So I'm home. It's raining and I'm hallucinating(ish) from tiredness. Fun times.
Let's break through post-vacation malaise with a little post about exercise and sports bras.
(No, you are not also hallucinating. I did just write the word sport before the word bra.)
As a person who chooses merely to avoid jumping as the means by which to avoid undue bounce, this isn't one of my go-to areas of expertise. But desperate times, and all. I'm gearing myself up for some sweat-inducing cardio to improve the shape of my mid-torso in this exciting phase of life.
What cardio, specifically? I have no fucking idea. Ashtanga is out of the question (I'm just not fit enough for it - and it's frankly dangerous for the middle-age practitioner, especially if she hasn't been doing it regularly since youth). Running is just too horrible to consider. I am not shaped like runners who run without injury (though, depending on who you ask, that's nobody). Gym classes seem the most suited to me, except that I am very concerned about germs and the idea of touching things at a gym is pretty unsettling. I'm also disinclined to modify my schedule to suit that of a class. That turns a 1 hour experience into a 2 hour experience, most of the time. Swimming is out of the question. Pools are like public baths. Just thinking about them makes me freak out. Yeah, I could do a video (aka some kind of web streaming thing) but my house is 125 years old and it can't handle regular impact. Cycling is a possibility, but it's totally weather-dependent for me, and the weather here basically always sucks. Not to mention, it's not my legs that need help.
So let's start this post with a little survey:
Pretend you're a 44 year old woman who doesn't much like to sweat (but is coming to terms with its necessity). You spend a fuck of a lot of time either at work or crafting. Other time you spend managing a household. Or parenting. You do Iyengar yoga regularly, though to support the need for restoration and hormonal balance, not for cardiovascular improvement. You walk 1-2 hours daily, but that's a wash from a body-mod perspective (your body is utterly adapted to it). You are, to understate it, unmotivated to touch things that are germ-covered. You don't like most weather. Your main concern is midsection fat caused by perimenopause. Alas, strengthening exercise - totally achievable with your current yoga practice - makes for strong abs and back under a layer of unappealing fat.
What exercise do you do???
If you can find anything left after that extensive list of limiters, I will buy you a chocolate bar!
But onto the more resolvable issues - what sports bra to wear when one chooses the, ahem, burn? I am in no way qualified to compare the sports bras as I am the fancy lingerie. I've had experience with the Panache (I bought it for M and it works very well for her). I've read lots of posts by lots of women with different issues when it comes to boob size and shape and sports bras.
Sports bras, as you likely know, come in two basic styles (or a combo of the two): encapsulation and compression. Different sporty ladies prefer one or the other depending on their need for bounce control. Please note - sports bras can do their thing without wires so if you don't want bounce and you don't want wires, there's choice. While I'm a strong proponent of the under wire, I draw the line at under wire when exercising. That shit is painful!
The runners seem to like the compression style best - the standard-issue boob squashers. As a person with lots of projection over a small span, I hate the feeling of my boobs being squashed together in that fashion. But it does tend to stop the bounce. The Enell is an example of a compression bra with a wide fan-base. (Note: I've never seen one of these IRL, much less tried it on. This ain't a review.)
Disclaimer: My perspective is that squashing one's breasts together for hours at a time does not lead to happy boobs. Anecdotally, women who go from wearing bras that are too-small observe an improvement in the shape of their breasts when they begin to wear bras that fit well. From my vantage-point, compression bras don't fit breasts well, even as they have an important role to play in alleviating bounce and securing the Cooper's ligaments. Take that for what it's worth, btw (and do feel free to weigh in)!
The encapsulation style seems most popular for the ladies of my shape - projected breast volume on a narrow frame. That's cuz compression really has nowhere to go on shapes like mine. I need projection! Encapsulation styles, which can still work very well without under wire, have an interior soft-cup sling often within a compression frame. Here's a photo (in a useful review) of said sling in the Freya sports bra. Note: I did try on the Freya sports bra years ago and it was a disaster. I mean it's uniformly considered to be the most hideous of the sports bras, though many women swear by it. But, on me, the wires were horrendously wide. It somehow made my boobs look way larger and wider (east-west nipples) all at the same time. I do feel that the Freya is best for a woman with a wide frame and wide roots.
Update: Of course, underwire cup models of sports bras also work on an encapsulation basis.
The challenge with pure encapsulation models is that they don't tend to resolve the bounce factor adequately for women with medium or large breasts.
Which is where the combo model comes in. The combination style gives you the best of both worlds. (Or the worst of each, depending on your vantage point.)
Next up, I'll tell you which type of sports bra I purchased, complete with a review.
Till then, please do help me to brainstorm on the exercise front. And let me know which is your fave sports bra model and why!