Your Bod

Could sport bras be the reasons girls are quitting sports?


Breasts come in all shapes and sizes, but could they be why some girls dread exercise? This study from the Journal of Adolescent Health shows that the onset of puberty and girls quitting sports have a direct link. Meanwhile, it also states that this avoidance of exercise is not echoed by boys of the same age. So what does this mean? Negative female body image may be why some girls are dropping out of the sports they once loved.

Some think the problem may also lie in gym classes. The likelihood of a girl skipping gym class increases once she hits puberty. In an interview with The New York Times, Andria Castillo, 17, explains her and her friends opposite situations: “I felt boys and girls were making fun of me. Even though no one called me out, I felt they were, behind my back. I was taking taekwondo, and I would look in the big mirror and try to find ways to cover myself up and hide. I asked my dad if I could stop going.” After developing breasts in the sixth grade, her once athletic friend also abandoned exercise. “She eventually stopped going to gym altogether. Instead, she just went to a classroom and did her homework.”

Still, girls are dropping out of sports all over the world. So how’s it going to change? First, get educated. In one study, reports the New York Times, nearly 90% of girls stated they wanted to learn more about breasts in general, and almost half wanted to learn more about breasts in respect to physical activity. If you have questions, talk to your mom, female teacher or another woman you trust. When buying a sports bra, make sure to be fitted to get the right size—believe us, it’ll make a *huge* difference. Breast aren’t like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. There is no such thing as too big or too small. But when it comes to sports bras, there is a just right, and you shouldn’t settle for anything less.

It has been suggested that this could be changed by having female-only gym classes, but still others believe this won’t solve the problem. Elizabeth A. Daniels, an assistant professor of developmental psychology at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, told the NY Times that when it comes to body image, girls can be just as hurtful to other girls as boys. “I’m not sure the concern or embarrassment is always just about boys. So do we change the structure of the gym class or address respectful behavior?”

Times are changing, and so is your body. It may be easy to feel self conscious in locker rooms, but remember everyone is in the same boat. All girls are beautiful in different ways. Some girls are tall and wish they could be short. Others are short and wish they could be tall. But it doesn’t make sense to wish you could change something about yourself that you can’t. Instead, work on loving the way the you look and spreading a positive body image to all your besties.

If you want to get involved in athletics, but aren’t sure how, check out one of our favorite organizations, Women's Sports Foundation. And remember to always love the way you look, because you’re different, and that’s a good thing!

Has your growing body ever prevented you from pursuing sports?

Photo credit: Victoria's Secret Sport

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by Maria Graham | 5/12/2016