Theme and amusement parks are a popular summertime destination, and why not? The carnival smell, the decadent foods and of course the rides! What’s not to like?
As fun as those things are though, it pays to be mindful. This is especially true if you already suffer from chronic back or neck pain or if you have arthritis. Many of the rides at amusement parks (looking at you, roller coasters) can cause old injuries to flare up, or even create new ones.
It’s not good and it’s certainly not fun to think about, but there are some simple things you can do to keep your risks at a minimum. These include:
You don’t have to go crazy here. We’re not talking about a highly regimented “training program” to get you ready for a day at the amusement park. What we are talking about is a regular focus on strengthening your core with low-impact exercises. These are not only good for your health in general, but those stronger muscles will make it less likely that being tossed about on a ride for a few minutes will result in injury.
Before you head to the park of your choice, start the day by warming up. Give your body a good stretch, which will loosen your muscles and make you more relaxed. This gives you the same benefits that stretching before exercise provides, and is always a good idea, especially if you have a history of back or neck pain.
Keep Ice Handy
If it’s not practical to keep ice physically with you, at least be mindful of where the nearest snack stations are. That way, if you do suffer an injury while out having fun, you can give it a quick ice treatment to help keep the swelling down.
By all means, go out, have fun and enjoy the park and all your favorite rides. Just be sure to take a few basic precautions so that an unexpected injury doesn’t put a damper on the day.