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Stadium Seating: Going 9 Innings Without Breaking Your Back

By Sara Butler

Stadium Seating: Going 9 Innings Without Breaking Your Back

Americans cannot get enough of baseball. According to Baseball America, the minor leagues are scoring big when it comes to attendance, with more than 30 million fans attending games in 2022. That’s 10 times what the Dodgers draw each year in Los Angeles.It’s a lot of people.

If you’re one of those who cannot get enough live baseball, be it major or minor league, you may have noticed the lack of comfortable seating in stadiums. As true as Babe Ruth was the Sultan of Swat, there’s only so much a beer, a hotdog, and some peanuts can do to make you comfortable as you watch America’s national pastime.

If you’re going to attend one or more of the 81 home games played by major league teams, or any other baseball game at a minor league stadium, high school field, or Little League diamond, then you need a strategy to stay comfortable in those seats.

You may be asking yourself how you can watch games, catch foul balls, and stay comfortable on game days. The chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic have a few tips to help you survive stadium seating for nine innings without breaking your back.

Going to the Game

You may be excited to slide into that seat behind home plate or 60 feet above the playing field in the nosebleed section of left field, but if you want to make comfort a priority, then you need to utilize a few chiropractic tips before you even get to the game.

If you’re driving far to the stadium, it will behoove you to take a few precautions on the ride to the ballpark. Here are some tips.

Pack well - Whether it’s a trip to the game, school, or a picnic, you need to pack what you need to be comfortable yet not overpack; which makes this a real multitasking exercise. Bring a small pillow for your lumbar spine, or a neck pillow to help keep your neck comfortable. You also want to bring a seat cushion for the stadium if you know the padding will be minimal.

Stretch - After you get out of the car, take a few minutes to do some stretches. Stretch your back, your legs, your arms, and your neck before you head over to the box office to purchase tickets or pick them up. After all, sometimes that walk from the parking lot can be a long one because stadium parking is no joke!

Chiropractic Tips for Stadium Seating

In most stadiums, unless you purchase club level seats, you’re likely going to be left to manage seating that is quite uncomfortable. Remember, the average baseball game lasts about three hours. Seats that are comfortable when the umpire yells “Play ball!” can become a pain by the third inning, so you’ve got to have some tricks in your back pocket (in which you carry a flat wallet) to help make things more comfortable. And if you’re dealing with bleacher seats, then you need to know how to manage staying comfortable while enjoying the game.

The biggest problem with bleachers is that they do not provide lumbar support for your back. This can lead to increased back pain due to poor posture. If you can avoid hard bleachers for your seats, then do it. Some other tips include:

Bring a cushion - If it’s allowed, you should bring a small cushion or pillow with you to the game. Some seating areas may even allow you to bring a blanket or your chair. Use these things to sit on during the game to help elevate your hips above your knees for comfort and prevent the rounding of your lower back, which can lead to pain.

Move around - it can be difficult to leave your seat once seated because you don’t want to miss the action or because you’re surrounded by a sea of people. Whatever the reason, sitting for too long can lead to a stiff back, so make sure you try to get up and move around as much as possible. Even standing up to cheer for your favorite team periodically throughout the game can help, and jumping up to try snagging home run balls is highly encouraged. Oh, and that thing called the seventh inning stretch? It has “stretch” in its name, which should tell you something!

Stay hydrated - Make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the game. If your body is properly hydrated, then chances are it will better withstand the posture perils it is being put through by hard stadium seating.

Think about your posture – Sure, there’s a lot of exciting stuff going on around you at the game, but it’s vital to keep your posture in mind, too. Try not to slouch so that you can lighten the load on your lower back. You should endeavor to keep your ears in line with your shoulders and hips as you sit up straight with your shoulders back. This might feel strange at first, but the more you do it the more natural it’ll feel.

Invest in a seating aid - If you’re a big baseball fan and go to multiple games per season, then it just makes sense to invest in a seating aid to help you deal with uncomfortable seating. You can buy a stadium chair to help support your back if you’re relegated to bleacher seating, a foam seat to help cushion, or a gel cushion that is ergonomically designed to help your posture.

After the Game

When the game is over and you are out of that seat, make sure to do a few more stretches before you begin your trek back to the car. This will help your body to recover from sitting in the seats for so long and ensure that your range of motion is adequate for walking back to the car. You should also make sure to see your chiropractor regularly for adjustments to help your body work at its very best.

This season, you’ve likely got your game days all planned out. Don’t forget that your comfort has to take center field and shouldn’t be overshadowed by your excitement and passion. Baseball is a long-term proposition, and if you’re a season ticket-holder, you know what a grind a full season can be. Spring training begins in February, the World Series ends in November. Baseball seasons will come and go, but your spinal health should always be a priority. Talk to the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic today for more tips to help you navigate the uncomfortable seating at your most frequented baseball venue. You may live and die with your team, but you don’t have to kill your back doing it.

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