You feel fine walking on the flats, but add a pack and an incline and suddenly you’re huffing and puffing or grabbing at your ticker. Stiffening of lung tissue and arteries causes shortness of breath, plus chest and arm pain. For women, ticker trouble manifests itself as pain in the throat following any exertion.
Prevent Eat a diet filled with monounsaturated fats, including fish oil. These foods promote elasticity in the heart and lung tissues. Kelly advises that new hikers over age 50 (and anyone with risk factors–obesity, family history, previous heart problems) get a stress test prior to a big trip.
Soothe "Chest pains aren’t like cramps," says Kelly. "You can’t walk through them. If you feel them, stop hiking immediately and take aspirin. Rest until the pain abates, then hike to safety. Rest and administer rescue meds (aspirin, an inhaler, or prescription heart medication) immediately.
Strengthen After consulting your doctor, ease into our training program for both cardiovascular and strength gains.