Breast tissue is primarily made of fat, but also contains connective tissues, milk ducts, lymph nodes and blood vessels, according to MayoClinic.com. There is no muscle tissue in the female breast, so exercise does not directly lift the breast itself. Worse, weight loss frequently results in a loss of breast tissue, according to Michele S. Olson, Ph.D., of Auburn University, quoted by Mind, Body + Spirit Fitness.
However, exercising the pectoral muscles, which support the chest, can provide lift to the breast area. This lift can enhance the look of your breasts in addition to shaping your torso. Push-ups, weight training and even yoga can strengthen the pectoral muscles and provide lift for sagging breasts.
The Right Bra
Eight out of 10 women wear the wrong size bra, according to Linda Becker, a lingerie shop owner in New York City, quoted by Mind, Body + Spirit Fitness. In addition, a woman’s breasts change sizes several times during her life, due to weight fluctuation, Becker says. Wearing the right bra is especially important while exercising, according to Peter Bruno, M.D, quoted by Mind, Body + Spirit Fitness.
A professional fitter first measures the circumference of your body just underneath your breasts to determine your band size. The fitter then measures your breasts by wrapping a tape measure around your body and over the nipples. Subtracting the band size from the measurement over your breasts will determine your cup size: 1 is an A cup, 2 is a B cup, 3 is a C cup, 4 is a D cup, 5 is an DD cup and 6 is a DDD cup, according to Good Housekeeping.
When you were younger, your breasts may have defied gravity, staying perky even when you went bra-less. Give your breasts a break from all that heavy lifting with a supportive bra. Choose a bra that will lift your breasts and keep them in place all day. Expert bra-fitter Linda Becker, of TheBraLady.com, said that in the right bra, your nipple should rest between your shoulder and elbow. If your breasts hang lower, get re-fitted for a more supportive bra. The more time your breasts spend uplifted and supported, the longer they will hold that shape when not in a bra.
Replace Old Bras
Becker says even well-made bras only have a life expectancy of six to nine months. Over time, the weight of your breasts stretches the cups and band size. Washing also weakens bra material, allowing bras to stretch more over time. Hand-wash bras in cold water.
Never dry your bras in a heated drier. Heat weakens the elastic used to keep your bra snug. Instead, re-form the bra cups, and lay the bra flat to air-dry.
Massaging your breasts daily increases circulation in breast tissues. Increased circulation moves fresh oxygen through your tissues and muscles, allowing your body to heal itself. For your breasts, this means your body has fresh oxygen to encourage collagen growth and boost elasticity.
IndiaParenting.com says that if you’re breast-feeding, you run a higher risk of sagging breasts after you wean your baby. Milk in your breasts stretches skin, and your baby also stretches out tissues as he or she pulls on your breast. Instead of resting your baby on your lap and leaning down, causing your baby to pull your breasts downward, alter your feeding position. Brace on a couch or chair so your baby can sit higher in your arms. Support your breast so your infant can suck from the side, instead of below.
Dehydrated skin is weaker and more susceptible to stretching, according to IndiaParenting.com. Slather on moisturizing lotions or body butters every day. Look for products with collagen-boosting ingredients, such as echinacea or holy basil.
How to Help Sagging Breasts
Your breasts consist of fat, connective tissue, milk ducts, blood vessels, lymph nodes, lobes and lobules. As you age, gravity, weight gain and pregnancy may cause your breasts to fall. One common misconception is that breast-feeding causes sagging. However, breast-feeding doesn’t negatively affect breast volume or shape, according to MayoClinic.com. Supporting your breasts with the proper bra and toning your chest muscles can help sagging breasts. Give your breasts a natural lift–strengthen your pectoral muscles and your core to improve your posture and increase muscle volume, recommends “IDEA Fitness Journal.”
Lie on your back on a bench or the floor, holding a light- to moderate-weight dumbbell in each hand. Choose a dumbbell that challenges your muscles–it shouldn’t stress your shoulders, elbows or wrist joints. Engage your core to maintain neutral back alignment.
Press your arms toward the ceiling with your palms facing each other. Visualize holding a large beach ball between your arms to keep them rounded at the elbows. Relax your shoulders, neck and head.
Lower your arms slowly, feeling the weight of the dumbbells on your chest. Take your arms down to slightly past shoulder level. Hold this pose for five to eight counts.
Raise your arms toward the ceiling slowly, keeping a slight bend in your elbows. Visualize squeezing your chest muscles as you lift your arms back up.
Perform 10 to 12 repetitions. Place the dumbbells on the floor. Open your arms straight out to your sides at shoulder level. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to a minute.
How to Reverse Sagging Breasts
Your breasts are made up of fat, glands and connective tissue. Over time, these breast tissues may start to sag as a result of stretched breast skin, weight, the aging process and overall health. When your breasts begin to sag, it is impossible to completely reverse the process naturally. You can either have the breast tissue lifted surgically or take a few steps to slow the process and give your breasts a more lifted appearance.
Quit smoking. According to the Mayo Clinic, smoking cigarettes reduces the elasticity of your skin, causing your breasts to sag. Although getting rid of a smoking habit cannot reverse sagging, it can slow the process.
Maintain a healthy body weight. When you gain weight, your skin expands, reducing its elasticity.
Wear sunscreen any time your chest is exposed to the sun. Sun not only damages the skin; it can also speed up the stretching of elastin fibers in your skin. Remember to reapply sunscreen regularly, especially if you plan to be in the water.
Exercise your chest muscles regularly. Exercises such as dumbbell flyes and chest presses firm up the muscle tissue beneath your breasts, giving your breasts a firmer appearance.
Wear a supportive bra, especially when participating in athletic activity. A well-fitting bra supports the ligaments of your breasts and may reduce stretching and sagging. Even if you cannot reverse sagging with a bra, you can use a bra to give your breasts the appearance of being firm.
How to Correct Sagging Breasts
As is the nature with aging, the breasts can start to sag as you get on in years. Even if you’re in good physical condition, gravity will start to take hold, pulling the breast tissue down and even making the nipples point south. However, there are ways to correct sagging breasts. A breast lift may seem like the most straightforward way to accomplish this, but there are other ways to get the look you desire.
Lift weights. This will provide a solid support structure for your breasts and help lift them up. Perform exercises that require lifting weights out and up above you. Lying on your back, use free weights in each hand and push them from a resting position toward the sky. Your arms should stay in line with your shoulders. Repeat 10 times.
Perform arm circles each morning. Try to really extend the range of your arms on each rotation. Repeat 10 times, circling your arms backward, then switch direction for another set of 10.
Do a set of 10 pushups three times a week. Start with your weight distributed evenly between your hands, which should be shoulder-width apart, and your knees (or toes if you have the strength). Lower your body down to be horizontal with the floor and lift back up.
Perform exercises to strengthen your back and core muscles. Yoga is a good example, since it requires that you be centered and strengthen all of your muscles at once. As you posture improves, so will the look of your breasts as it will appear they are sitting higher on your chest.
Stay hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. This will keep your skin looking smooth and supple, which is key for correcting sagging breasts. If your skin appears full and supple, any shifting your breasts have done over the years will be less noticeable.
Invest in a bra that fits you well and supports you properly. An underwire will help lift your breasts, and wearing a sports bra will ensure your breasts stay in place and will droop less in the future. At the very least, your breasts will look fuller and as though they haven’t sagged with a good bra