BOOBS and man bits.
If you’re adhering to a regular workout regime, then it’s important to get the kit right. BUT, looking good is NOT the only thing that matters (really?!). What you’re wearing underneath is possibly one of the most important aspects to consider. So here we go, a quick blog about undies…looking after your boobs and your man bits.
In a nutshell, guys you’re advised to take a hint from Nellie the Elephant and pack your trunk.
Free-balling is not a good option when exercising. Why?
First and foremost, every gymgoer has a horror story about copping an unwanted eyeful. Don’t be that guy inflicting those scenes.
Protection: athletic underwear reduces the size of very vulnerable testicles. The smaller they are, the safer they are. No dangle, no tangle.
Workout underwear can absorb moisture which in turn can help prevent…
It’s important to get the fabric right too. The best thing you can wear to minimise chafe is a synthetic fabric - lycra or polyester – the fibres are essentially plastic, so they’re nonabsorbent (they don’t take on any moisture). Synthetic fibres are great because they minimise friction, are lightweight, and they also dry quickly.
Avoid cotton at all costs – because it soaks up moisture and will stay wet for longer than most fabrics.
If you’re really looking to minimise friction and chafe, your best option is to choose clothes that have very few seams, flat seams, and small flat stitches. Some PTs just recommend wearing swimming trunks if you don’t want to fork out for a pair of specific sports pants.
Right, ladies over to you…
Lady bits first…
The combination of heat, sweat, and friction in your nether regions is not only uncomfortable, it can be unhealthy. Tight and non-breathable clothing traps heat and moisture, which can encourage the growth of candida. Not nice.
With light exercise then cotton undies are fine - lightweight and breathable, which are both good qualities when it comes to your lady parts. However, with a more hardcore workout the cotton will absorb your sweat, become heavy and that’s not good. As with the men, the non-absorbent synthetic materials are good. However, a lot of ladies leggings do contain a sweat wicking panel in the crotch so commando can be an option for the gals. Whoop whoop!
Next up, boobs.
Did you know that the movement of a woman's breasts during exercise can range from 4cm during a walk to 15cm when running?!
This ‘multidirectional movement’ (!) can cause breast pain. I can vouch for that. My boobs don’t just bounce up and down in a gentle rhythmic way. Uh-uh. They’re called fun bags for a reason, they enjoy going crazy – especially during sport. They’re all over the place.
But their ‘busy-ness’ can cause pain and ultimately sagging, and for some, it can also cause embarrassment and put women off physical activity.
A recent survey found breasts were the fourth biggest barrier to exercise for women after lack of motivation, time and poor health.
How exercise actually causes your boobs to hurt isn’t fully understood - but it's thought exercise, especially high-impact exercise like running or jumping, places tension on the supporting structures of the breast, which can result in pain.
And why do breasts sag?
Well, there are no muscles in the breast. The only supporting structures are the skin and the Cooper's ligaments – thin, paper-like tissues that weave throughout the breast and attach to the chest wall. It's thought sagging, which is irreversible, occurs when these ligaments are overstretched.
The answer to both problems though, breast pain and sagging, is a good supportive sports bra.
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.
And whilst it sometimes feels hard justifying money for stuff you’re just going to sweat in, let’s face it, your bits are worth investing in.
So chaps / chappesses, free-balling, and free-boobing are to be a thing of the past. Support is the name of the game.
Don’t undervalue your undies.
Undress to impress.
References and quotations:
I am not a dietician or a nutritionist, and make no claims to the contrary. What is written on this site should not be taken as fact or advice. It is merely an opinion blog.