In this study, a team of researchers followed 45 people, split into two groups. The first group took a cable car up to the top of a mountain (the study was done in the Austrian Alps) and then walked down to the bottom. The second group climbed to the top and then came down by cable car. Cable car ticket stubs were one way the researchers checked to see if the people in the group were complying with instructions.
What the researchers discovered was unexpected. They found that the group that walked downhill was better able to regulate their blood sugar levels. Uphill walking did not appear to affect blood glucose. Both groups experienced better (lower) LDL levels (the 'bad cholesterol'), and the uphill group had much lower triglycerides.
This is promising for people who are not quite ready to take on a more challenging exercise program. Walking downhill is generally easier for those just starting out. Exercise is considered an important part of any diabetes treatment plan.
Obviously, most of us don't live near a cable car (or even a mountain, for that matter). But there are still ways to take a downhill walk - take transit or ask a friend or family member to drive you somewhere that you can walk down a hill. As you become more fit, do the uphill portion of the walk too.
This is only one small study but it doesn't hurt to see if it works for you. Always check with your doctor prior to starting an exercise routine. This is particularly important if you have been sedentary or inactive, or if you have been feeling ill. Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly to make sure they are still stable and under good control. Hill walking may be a simple way to naturally lower high blood sugar - give it a try! Also consider dietary alternatives as a way of controlling blood sugar naturally.