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Outdoor First Aid

Prime Your Pump

You can't hike with a bum ticker–follow these heart-healthy strategies to stay on the trail longer.

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Bad news: Heart failure accounts for half of all fatalities among mountain-hiking men. Good news: The secret to reducing your odds of a heart attack, according to a study in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, is to spend more time at high elevations. The researchers, who reviewed nine years of cardiac-related mountain-hiking fatalities in Austria, reported that male hikers who exercised for two or more weeks a year in the Austrian Alps were four times less likely to die from a heart attack than hikers who spent fewer days at altitude. Here’s another heart-healthy strategy: Start training three months before you plan to do a mountain hike. To begin improving your fitness right now, read “Train Smarter“.