A study has found that walking downhill increases glucose tolerance (a person's ability to use blood sugar) by 25%, compared with only a 9.4% increase when walking uphill. Thar's important for people who are obese or who have diabetes, heart failure or another condition that makes it difficult to perform vigorous exercise.

Theory: Eccentric muscle work (as in stepping down) helps the body make more efficient use of glucose.

Self defense: Talk to your doctor about starting a downhill walking regimen or adding one to your current workout.

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