Are you too old for roller coasters?

Are you too old for roller coasters?

Some people are extremely passionate about them, and others are deathly afraid of them. No, we aren’t referring to the presidential candidates, but instead to roller coasters. Thrill seekers around the world look for the tallest, fastest and most fun rides to fly through the sky on to experience that great rush of adrenaline and other emotions. One might consider this a young person’s idea of a good time, but riders come in all ages. Yet many question, is there an age where it might be too risky to ride a roller coaster?

“There are guidelines that most roller coasters have, such as not riding if you have a heart condition or are pregnant” says Dr. Rich Kelly, a family medicine provider at Advocate Dreyer in Aurora, Ill. “As far as an age limit, though, if you are physically healthy and up for the thrill, there is likely no greater risk for someone who is 60 than there is for someone who is 20.”

The largest concern for those who indulge in roller coasters is the after effects. Many people can spend an entire day riding and not feel anything until the evening or even the following day. The largest impact areas are usually the neck, back and knees. As the cars make quick turns or abrupt stops and starts, the body’s adjustment tends to be slower as we age.

“Most likely, you can tell immediately after a ride that something didn’t feel right,” says Dr. Kelly. “However, there are times that, similar to a car accident, your body doesn’t feel sore until the next day after a night’s sleep. It has a bit to do with the adrenaline that is going through your body right after a ride.”

If you still enjoy roller coasters but find they are causing you pain or soreness, is there any way to stop the pain before it starts?

Dr. Kelly provides a few tips to riders:

  • Watch the path. If you want to ride something and enjoy your time, watch the path of the car before you board. You may see that it has abrupt stops or steep drops that you know your body won’t respond well to.
  • Limit the number of rides. Don’t go on every single ride or go back to back. Take time in between to let your body recover before going on its next thrill.
  • Take over the counter pain medication. If you insist on going and think you may have an issue after riding, consider taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory so that you can combat any potential aches and pains at their onset.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.