"DID you know that when women run, their boobs don't bob up and down but actually move in the figure of eight?" I threw out for openers this week.
“What the f **k are you on about now?” demanded Maggie, who was feeling a little eeekey beekey because of a hangover the size of Carrantuohill.
“It's all to do with research on sports bras and whether they actually work or not,” I replied. This had Maggie suddenly interested. She has more sports bras than Venus Williams, which is interesting because the nearest sport she comes to competing in is sprinting — sprinting to the fridge, that is.
According to research carried out in the field of breast biomechanics (I swear I'm not making this up) by the University of Portsmouth entitled Bouncing Breasts: A Credible Area of Scientific Research (I swear etc etc), women who run when they are braless will have changes in their stride because their feet are landing more heavily. This difference in stride is related to “significantly higher amounts of breast movement in that direction,” according to Jenny White, the lead author of the report.
“Well, duh,” said Patsy. “If you run without a bra and your boobs are hanging around your knees then, ergo, you will have a stride like Quasimodo. You don't need a degree in breast biowhatsits to know that!” Patsy said, in such a loud voice that people stared at us.
The problem with sports bras is that there are only two kinds. The first type cradles each breast in individual cups — known as encapsulation. The second type mashes the breasts up against the chest like a straight jacket so that they can't move at all.
“Been there, done that, didn't wear the T-shirt,” said Patsy, whose own bosoms need to be constantly strapped down lest they swing up and knock her out.
Further research carried out by the University of Wollongong in Australia has come to the conclusion that the most effective sports bra doesn't actually exist, but if it did then it should be uncupped with foam pads underneath to “elevate the low point of the breast displacement dynamically”.
I'm not ashamed to say that I haven't a clue what that means. Jenny White reckons that the best way to test if a sports bra is the right one for you is to “jump up and down in the changing room and assess how much movement occurs. If the bra is uncomfortable then this is not the bra for you.”
“After years of research the best they could come up with was to jump up and down in the dressing room!” shrieked Maggie
“And the sad part is that there are suckers somewhere funding this gobbledegook,” said Josie. You said it, sister.