Why you need a sports bra

Whatever exercise you do, whether it’s Pilates, FitSteps, running or just a brisk walk around the park, and irrespective of your cup size, your breasts are fragile organs and they need support.

During repetitive or high impact sport, breasts bounce. This pulls on the ligaments forcing them to stretch and because they are not elastic, they stay that way eventually causing your breasts to sag.

Lack of correct support can also cause breast pain and upper back and shoulder problems.

Different levels of impact require a different type of sports bra – make sure you choose the right one for your breasts and your sport.

Compression style bras (which look like crop tops) press the breasts flat against the chest. These are suitable for women with bra sizes 32-34A for all sports and up to 34-36B for low impact sports.

Encapsulation bras (with complete cups) are better at preventing up and down, and side to side movement of the breasts during exercise. Women with larger bra sizes and people taking part in regular high impact exercise will be better off with this type.

Sports bras are also more comfortable during exercise because there is no underwire to dig into your front and no straps or hooks to dig into your back.

So if you don’t already have one, I recommend a trip to the shops!

Hydration

Your body needs fluids to be able to transfer energy to muscles and to enhance the metabolism, which in essence is the body’s ability to burn fat. Waiting until you feel thirsty is not a good indication for when to drink, as this means you are in fact already dehydrated! By not drinking enough fluids, not only can your health be damaged, but your physical performance will also suffer.

As little as 2% dehydration can cause a decreased ability to be active, but at 5% you may experience as much as a 30% drop in daily performance. Feeling hungry is another potential sign of dehydration, so when your stomach rumbles, have a drink and wait 20 minutes to see if that reduces your craving for food. Drink tepid water (between 15 and 22 degrees), as water that is too cold won’t be absorbed into your system properly until it warms up.

If you don’t enjoy plain water, try weak tea or fruit tea, or add lime or another cordial.  Fruit juices are OK, although they can cause discomfort if drunk to excess.  The best approach is to consume a variety of different drinks.

Strong tea and coffee are diuretics and assist the dehydration process by making you lose fluid by going to the toilet regularly. Alcohol has the same effect, so make sure to drink a glass of water between beverages; I know that doesn’t sound as much fun, but at least you’ll drink less calories, save cash and avoid a hangover the next day! Alternatively choose a carbonated water as the bubbles fill you up in similar way to beer or lager, as well as aiding your digestive system.

Must Do

  • Drink at least 8 tumblers of fluid a day
  • Drink a glass of water every time you fill the kettle
  • Try to reduce your alcohol intake by having alternate days off
  • Drink a small glass of water between alcoholic beverages
  • Keep a bottle of fresh water in the car

Activity and energy

Being more active in daily life as well as trying out a more formal type of activity like FitSteps is a great way to shift the pounds, improve energy levels and enhance your body’s ability to process its fuel. Essentially it’s a bit like driving a car and making sure the oil travels around the engine to lubricate all the parts.

Of course, if you park a car for too long, or only drive short journeys, soon enough problems will begin to emerge. However the brilliant thing about the body is that it continually repairs damage. So it’s always better to enhance your daily life with physical activity to help you increase your energy levels.

This week I suggest that you to record exactly what you eat and how much activity you do each day. Why not stick it to the fridge to remind you to keep track of everything your consume?

Success always starts with a good plan and monitoring is key to Achievement. Checking progress regularly is important so that you can see how much of a daily energy deficit to achieve to enjoy positive weekly results. In terms of weight, you should initially aim to lose 1–2lbs per week for sustainable, safe weight loss.

To lose body fat you need to consume 500–800 calories less than your body needs each day. However, in general terms, women should never eat less than 1,200 calories per day and men no fewer than 1,500 calories.

Mark Foster
Hydration
A Health Tip from Mark Foster