A team of researchers led by Sandia National Laboratories is seeking answers to these questions through the Rim-to-Rim Wearables at the Canyon for Health, or R2R WATCH, study, a collaboration with the University of New Mexico and the National Park Service and funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

"We sometimes sense that we are getting sick or that stress is beginning to affect our health," said Glory Emmanuel Aviña, Sandia's R2R WATCH principal investigator.

Is it manageable, meaning your body can recover once the cause is removed, or is it indicative of a potentially catastrophic health outcome?"

The first round of data collection, held last fall, tested wearable fitness devices for data collection, refined cognitive tests and identified correlations between fatigue and declines in cognitive abilities.

A physical trial lies ahead: 21 miles from rim to rim, including a one-mile change in elevation, extreme swings in temperature and the mental challenge of the uphill second half.

These devices will provide a window into the hikers' physiological changes during their rim-to-rim trek.

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