The snow is a distant memory (we hope!) and sports fields and ballparks are buzzing. If you are heading to see the Tigers or your own child or grandchild play, you can be in for a great treat: time outside, camaraderie and hopefully, adding to the win column.
But, if you suffer from back, neck or hip pain, the ballpark can be a somewhat uncomfortable experience. A few tips to lessen the aches and pains and avoid having a Bleacher Bum. (Bleacher Bums are the fans in the cheap seats, but it’s also the way your tush feels after sitting on the cold metal bleachers.)
- Bring a comfortable seat with you to children’s games. You can purchase portable seating that comes with a carrying sack. These seats aren’t perfect, offering insufficient neck support, but they are typically warmer than the bleachers and at least they have back support. If you cannot tolerate carrying the chair, see if you can leave one with the coaches’ equipment or drop it off as close as you can to the seating area.
- If you must sit on the bleachers, many bleachers have a top row with a back. These are significantly more comfortable than the unsupported lower seats; you just have to make your way to the top.
- Bring blankets and padding. Bleachers are hard and cold. Putting a cushion down really helps a lot, in terms of protecting your lower back and hips as well as keeping your temperature up.
- Walk around as often as possible. Don’t wait for the 7th inning stretch. Walk as often as you need to. Stand on your tip toes. Stretch your arms above and to the side. Bend at your waist. Do a few slow squats. Turn your ankles in circles.
- Dress in layers. If cool temperatures are a trigger to headaches, bring multiple layers to stay warm. If you suffer from heat flashes, by all means, wear clothing that can be taken off without leaving you uncovered.
- Don’t be a martyr. If the weather is inclement, take a break inside or in your car. Your family will forgive you. And if it’s a Tigers game, forget about the ticket price. Your health is more important and more valuable.
- Stay hydrated. Soda and beer aren’t good sources of hydration. Only good old water does the trick. It’s especially important for those patients who take prescription medication and diabetics to maintain hydration when outdoors.
- Don’t forget to wear sunscreen especially early in the season when we’re out of practice in terms of encounters with bright sunlight. Hats and sunglasses are important, especially if it’s team swag!
- Plan ahead for trips to Comerica Park. If you have trouble walking or climbing stairs, consider your parking plans and seat assignments long before the trip. You may have to trade tickets through the box office for more appropriate locations. Pay the extra money for parking that is more convenient and involves less walking and less exposure to extreme temperature (if they are present).