We're all about saving money when it comes to our workout clothes — after all, it's hard to justify spending hundreds of dollars on something you're going to sweat in — but there are some workout basics you shouldn't skimp on. Should sports bras be on that list?
Not wearing a sports bra is actually a common occurrence, especially in smaller-chested women who don't think they need the flattening or sometimes uncomfortable support that sports bras provide. While others think a built-in shelf bra is enough for any workout, the truth is that the right support is essential during a workout, especially a high-impact one. "A huge number of women are experiencing some breast injury from tissue moving up and down or in and out during exercise," says Susan Nethero, founder of the bra emporium Intimacy. That's because lack of breast support can lead to back pain and discomfort — including tissue damage that over time can cause stretch marks and sagging. And before you think that your B-cups have blessed you with the ability to skip the bra, think again. Even the smallest sizes can experience permanent damage to connective tissue over time if you neglect to give them the right support.
What's the best way to avoid exercise-related breast issues? For one, always make sure you wear a sports bra, especially during high-impact workouts. For another, the right support is key. You should look for an encapsulation-style sports bra (that is, those with separate cups, which come in conventional bra sizes like 34B) over the uniboob compression kind. Since breast tissue moves in a figure-eight pattern when you run, walk, or jump, using a bra with cups will support you better. And while it may seem like one more exercise-related expense to invest in a few high-quality sports bras for your workout routine, it's worth it to make sure you stay feeling your best during and after every sweat session. Check out more on how to choose the right sports bra here, and learn how to save money and time with this sports-bra-washing trick to use after every workout.