Older women need specially designed sports bras as breasts are 'less bouncy'
Expert likened breasts of women aged 45 to 65 to 'older elastic bands'Older women's breast tissue less flexibleFindings could lead to specially designed bras for mature women
13:17 GMT, 24 September 2012
Older women experienced less breast movement when working out
Older women may need specially designed sports bras because their breasts don’t bounce like younger women.
Experts at the University of Portsmouth found that older women are less likely to experience vertical breast bounce during exercise.
The study, the first to look at breast movement in women aged 45 to 65, also found older women’s breasts move in a different way to younger women’s.
The research was carried out by Debbie Risius, of the Research Group in Breast Health, and involved 24 women.
Twelve participants aged between 45 and 65 years were compared with twelve women aged between 18 and 25 years – all had a cup size of 34D.
The research team looked at movement in the breast when subjects walked bare breasted on a treadmill for two minutes.
Miss Risius initially thought older women would experience more breast movement, and breast pain, as a result of exercising, than younger women.
However, the study actually found that older women experience less movement than younger women.
Miss Risius suggested this is due to older breast tissue being less elastic, and therefore having less bounce than younger tissue.
She said: 'I was surprised by these results which clearly show the more mature breast moves in a completely different way to a younger breast.
'If you imagine an elastic band, it is very springy and flexible when new, and when it is stretched it bounces back with a lot of energy.
'An older elastic band is less flexible and is not as springy when it is stretched.
'This is similar to the differences between younger and older breast tissue.'
Study: Debbie Risius carried out the research on 24 women
She added: 'Specially designed bras may help support mature breasts more effectively and also encourage older women to exercise more regularly.
'Our earlier studies show older women are less likely to own a sports bra and less likely to take part in energetic exercise than young women.'
The University of Portsmouth has been studying breast biomechanics since 2005.
Previous research has found that breasts bounce to maximum levels of eight inches during exercise.
During walking, a woman’s breasts move the same amount in and out, up and down and from side to side (33 per cent in each direction).
But when a woman starts to jog or run movement is split: 51 per cent of movement is up and down; 22 per cent side to side and 27 per cent in and out.
The overall pattern of the movement is a figure of eight. It is estimated that more than 50 per cent of women experience breast pain when exercising.