Sunday, 18 September 2011

High Heels and Breasts Sagging

What Causes Sagging of Breasts? 
Breasts are composed of three kinds of tissue: fat, glands,and connective tissue. Connected to the thorax by Cooper's ligaments; there are no supportive muscles. The only muscles the pectoralis major and minor. They lie underneath the breast. Therefore, their only support are the ligaments of Cooper and the skin. Unfortunately, both the ligaments and skin age with time and offer less support.
Many women are obsessed by how they look. Since the beginning of time, the breasts are one factor that has defined a woman's sexual attractiveness. Unfortunately, the once perky breasts of youth have a tendency to sag with age. For some women this causes concern.
Sagging or drooping of breasts is a natural, inevitable process that happens to all women at some point - except to those with fairly small breasts.

The most notable sagging happens with the process called breast involution (see below), but breasts can start drooping a little at any age, because they do NOT have muscles in them.  They have ligaments and connective tissue.

When the gravity pulls the breasts down, those ligaments and the skin can stretch, and so the breast then droops. This depends on the elasticity of your skin and of your ligaments, as determined by your genes and diet, and also on normal aging processes. Obviously large breasts will sag easier since the gravity is pulling them down more. When breasts bounce during active sports, such as tennis, those ligaments can also be stretched or even torn. A good sports bra can minimize that effect.

Breast involution is a process where the milk-making system inside the breast shrinks because it is not needed anymore. This happens either after weaning, or right after pregnancy if the woman does not breastfeed at all, or during menopause. When the tissues inside the breast shrink, and the skin surrounding it doesn't, the breast can look "empty" and saggy. After weaning, a woman's body does usually deposit fat back to the breast (this process takes months), so that breasts will gain their pre-pregnancy size, but sagging usually remains.

Another common cause for sagging is when a woman loses weight. When you lose weight, some of that fat disappears from your breasts. Typically the skin and the ligaments inside the breasts do not retract accordingly, resulting in an 'empty' looking breast that then sags. (You could try prevent this by eating foods that provide extra good nutrition for your skin.)

Worries about sagging breasts is one of the most popular questions sent to this website. So if you feel your breasts droop, you are most certainly not alone!
Note: A scientific study that studied the effects of breastfeeding upon sagging, found that breastfeeding per se did not have an affect upon the sagging. Pregnancy does because of the great physical changes happening in the breasts during pregnancy, but breastfeeding alone did not. According to the study, the following were risk factors for an increased degree of breast sagging: body mass index (BMI), the number of pregnancies, a larger pre-pregnancy bra size, smoking history, and age.             
Your favorite footwear could be making you less perky
Yes, we've all been told to "sit up straight"--or suffer the consequences of poor posture. But that's just not a particularly scary warning. So let us explain it in a way that's a little more specific: a bent spine might mean saggy breasts.
Did that get your attention?
Here's how it works: When you slouch forward all the time--like you probably do while working on your computer or driving your car--your chest muscles actually stiffen, which pulls your shoulders forward into a permanent slump. The result: A look that's unbecoming to your bosom. Worse, hunching forward also puts more stress on your upper spine, which leads to neck, back, and shoulder pain. Did your neck start hurting one day and never stop? It's probably the result of poor posture.

But bad posture doesn't just mean slumped shoulders. When you sit constantly--as most of us do--the muscles on the fronts of your hips become short and tight. What's more, your glutes--or butt muscles--actually forget how to contract. (After all, with so much chair time, they're not being used for much of anything except padding for your hip bones.) Now, the combination of tight muscles on the front of your hips and weak muscles on your backside causes your pelvis to tilt forward. This pushes your lower abdomen outward, making your belly pooch out--even if you don't have an ounce of fat.

Worse yet, high heels complete the ugly picture. Your high-fashion shoes not only contribute to your pooch, but again, leave you less perky up top as well, according to Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., author of The Female-Body Breakthrough. That's because heels make your ankle muscles tight. This leads to tighter muscles all the way up your legs to your lower back. (Think of the old song: "The ankle bone is connected to the knee bone . . ." It's the same way with your muscles.) And a tight lower back causes you to compensate by hunching forward even more, says Rachel. So your sag worsens. Not a pretty sight.

The bottom line: Your body is a chain of inter-related muscles from head to toe. If you have a problem in one area, it's going to cause problems in another. But you can use this simple three-step guide to slouch proof your posture. Start today--and you'll begin to look better instantly.

1. Always sit as tall as you can. Sure, it sounds obvious, but remind yourself every few minutes, whether you're at your desk or in your car. You'll be surprised at how much you tend to slump when you're not thinking about it. Then use these simple cues to set yourself straight.
*Pull your shoulders down and back. Simply imagine that you're trying to create as much space between your ears and shoulders as you can, and try to hold that position.
*Pretend there's a string attached from your chest to the ceiling, pulling your chest up at all times.
*Brace your abs--as if you were about to be punched in your gut--but breathe normally. It'll seem hard at first, but keep practicing, and it'll become second nature. A bonus: It'll also help fight lower back pain.

2. Do an exercise called the hip raise daily. This strengthen your glutes and teaches them how to contract again--which helps allow your pelvis to move back in its natural alignment. Here's how to do it: Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your arms out to your sides. That's the starting position. Now squeeze your glutes and raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from you shoulders to your knees. Pause for five seconds, then lower body back to the starting position. Do two to three sets of 12 repetitions every day.

3. Stretch your chest. This helps loosen your chest muscles, which become short and tighten when you slump. Try a simple doorway stretch: Place your arm against a door frame in the high-five position--your palm facing forward and your elbow bent 90 degrees. Now step through the doorway until you feel the stretch in your chest and the front of your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with your other arm. That's one set; do a total of 4 daily.

Best Sports Bras 
A good sports bra is like an old friend—holds you close, offers comfort when you need it, and gives unconditional support. Which are the best? To find out, we gave 20 testers of different sizes—from a 32A to a 40DD and a 34FF—the newest styles to test-drive in their yoga workout, at boot camp, and while walking. Take their word for it, or try this dressing-room test: Jump up and down, swing your arms, and touch your toes. Pass on any that dig, pinch, or rub.

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