Perhaps one of the most iconic images in English sporting history: soccer player Chloe Kelly takes off her men’s shirt to celebrate a goal and runs happily in a white Nike bra.
The picture came in conjunction with England’s crowning, on Sunday, the European Women’s Football Championship for the first time in its history, after its victory over Germany 2-1 in a historic match, at the famous Wembley Stadium, which witnessed a crowd that broke the record for any final match for this continental tournament, at the level of men or ladies.
The victory, which the English celebrated exceptionally, raised questions of another kind related to something completely feminine, which is the effect of the “bras” of the players, and their role in the historic victory of the “lionesses”, which is the famous title of the England women’s team.
Before the Euros kicked off, experts gave England players bra recipes to increase their comfort during matches and ensure they received the right support, and according to their latest data, these bras may have boosted the athletes’ athletic performance as well.
Professor Joanna Wakefield-Score, from the University of Portsmouth, who led the project, said: “The evidence suggests that sports bras have performance benefits, comfort benefits and health benefits, so I would say they are just as important in female training. about what the coaches do.
In the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics and the 2021 Paralympics, Wakefield-Score and her colleagues provided prescriptions to 112 British athletes. Before that, most female athletes used loose-fitting bras, which provided limited support, and many reported feeling breast tenderness.
After 4 weeks of using the new bras, 87% of female athletes reported benefiting from the prescription, and 17% said it improved their athletic performance.
“We were happy because it meant they noticed a difference in their performance on the court, or anywhere else, and that difference was a result of changing their bras,” Wakefield-Score said.
Sports bras broadly fall into one of two categories: there are compression bras that help reduce breast movement by squeezing flat against the chest, and encapsulated bras that support each breast in individual “cups.”
“Compression top-style sports bras are very popular in football,” said Wakefield Score. “It can be reasonably effective for women with smaller breasts, but there are also some hybrid bras that look like a crop top, but have more support, which is what Chloe[Kelly]used to wear.”
This support is important, as previous research has indicated that wearing an ill-fitting bra can lead to multiple problems, from breast tenderness and sagging tissues to skin irritation.
It was also found that running with a poorly supported bra shortens a woman’s steps by up to 4 cm, which is the equivalent of adding a full mile to a marathon.
“Our research also showed a decrease in muscle activity in the upper body as a result of not wearing a proper bra, which means[using the right type]can allow you to last a little longer in training sessions before fatigue sets in,” Wakefield-Score adds.
“If you’re exercising and your breasts are moving a lot, you’re working harder on your upper body to try to stop that movement,” she explains, according to the Guardian.
Prior to the Women’s Euro, Wakefield-Score provided general bra instructions for England players, followed by individual sessions. “We looked at their bra needs and any issues they had with sports bras, and then labeled them the (appropriate) sports bras including the sports bra we saw Khloe show everyone,” she said.
“They’ve been bras ready, but we’ve found that the players really appreciate the information on what bras fit and which styles work best for them. There are some really good products that can work with elite athletes.”
Besides pushing more women to play soccer, Kelly may have inadvertently pushed the sports bra purchase boom.
According to the announced figures, sales rose by 140 percent over the weekend, while there was a nearly tenfold increase in Google searches for the “sports bra” from Nike, following the final.
And Wakefield-Score considered that this is not a bad thing, noting that this could prompt companies to do more research and development, and continued, “I believe that the public can get real benefits from wearing them, and they can be worn all day.”