nobody in my family is well endowed in that area of the body, so I knew I wasn't exactly going to hit the breast jackpot when I went through puberty. So I just learned how to get through life with an A-cup, and to be honest, I go most days without wearing a bra, simply because I just don't need to (and it's way more comfortable).
That means you can often find me at the gym without a sports bra on. I can't help but wonder lately, though, whether it's OK to go braless, especially when it comes to rigorous physical activity that causes your puppies to bounce around unattended, so to speak. This topic is applicable to all women who like to work out sans sports bras, whether it's about comfort or because they also have small breasts. Here's what I found out after a little digging.
Science actually says there isn't anything wrong with going about your daily business without a bra on. A 15-year study was conducted at the University of Franche-Comté, which is in a French town called Besançon. Jean-Denis Rouillon, a sport science researcher and professor, led research that studied 330 different women between the ages of 18 and 35. They ultimately found that women who wear bras more often than not experience more sagging than those who go braless. Surprised? Feel like burning your bras yet?
"Medically, physiologically, anatomically: breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity. On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra," Professor Rouillon told France Info in 2015. Apparently, not wearing a bra encourages the muscles underneath your breasts, which keep your boobs upright, to stay firm and strong because they're not relying on underwire. Women who don't wear bras develop more breast tissue than those who do, and this makes for perkier boobs in the end.
The women in the study who chose to toss their bras in the trash (or just keep them tucked away) had a 0.3-inch lift in their nipples compared to those who wore bras on the regular. Experts believe not wearing a bra will eventually increase collagen production and elasticity, both of which promote a more lifted breast. Plus, the study leads found that wearing a bra cuts off circulation, which is why it's so damn uncomfortable sometimes.
Granted, this study was a small one, and it didn't explicitly speak to what happens when you jump around without a bra on. Another small study, conducted in 2013, on marathon runners found that 75 percent of women reported issues — pain or discomfort — with their breasts while they were training with a sports bra on. Similarly, many researchers and experts believe that the whole system of sports bras isn't offering women what they really need in order to keep their boobs comfortable while simultaneously achieving their fitness goals. To boot, it's estimated that the majority of women aren't wearing the right size in sports bras, and it gets even more complicated when you think about the fact that each brand has a different kind of sizing.
There's clearly a lot of work to be done in the world of sports bras for women of all sizes, but in the meantime, it seems like there's nothing really wrong with living the braless life — but only if it's comfortable for you. Nothing painful is worth your time, so if you're more well endowed than I am (lucky you) and it hurts to have those things bouncing around when you're on the treadmill, by all means, slap on that bra.
Having said that, if you're like me and you just feel better when your chest is free, it doesn't seem like you'll be hurting yourself if you leave your sports bra at home. At the end of the day, just remember that your boobs are the happiest when you feel the most comfortable.