When something declines, it goes downhill. If you stop working out, your health may decline. If you want it to improve, you should start climbing inclines instead of coasting down declines.

The verb decline means refuse to accept, but the noun decline means a downward slope (the opposite of an incline), or a decrease in quality. At the gym, the treadmill has an incline button to control how steep your climb is. Sadly, there's no button for decline, which would be much easier. Both words contain cline, or "to bend." The prefix tells you which way the bend goes. Decline implies a going, or turning, down.

Definitions of decline
  1. verb
    grow worse
    synonyms: worsen
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    ameliorate, better, improve, meliorate
    get better
    ameliorate, amend, better, improve, meliorate
    make better
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    become inflamed; get sore
    come down, sicken
    get sick
    degenerate, deteriorate, devolve, drop
    grow worse
    deprive, impoverish
    take away
    get worse
    suffer a sudden downfall, overthrow, or defeat
    drop away, drop off, fall away, slip
    get worse
    get worse
    lose, suffer
    be set at a disadvantage
    regress, retrograde, retrogress
    get worse or fall back to a previous condition
    turn down
    take a downward direction
    fatigue, jade, pall, tire, weary
    lose interest or become bored with something or somebody
    become pale and sickly
    contract, get, take
    be stricken by an illness, fall victim to an illness
    become infected with a canker
    fade, languish
    become feeble
    rot, waste
    become physically weaker
    deprive (an established church) of its status
    backslide, lapse
    drop to a lower level, as in one's morals or standards
    drop off, fall back, fall behind, lose, recede
    type of:
    change state, turn
    undergo a transformation or a change of position or action
  2. verb
    grow smaller
    synonyms: go down, wane
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    go down momentarily
    wear on
    pass slowly (of time)
    go down in value
    fall off, sink, slump
    fall heavily or suddenly; decline markedly
    fall suddenly and sharply
    type of:
    decrease, diminish, fall, lessen
    decrease in size, extent, or range
  3. noun
    a gradual decrease; as of stored charge or current
    synonyms: decay
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    exponential decay, exponential return
    a decrease that follows an exponential function
    relaxation, relaxation behavior
    (physics) the exponential return of a system to equilibrium after a disturbance
    type of:
    decrease, decrement
    a process of becoming smaller or shorter
  4. noun
    change toward something smaller or lower
    synonyms: diminution
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    declension, decline in quality, deterioration, worsening
    process of changing to an inferior state
    diminution of swelling; the subsidence of anything swollen
    ebb, ebbing, wane
    a gradual decline (in size or strength or power or number)
    a gradual decline of something
    gradual decline in amount or activity
    a sudden sharp drop or rapid decline
    sinking spell
    a temporary decline in health or value
    decline from a standard level of performance or achievement
    loss of hair; the result of removing hair
    loss of excess weight (as by dieting); becoming slimmer
    drop-off, falling off, falloff, slack, slump
    a noticeable deterioration in performance or quality
    type of:
    decrease, decrement
    a process of becoming smaller or shorter
  5. noun
    a condition inferior to an earlier condition; a gradual falling off from a better state
    synonyms: declination
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    improvement, melioration
    a condition superior to an earlier condition
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    disuse, neglect
    the state of something that has been unused and neglected
    a condition of decline following successes
    something or someone that has suffered ruin or dilapidation
    something that has been omitted
    type of:
    condition, status
    a state at a particular time
  6. verb
    go down
    “The roof declines here”
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    dip, sink
    appear to move downward
    sink to a lower level or form a depression
    type of:
    fall vertically
  7. verb
    go down in value
    synonyms: correct, slump
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    type of:
    come down, descend, fall, go down
    move downward and lower, but not necessarily all the way
  8. noun
    a downward slope or bend
    synonyms: declension, declination, declivity, descent, downslope, fall
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    acclivity, ascent, climb, raise, rise, upgrade
    an upward slope or grade (as in a road)
    the downward slope of a hill
    a steep place (as on a hill)
    type of:
    incline, side, slope
    an elevated geological formation
  9. verb
    show unwillingness towards
    “he declined to join the group on a hike”
    synonyms: balk, refuse
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    accept, consent, go for
    give an affirmative reply to; respond favorably to
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    disdain, freeze off, pooh-pooh, reject, scorn, spurn, turn down
    reject with contempt
    contract out
    refuse to pay a levy to a union for political use
    decline formally or politely
    refuse to recognize or pay
    refuse to go along with; refuse to follow; be disobedient
    rebuff, repel, snub
    reject outright and bluntly
    sit in
    participate in an act of civil disobedience
    counteract, countermine, sabotage, subvert, undermine, weaken
    destroy property or hinder normal operations
    balk, baulk, jib, resist
    refuse to comply
    type of:
    react, respond
    show a response or a reaction to something
  10. verb
    refuse to accept
    synonyms: pass up, refuse, reject, turn down
    disdain, freeze off, pooh-pooh, reject, scorn, spurn, turn down
    reject with contempt
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    accept, have, take
    receive willingly something given or offered
    have, receive
    get something; come into possession of
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    dishonor, dishonour
    refuse to accept
    refuse to accept and send back
  11. verb
    inflect for number, gender, case, etc., "in many languages, speakers decline nouns, pronouns, and adjectives"
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    type of:
    change the form of a word in accordance as required by the grammatical rules of the language
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