Zip lining is a form of recreation that blends speed and heights, in some cases more than 50 mph and several hundred feet above ground.
That wraps some people’s two worst fears into one terrifying ride.
But the zip line is a natural pursuit for Americans, who tend to seek out thrill sports and take risks, said Frank Farley, a psychologist and professor at Temple University in Philadelphia.
“I think we’re a nation that really likes this kind of stuff,” said Farley, who has studied the thrill-seeking personality type, from roller coaster enthusiasts to mountaineers who scale Mount Everest to tightrope walkers.
Thrill seekers tend to be independent-minded, self-confident people who are drawn to intense experiences and turn fear into excitement, he said.
But more than just producing an adrenaline rush, thrill sports can help people gain strength, said Farley, a former president of the American Psychological Association.
Going down a zip line is one way to confront uncertainty, and “uncertainty is the essence of both risk and fear,” he said.