Days 89 & 90: Walking Uphill and Downhill

Days 89 & 90 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.

Yesterday, I walked with my friend Suzanne through the flatlands of my neighborhood.  It’s a pleasant walk, but I told her I thought I was ready to try something more challenging.

Ever since I began the Papa’s Walk Challenge, I have stuck to walking on flat ground and avoided hills. I didn’t think I had the stamina to hill imagetackle them.

So, today, I decided to take a different route that started out with a climb to a hilltop near my home. The last time I walked up that hill was in January 2013, and I had to stop midway to catch my breath.  My goal, was to walk up the hill without stopping.

I did it! I walked slowly, and I was huffing and puffing along the way, but I made it to the top without taking a break. Then, I enjoyed the downhill walk to the flatlands and followed my usual walking route.

My stamina has improved over the past few months – and I’m certain it’s a result of walking every day. I’m looking forward to tackling more hills in the weeks to come especially in light of a study by Austrian researchers that showed the benefits of uphill and downhill walking as follows:

  • Walking uphill lowers tryglycerides by 11 percent compared with 6.8 percent while walking downhill.
  • Downhill walking improved glucose tolerance by 8.2 percent compared with 4.5 percent while uphill walking.

The researchers think the difference may be a result of more concentric muscle activity while going uphill and more eccentric activity going downhill. Who knew?



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