For Better Health, Ride The Roller Coaster High
There’s something almost festive about stepping into an amusement park – the smell of warm fluffy cotton candy, the exhilaration in the air, the general sunny mood pervading the atmosphere, the squeals and screams of delight emanating from thrill-riddled rides on a high. Losing that troublesome flab on your body might normally be an uphill task which would involve dragging yourself to the unwelcome threshold of exercise, but you’d be surprised to know that happily traipsing around a theme park makes us lose calories without even thinking about it. We all know that quivery feeling which settles in right before we get into a rollercoaster ride with its hair-raising twists and turns, but here are some actual health benefits you can get out of a ride, all while having fun.
Losing Those Kidney Stones
Now here’s an interesting story. Dr. David Wartinger, an urologist at Michigan State University had a couple of patients who came back from a vacay in Disney World. They’d ridden a couple of rollercoaster rides and some of their small kidney stones had passed clean through. In fact, one patient claimed to have ridden on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a roller coaster ride in Disney World and claimed to have passed a stone every time he got on it. An intrigued David Wartinger packed up with a colleague and headed to Disney World with a 3D printed artificial kidney modelled on a patient’s kidney in tow. They filled the artificial kidney with small stones and urine (yes, real urine) and got on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The bag was strapped to where the kidneys normally are. After about 200 rides they realized that the passage of stones was more effective if you rode in the rear car of the ride, presumably because of all the jerks and whips of the bogey. Don’t worry, none of the other passengers got splashed. So here you go, riding roller coasters over a short period of time helps in passing small stones which would later have formed into bigger chunks making it crazy expensive to remove later on. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad saves the day!
Burning Calories Was Never More Fun
There’s good news for workout haters. Screaming your lungs out on a fast-moving ride actually helps you lose calories. A few scientists, engineers, artists and designer from Thrill Laboratory found that people riding on some roller coasters in Thorpe Park, UK lost 40- 70 calories.
Roller Coasters Are Affordable Stress Busters
Despite a ride’s hair-raising twists and heart-dropping maneuvers, our brain knows that the ride is safe and as such we are able to enjoy the thrill. Since a ride is scary in its sharps dips and highs, the brain stays occupied in the present and for a few moments everything else blanks out except the thrill. We let go of our worries and anxieties for a few minutes and then get off the ride feeling exhilarated.
Sunny Moods Are Here
Roller coasters have you riding on an endorphin high, as after a steep ascent on a roller coaster the sudden dip leads to an endorphin release which is responsible for feelings of excitement. The endorphin release leaves you feeling energized and refreshed.
Riding High On an Adrenaline Rush
Roller coasters are built for adrenaline junkies who go for situations where the body perceives danger and goes into a ‘flight or fight’ situation, sending the adrenaline pumping into our veins. This makes the body feel alert and active and releases a flow of endorphins, the feel-good hormone.
Getting a Good Muscle Workout
Believe it or not, your muscles get a workout on crazy rides. Gripping with all your strength to handrails and tightening your core muscles to adjust your body to the sharp swerves and drops makes you uses a lot of muscles you’d ordinarily use to workout.
Pushing Away Phobias
You’ll find a lot of friends daring each other to go on scary rides. It’s a good way to let go of some of your fears, be it heights or dark rides. You’ll find yourself scared half to death and screaming your lungs off, but you’ll get a sense of achievement at having embraced your fears and will more likely be less scared of them the next time.
Pregnant women and people with cardiovascular and heart problems, however, should steer clear of all such rides. All these benefits means a trip to the amusement park is due. Getting healthy was never this fun.