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Ups and Downs
by Dr. David Williams

Exercise and physical activity can have it's ups and downs—literally.

Researchers have found that hiking uphill and downhill have different effects on the fats and the sugars in the blood.

Hiking uphill is a concentric exercise, meaning that muscles are shortened during movement, while hiking downhill is an eccentric exercise, meaning that muscles are lengthened.

Using a mountain and ski lifts for their study, researchers tested both types of exercise on a group of 45 participants. For two months the participants hiked only uphill and then took the chairlift down. For another two months, participants did the opposite.

Researchers found that both burned body fat but hiking downhill improved glucose tolerance and removed blood sugars, while hiking uphill improved triglyceride levels.

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