October 14, 2011
Here are tips on the sports bras you need for exercise during Phase 2, the second and more active stage of mastectomy recovery. Fitness-loving women I’ve talked to really get a sense of hope when they can start on the road back to the vitality they love!
Four to six weeks after surgery, you will usually be given the OK to add more exercises and boost your workout intensity. Higher impact exercises demand more support from your sports bra to keep you comfortable and your healing process on track. So look for a “high motion control” rating and features like wide adjustable straps and bottom band, less-stretchy cups, and good coverage in the cleavage and armhole areas.
You’ll still need to avoid underwires in any of your bras as they can still irritate the incision area. In fact if you’ve had reconstruction with implants (lots more on reconstruction in next week’s blog!), your surgeon will probably ask you to wait 3 months to wear a wire. That’s because your body is forming scar tissue around the implant, and an underwire could cause a permanent ‘dent’ in your shape—not the kind of curves you’re looking for! To get the stability you want without the wire, look for sports bras with strategic body-friendly support panels or bands, like Champion’s 360° Max Support (#1612) and PowerSleek (#1691).
Your Best Sports Bras If You Prefer to Stay Au Natural After Mastectomy…
For many women, mastectomy (the surgical removal of breast tissue along with cancer cells) is just the first step to becoming cancer-free and returning to a normal, active life. Other life-saving treatments like chemotherapy and radiation may be a necessary part of your treatment plan, and you also get to make your own personal decisions about your post-surgery body shape.
After mastectomy, some of you choose to stay au natural; others of you with single or double mastectomies choose external (and increasingly high-tech) breast forms as your strategy; and many of you also choose reconstruction with implants or your own tissues to regain the body image you’ve grown comfortable with over the years.
These are all great choices, but be aware that the specific treatment plan you choose will point you in a somewhat different direction when it comes to hooking up with the best post-mastectomy sports bra. I like dealing with the simplest, least complicated first—so let’s talk about what to look for in your sports bra when you stay au natural (no reconstruction or breast forms) after double mastectomy.
If you’re an active woman who’s had double mastectomy, you may actually find a certain freedom and lightness in not having any of the weight and motion of breasts weighing you down during a workout!
Besides gaining the boyish chest of a fashion supermodel, one of the best perks of the au natural choice is that you’ll never again have to worry about bouncing or sagging breasts when you’re kicking it hard! But most of us, regardless of breast size, do find that wearing attractive and sporty gear gives us body confidence that spills over into a better workout, so don’t hold back from scooping up sports bras in irresistible colors and ‘gotta-have-it’ new styles!
Beyond aesthetics, wearing a sports bra between body and shirt also helps protect your tender skin from abrasion—look for silky, body-friendly bra fabrics that help wick sweat away.
When you go au natural, whether you’re looking for fashion or protection the most important style feature to look for is a flat, stretchy compression style that lies smoothly against your chest with no unwanted bumps or wrinkles (no molded, curved cups!). Easy, cushy styles that do the trick include the Champion’s 2960, 2961 and 2697 seamless and 7904 cotton-rich sports bras.
If you’ve gone the natural route post-mastectomy, we’d love to learn from your feelings and experience, so I sincerely hope you’ll take a moment to share a comment or question below!
Next week: Going natural is one strategy, but those of you looking to preserve your curves after mastectomy without surgical implants won’t want to miss next week’s tip-filled blog on choosing and securing today’s modern and more-authentic-than-ever breast forms in sports bras ideally adapted for that purpose!
See you again soon!