Body

How your breast size can affect how much you exercise

Turns out the bigger the boobs, the less likely you'll exercise – but we can’t say we’re surprised!

By Anya Truong-George
If you're big breasted, chances are, unless you've nabbed yourself the ultimate sports bra, you'll probably find the thought of exercising pretty unappealing.
Forget the shortness of breath, excessive sweat or a general lack of motivation - boob discomfort is very real and according to a new study, the size of your breasts can impact how much you exercise, but we can't say we're surprised.
A 2015 study found breast related issues were the fourth biggest deterrent to working out, mainly because they couldn't find the right sports bra, they experienced chest pain or were in general, just embarrassed that their breast were moving about so much.
And honestly, we can relate.
But now, a new study has taken it one step further, discovering that indeed, the larger the breast size of women, the less vigorously they exercised in comparison to women with smaller breasts.
Boob discomfort is very real, and it's impacting on whether we're exercising or not. (Image: Getty)
The study, conducted by the University of Wollongong and published in the Journal of Science and Medicine Sport saw the researchers split 355 participants up into four groups based on their breast size.
Each woman, between the ages of 18 to 75, whose BMIs ranged between normal and obese, filled out a survey detailing their physical activity in the past week and whether they thought their breast size affected it.
The researchers then used 3D scanning to precisely measure the volume of each woman's breasts and categorise them as small, medium, large or very large, as bra sizing can be very inconsistent.
The results found that as women's breast sizes grew, their participation in physical activity decreased, particularly if the form of exercise was vigorous, such as jogging.
In general, slimmer women tended to have smaller breasts and vice versa, but even among overweight women with small breasts and normal-weight women with large breasts, the relationship to working out stayed consistent.
Women with larger breasts, no matter their BMI, exercised less on average than those with smaller ones.
The results showed that the more vigorous the activity, the less likely someone with large breasts would participate in it because of the discomfort it can bring, for example jogging. (Image: Getty)
Lead author Dr Celeste Coltman, an assistant professor at the University of Canberra, says the results show the importance of women learning how to find and fit high-quality sports bras to help women with large breasts be able to participate in all intensities of physical activity so they can enjoy the health benefits associated with an active lifestyle.
As a result of the research, Dr Coltman, along with her collaborators, Julie Steele and Deirdre McGhee, have developed a free app to help active women assess their breast size.
Dr Colton also suggests that large-breasted women who haven't exercised much should try low-impact activities like walking and swimming, if they can find togs with a built-in bra.
"Swimming and other water-based activities like aqua aerobics can be ideal," she says, "because the buoyant forces of the water slow the downward movement of breasts."