My dad called me last night in a full-on freak-out. This weekend his grandchildren are coming to visit and, like millions of kids around the world, they want to go to an amusement park to ride all the rollercoasters.
As much as he’d like to make his grandkids happy, he told me he’s “too old for that stuff.”
But is he really? And are there any major health issues seniors should take into consideration when thinking about hopping on some rides at the amusement park this summer? Are rollercoasters a health risk at all?
Are Rollercoasters Dangerous to Your Health?
Surely you’ve heard the term young at heart…and there isn’t a better way of showing the world you’ve still got it than spending a day riding rollercoasters. But the truth is that although they are not inherently dangerous—there’s probably a higher risk of injury driving your car to the park—‘coasters might actually pose a risk to some older folks.
If you’ve got high blood pressure or another heart condition, or perhaps issues with your neck or back, it might be a good idea to avoid the rollercoasters. These rides move jerkily and can toss people around quite a bit; in the process, they can exert a lot of stress on the body that’s not good for certain riders.
Know Your Health, Blood Pressure Before Riding
At the end of the day, it’s really about what kind of condition you’re in. If you’ll be putting yourself in harm’s way because of an existing health condition like high blood pressure or heart disease or a physical ailment like a back or neck injury, it’s best to let the grandkids handle the ‘coasters while you sit and wait by the exit—in the shade. But if you’re in decent shape with good blood pressure and no existing health conditions, taking a spin on a couple of rollercoasters shouldn’t be a problem.
How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally
The most important thing to know is that if you do have high blood pressure this year, you can work on it now so you might be able to take a ride with your grandkids next summer. You can lower your blood pressure by making more heart-healthy dietary choices and increasing overall activity.
To start lowering your blood pressure, try cutting out processed foods, like microwaved dinners, junk food, frozen prepared foods, and canned soups, for example. Replace them with a meal plan that looks something like this sample:
- Breakfast: 1/2 cup egg whites, 1/2 cup whole-grain oats, with blueberries and almonds
- Lunch: Spinach salad, sliced tomato, seasoned chicken breast, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dress
- Dinner: Black beans (or any selection of beans), salmon, sweet potato, broccoli; use olive oil to cook or dress the other foods
- Snack(s): Apple with peanut butter
Remember: you’re aiming for whole, fresh foods and a healthy balance of a variety of items.
Get Healthy & Have Fun
It doesn’t take very long for your blood pressure to start dropping once the correct measures are taken, thereby greatly reducing your risk for heart attack.
sometimes, age really is just a number. So if you’re not ready for a day at the amusement park with your grandkids this summer, aim to surprise them next year by getting your blood pressure in line!