In 1895, crowds flooded Coney Island to see America’s first-ever looping coaster: the Flip Flap Railway. But its thrilling flip caused cases of severe whiplash, neck injury and even ejections. Today, coasters can pull off far more exciting tricks and do it safely. Brian D. Avery investigates what roller coasters are doing to your body and how they’ve managed to get scarier and safer at the same time.

TED-Ed’s How Roller Coasters Affect Your Body loops us into the physics and biological considerations that go into rollercoaster design, including gravity, potential and kinetic energy, and gravitational force or G-force.

Related reading: How Roller Coasters Work.

Watch this next: The Sommerrodelbahn Alpine Coaster in Mieders, Austria and Extreme Gs in a centrifuge. Plus: More about the human body.

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