Roller coasters or any high velocity fun rides at your favourite theme park means fun and joy most of the times! But these rides place the human body in an unusual situation, and can have both physical and psychological effects on the body.
Generally these high speed theme park rides are incredibly safe from the point of view of serious accidents and injuries due to malfunction or equipment failure.
Now, lets start discussing on the 6 shocking things that happen to your body during a fun ride or a roller coaster ride.
#1. The G-Forces: When you’re riding a roller coaster or any high-speed fun ride, your body is subjected to G-Forces (the “G” stands for “gravity”). There are many types of G-Forces like positive G-force or Negative G-force and each exerts a certain effect on our body.
Positive G-Force occurs when the roller coaster is heading down hills. If you’re going fast enough, the force can be enough to slow or even stop the flow of blood to your brain and eyes. In very extreme cases, this can cause a loss of color vision or even complete transient loss of vision, that is blackouts.
Negative G-Forces have the opposite effect, and occur when the ride goes up-hill at a speed, or plummets down a sudden drop. This has the opposite effect on your blood flow which can race towards your brain and making your hair stand on end! This can be fatal to people with pre-existing weaker blood vessels in the brain, medically called as an Aneurysm.
#2. That Sinking Feeling of Stomach or Organs Floating inside: Have you ever wondered why you get an unusual feeling of something inside your abdomen or stomach feeling light or floating inside when you are travelling downwards in a high speed fun-ride?
When you’re in freefall downwards, there is barely any gravitational force acting upon you. The individual parts of your body are no longer pushing on each other as they normally do – instead, they are effectively “floating” inside you, falling at their own rate. That sinking feeling in your stomach comes because there is less force acting upon it, and it suddenly feels very light. Many People complain of nausea, vomiting, dizziness or even stomach upsets after these rides.
#3. Rides that turn you Upside Down: Typically, most theme park rides that turn you upside down don’t do so for a long duration. Why is this so? and what happens when you hang upside down on a height?
Our heart does not have the advantage of gravity in this situation. They are already beating faster when we’re on a fun ride, due to the excitement and fear that we experience! For most people, especially the young, an increased heart-rate is not a problem. However, an increased heart rate can lead to an irregular heartbeat. This can be dangerous for those who, knowingly or not, have cardiovascular issues and an increased chance of suffering a heart attack if they ride a roller coaster.
But in upside down state, they have to work double, pumping blood upwards to our legs and feet. Blood can rush to our heads and brain, causing red faces. There’s nothing to worry about in normal individuals, but this can sometimes be fatal to people with pre-existing weaker blood vessels in the brain, medically called as an Aneurysm, as already discussed!
#4. Side to Side Jerks or the Lateral G-Forces: This causes your body to be jerked suddenly sideways. This might sometimes be painful due to strain on your muscles. Very rarely whiplash injuries can happen due to multiple forces and jerks, specially if these rides are full of quick, sudden movements, and these can result in spinal traumas for some individuals. Typically, the effects of whiplash don’t show until a day or two after the individual leaves the ride, and consist of pain in the neck or back, as well as reduced mobility of the arms.
#5. Barotrauma and Ear Damage: Though rare, the change in air pressure that arises when traveling on a roller coaster can cause ear barotrauma, resulting in pain in one or both ears, due to a swelling of the ear canal. So!, people with pre-existing ear problems, Be cautious!
#6. Last but not the least: Psychological Problems! The very idea of a roller coaster can provoke a fight-or-flight scenario and adrenaline rush in in many individuals. This can cause increased sweating, increased heart rate and sometime arrhythmias, especially in people with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.