health

Roller Coasters: 7 Wild Reasons That Thrill Rides Are Good For Your Body

by Kate Taylor
Kate is a writer who laughs at her own jokes and likes to pour too much hot sauce on her food.

Roller coasters aren’t the type of thing that you usually associate with health benefits. In fact, I’ll admit to emerging from a roller coaster ride feeling more battered and bruised than when I started.

Roller coasters are generally supersafe, but they feel dangerous. Some people freak-out on these types of rides, and others are warned away from the spills and chills to protect their health.

On the other hand, feeling scared is exactly the reason why some people are willing to wait in lines for hours just to ride a roller coaster for 30 seconds. What’s more, that jolt of fear might also come with some serious health benefits.

There are exceptions. People with cardiovascular and heart conditions, and pregnant women should steer clear of thrill rides.

However, for many people, roller coasters may actually provide a boost to your physical well-being.

See the details below to learn about why you might want to head to your nearest theme park.

Thumbnail: Wikimedia Commons / RJHall 

Why Do People Like Roller Coasters?

<u>Why Do People Like Roller Coasters?</u>
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

The simple answer to the question “Why do people like roller coasters” is that they are fun!

However, if we get more technical, The New York Times reports that some people, especially those with a thrill-seeking personality actually crave fear.

People who enjoy roller coasters may even have a slightly different brain structure than the rest of us. They may have a slight imbalance in a brain chemical that predisposes them to seek heightened levels of arousal.

How Roller Coasters Help Your Health
Benefit 1: Passing Kidney Stones

<u>How Roller Coasters Help Your Health</u><br>Benefit 1: Passing Kidney Stones
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Chances are, you’ve never thought about passing kidney stones while riding a roller coaster, but studies show that it might be worth thinking about.

The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that the high speed jolting motion of a roller coaster can successfully dislodge a kidney stone from a patient — especially if they sit in a rear car.

Benefit 2: Stress Relief

Benefit 2: Stress Relief
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

One theory as to why riding roller coasters is so enjoyable has to do with stress relief.

Dr. Epstein, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts,  tells the New York Times that, “Being totally absorbed is in itself pleasurable. Complete concentration that blanks out everything else temporarily relieves you from all conflicts. Even if it’s scary, its a way to drive out disturbing thoughts.”

Riding a roller coaster can help you forget all of your everyday problems, even if only for a few seconds.

Benefit 3: Helps Fight Phobias

Benefit 3: Helps Fight Phobias
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you’ve ever conquered a fear of heights or spiders before, chances are you felt pretty liberated afterwards.

The same can be said for riding roller coasters. By overcoming your fear, you will become more confident and courageous in other walks of life too.

Phobias can also have severely limiting physiological effects, like sweating and shaking, so laying your worries to rest might help with that too.

Benefit 4: Good For Your Lungs

Benefit 4: Good For Your Lungs
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Roller coasters (and other thrilling activities) are often accompanied by heavy breathing, but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad for asthmatics.

In fact, a study reported by the US National Library of Medicine reports that asthma patients recorded more regular breathing while on and following their coaster ride.

Still, if you have asthma, don’t try this without talking to a doctor first, and make sure you have an inhaler on hand, just in case.

Benefit 5: Clear Your Sinuses

Benefit 5: Clear Your Sinuses
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

You may know the feeling of your sinuses clearing as you ascend or descend in an airplane.

This action can be simulated on a roller coaster on a smaller scale and without being in a pressurized cabin.

The sharp up and down force can work to clear your sinuses and dislodge any blockages.

Benefit 6: Can Identify Dormant Symptoms

Benefit 6: Can Identify Dormant Symptoms
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Part of the reason why we enjoy roller coasters so much is because they take us out of our element.

It’s the “being shook around” sensation of a roller coaster that helped a British woman detect a brain tumor she had no idea she had.

According to Daily Mail, Sally Dare began suffering from headaches and dizziness following a roller coaster ride in Florida. As her condition worsened, she went to see a doctor and was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

The movements of the roller coaster likely loosened the tumor and allowed it to be detected early.

Benefit 7: Adrenaline Rush

Benefit 7: Adrenaline Rush
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

When you experience an adrenaline rush, your whole body goes through a “fight or flight” response, which is an automatic reaction that will leave you feeling energized and exhilarated, especially if you’re an adrenaline junkie.

An adrenaline rush can help make minor aches and pains hurt less.

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