This is is going to sound like madness.
When I hiked up Volcan Concepcion on Ometepe Island under the hot Nicaraguan sun, not only had I just got food poisoning from eating some bad black beans but I also wasn’t wearing a proper bra. I wasn’t even wearing a real bra at all. Instead I’d cut an old, bedraggled vest top in half with straps that were wearing thin and was wearing that under my t-shirt. Let me tell you, that is not a good idea.
I’d long given up my pretty underwired bras which although look lovely, were starting to hurt as dry season in Central America rolled in. Uncomfortable underwires are not a traveller’s friend. Sitting around eating rice and beans, it didn’t matter whether I was wearing a bra or not, so I just started going without. It didn’t really occur to me that it mattered at all until I was hiking up that volcano, for the first time in my life, without a bra of any sort.
After that, I resolved to get a sports bra as soon as possible, which I did, and although it was an improvement it was nowhere near comfortable or supportive enough for getting really active. As someone who really cares about looking after their body, especially when it comes to eating the right foods and getting regular exercise, I had a strangely unhealthy approach to clothing.
I wasn’t going for the hippie thing of letting it all go free, though I’ve met many female travellers who are all for that. Honestly, I was just too uncomfortable in the bras that I already owned and couldn’t find a decent bra for travelling that wasn’t either in luminous colours or just out of this world expensive. I’m just not one of those girls who can envisage myself in a lime green bra, no matter how many gorgeous photos of fitness bloggers I see in them on Instagram.
Turns out that neglecting your bra choice isn’t a good idea. Not wearing a sports bra can damage the cooper’s ligaments which support breasts and can cause the breast tissue to permanently stretch and therefore sag. Now a sturdy bra is sounding like a good idea, right?
Being on the road, for my style of travelling anyway, warrants much more support than the average bra provides. Hot and humid countries, cycling around cities, hiking up mountains, it’s not stuff that can done bra-less or in fancy bras. The better option is finding a sports bra that works for you. What you want is a good sports bra that reduces strain, pain and movement and, even better, is made from material that wicks away moisture from the skin.
Don’t let yourself end up on a volcano trek without proper support like I did. Choose a good bra for travelling before you leave home and your body will thank you for it.