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为什么健身并不能拯救你的人生?

为什么健身并不能拯救你的人生?


我们翻译这篇文章的理由


新年新气象,又到了制定(不可能完成的)新年计划的时候啦~ 相信吃了七天大餐(和年夜饭剩菜)后,很多朋友都定下减肥目标办了会所年卡誓言健身锻炼吧 :)看了这篇文章,你对健身的幻想或许会被无情击碎,但或许你也会因此对自己的生活方式做出一点点改变:割舍现代化带来的种种不必要的“方便”,故意给自己找点麻烦。比如:删除饿了么,走去餐厅吃饭吧!历史的教训告诉我们,过于方便的生活不但会让你变懒、变笨,还会让你落下一身病。

——邵海灵


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为什么健身并不能拯救你的人生?


作者:Vybarr Cregan-Reid

译者:邵海灵 & 王津雨 & 徐嘉茵

校对:王津雨 & 徐嘉茵

策划:邵海灵 & 邹付容


Why exercise alone won’t save us

健身也救不了上班族


Sedentary lifestyles are killing us – we need to build activity into our everyday lives, not just leave it for the gym.

伏案久坐的生活方式无异于慢性自杀——我们要将健身活动融入生活日常,而不是寄希望于健身房。


This is the time of year when trainers are mined from under beds and gym kits are disinterred from the bottom drawer. Google searches relating to physical fitness peak in January. Many people even trawl the web to find out about “desk exercises” and “workouts on the go” in case they are too busy to use their new gym memberships.

新年新气象,也是大家把跑鞋从床底翻出来,把健身装备从最底层的抽屉里出来的时候了。每年一月,和体能健身相关的谷歌搜索量都会达到巅峰。很多人甚至对“办公桌椅巧健身”和“忙中健身小诀窍”展开了拉网式搜索,以防自己忙得没空去刷健身卡。

trainer [ˈtrenɚ] N. shoes that people wear, especially for running and other sports. 跑鞋,运动鞋

disinter [ˌdɪsɪnˈtə] V. When a dead body is disinterred, it is dug up from out of the ground. If you disinter something, you start using it again after it has not been used for a long time. 挖掘出(尸体),翻出许久不用的东西


Our relationship with exercise is complicated. Reports from the UK and the US show it is something we persistently struggle with. As the new year rolls around, we anticipate having the drive to behave differently and become regular exercisers, even in the knowledge that we will probably fail to do so. Why do we want to exercise? What do we expect it to do for us? We all know we are supposed to be exercising, but hundreds of millions of us can’t face actually doing it. It is just possible the problem lies at the heart of the idea of exercise itself.

锻炼这档事儿与我们的关系是很复杂的。英国和美国的相关报道都表明,锻炼是我们始终纠结挣扎的一件事。随着新年临近,我们都渴望拿出洗心革面的动力,做一个坚持锻炼的人,尽管知道自己十有八九坚持不下去。为什么我们想锻炼?我们想通过锻炼达到怎样的结果?众所周知,锻炼身体是理所当然的一件事,但是真要做起来,成千上万的人都根本做不到。所以没理由否认,问题或许就出在我们对“锻炼”的定义上。


Exercise is movement of the muscles and limbs for a specific outcome, usually to enhance physical fitness. As such, for most of us, it is an optional addition to the working day – yet another item on a long list of responsibilities alongside the fulfilment of parental duties or earning money to put food on the table. But because the principal beneficiary of exercise is ourselves, it is one of the easiest chores to shirk. At the end of the working day, millions of us prefer to indulge in sedentary leisure activities instead of what we all think is good for us: a workout.

锻炼,是为了达到特定结果而进行的肌肉和肢体的运动,往往是为了强健体魄。这对我们大部分人而言是工作之余的附加项——也是我们冗长无比的责任清单上,除了履行家长的义务和养家糊口之外的又一项内容。但因为这项活动的主要受益人的我们自己,所以它就变成了最容易偷懒的小事情。工作了一天回到家,成千上万的人宁愿放纵自己享受一些坐着不动就能放松的事情,也不想去做我们都知道对自己有益的事情:健身。

shirk [ʃɜrk] V. to escape one’s responsibility 逃避责任,偷懒


Fitness crazes are like diets: if any of them worked, there wouldn’t be so many. CrossFit, the intensely physical, communal workout incorporating free weights, squats, pull-ups and so forth, is still less than 20 years old. Spin classes – vigorous group workouts on stationary bikes – have only been around for about 30. Aerobics was a craze about a decade before that, although many of its high-energy routines had already been around for a while. (The pastel horror of 1970s Jazzercise is probably best forgotten.) Before that, there was the jogging revolution, which began in the US in the early 1960s. The Joggers Manual, published in 1963 by the Oregon Heart Foundation, was a leaflet of about 200 words that sought to address the postwar panic about sedentary lifestyles by encouraging an accessible form of physical activity, explaining that “jogging is a bit more than a walk”. The jogging boom took a few years to get traction, hitting its stride in the mid- to late-80s, but it remains one of the most popular forms of exercise, now also in groups.

一波又一波健身热就跟层出不穷的减肥食谱一样:要是真有管用的,就不会有这么多选择了。时下流行的混合健身——一种综合了举重、下蹲、引体向上等一系列动作的高强度体能训练——问世至今只有不到20年。极速单车——在固定于地面的自行车上进行动感十足的群体训练——也只有不到30年时间。在那之前,有氧健身曾经风靡了近十年,尽管其中很多高体能的组合动作早就已经成型了。(70年代爵士健美操的恐怖回忆最好还是忘了吧。)再往前算,是60年代早期始于美国的慢跑革命。俄勒冈心脏基金会于1963年发布了《慢跑指南》,这张通篇约200字的宣传单鼓励人们参与一些简单可行的锻炼活动,以缓解伏案久坐的生活方式引发的战后恐慌。传单解释说:“慢跑就是比走路快那么一点点。”过了好几年,直到80年代中后期,慢跑热才逐渐降温,但直到如今仍然是最流行的健身方式之一,而且也变成了一项群体运动。


The exercise craze that dominated the 1950s was, oddly, not even an exercise. The vibrating exercise belt promised users could achieve effortless weight loss by having their midriffs violently jiggled. It didn’t work, but you can still find similar machines available for purchase today.

很奇怪,在50年代独占鳌头的狂热健身方式,甚至连运动都算不上。震动腰带向顾客承诺:只要把肚腩上的一圈肉疯狂抖动一番,就能不费吹灰之力达到减肥的效果。虽然事与愿违,但功能类似的机器如今还能买得到。


These fads even came with their own particular fashions – legwarmers, leotards, Lycra. So is our obsession with fitness doomed to be the stuff of embarrassing passing “phases”? Is exercise itself a fad?

这些古怪热潮甚至催生了各自的周边:袜套、紧身连衣裤、莱卡。是否我们对健身的执着终究不过是在追逐稍纵即逝的时尚浪潮?是否健身本身也不过是心血来潮的狂热?


It is not news that we are becoming more sedentary as a species. The problem has been creeping up on us for generations. As industry and technology solved the physical demands of manual labour, they created new challenges for the human body.

人类静坐不动的时间越来越长,这已经不是新闻了。同样的问题困扰了我们一代又一代。工业和技术的发展解决了对人力劳动的需求,却为人类的身体制造了新的挑战。


Evidence about bone strength and density gleaned from fossils of early humans suggests that, for hundreds of thousands of years, normal levels of movement were much higher than ours today. And the range of work required of the human body to subsist was sizeable: everything from foraging for food and finding water to hunting, constructing basic shelters, manufacturing tools and evading predators. The fossil record tells us that many prehistoric humans were stronger and fitter than today’s Olympians.

从早期人类化石中收集的骨质强度和密度的证据表明,成百上千年以来,人类正常的活动强度都比现在的我们高得多,而且在过去,人类生存所需从事的工作种类是相当之多的:从种植食物、寻找水源,到外出狩猎、建造居所、生产工具,再到躲避猛兽。化石记录告诉我们,许多史前人都比现在的奥林匹克冠军更加强壮和健康。


A hundred years ago, while life was easier than it had been for our hunter-gatherer forebears, it was still required that shopping was fetched, floors scrubbed, wood chopped and washing done by hand. Modern urban environments do not invite anything like the same kinds of work from the body. It is not easy to clock up those miles when cities are built to prioritise cars and treat pedestrians as secondary. We are not assisted by our environments to move like we used to, for reasons tied up with motivation, safety and accessibility.

到了一百多年前,人类的生活已经比我们茹毛饮血的先祖容易很多了,但买了东西仍然要自己扛回来,地板还得自己刷,木柴还要自己劈,衣服还得用手洗。现代化的生活环境却不再需要我们的身体付出任何这样的劳动了。城市建设的原则是车辆优先,行人其次,所以城里人想走满几千里的步数都很难。出于种种原因——个人动机、安全性、可行性——环境并不支持我们像从前那样生活作息了。


Technological innovations have led to countless minor reductions of movement. To clean a rug in the 1940s, most people took it into their yard and whacked the bejeezus out of it for 20 minutes. Fast-forward a few decades and we can set robot vacuum cleaners to wander about our living rooms as we order up some shopping to be delivered, put on the dishwasher, cram a load into the washer-dryer, admire the self-cleaning oven, stack some machine-cut logs in the grate, pour a glass of milk from the frost-free fridge or thumb a capsule into the coffee maker. Each of these devices and behaviours is making it a bit more difficult for us to keep moving regularly throughout our day.

科技的创新为我们的日常活动做出了不计其数的微小减法。在40年代,要把拖把搓干净,大部分人都会把它拿到院子里,狠狠捶打个二十多分钟。把时间快进几十年,我们只需打开智能扫地机器人,让它在起居室里瞎转悠,而我们自己可以在网上购物,快递送货上门,打开洗碗机,再把一堆衣服塞进洗衣烘干机,然后赞叹一下家里带自洁功能的烤箱,往壁炉里塞一些机器劈好的木柴,再从无霜冰箱里拿出牛奶倒一杯,把胶囊推进咖啡机。每样产品和每个行为都让我们更难在一天的生活中持续而规律地运动了。


As we step through various innovations, we tend to think of the work that is no longer required as “saved”. Cleaning a rug once burned about 200 calories, while activating a robo-vac uses about 0.2 – an activity drop of a thousandfold, with nothing to replace it. Nobody, when they buy a labour-saving device, thinks: “How am I going to replace that movement I have saved?”

置身于这些琳琅满目的科技新品中,我们就会把不再需要从事的工作看成“省去”的麻烦。过去洗一次拖把大概要燃烧你200卡路里,现在呢,打开扫地机器人只需耗费约0.2卡路里——活动量减少了一千倍,却没有其他事情来替代。买来一台帮你省力的机器后,没有人会再去想:“省下来的力气我要花在哪儿好呢?”


A great deal of energy is also saved in the kinds of work that we now do. Towards the end of the 19th century, the labour market began to change radically. Office clerks were the fastest-growing occupational group in the latter half of the period. The UK census of 1841 suggests that 0.1% of working people performed administrative or office work at that time. By 1891, the number had increased twentyfold, and only kept increasing. One recent US survey estimated that 86% of today’s workforce is in sedentary employment.

我们现在从事的工作也是非常省力的。到19世纪末,劳动力市场出现了翻天覆地的变化。办公室职员在19世纪后半段成为了增长最快的职业群体。英国1841年的人口普查表明,当时只有0.1%的工作者从事行政管理或办公室工作。而到1891年,这个比例已经增加了20倍,而且继续在飙升。美国最近一项调查估计,如今86%的劳动人口都在从事伏案久坐的工作。


As a result of our leisurely lifestyles, our bones are thinner and our muscles weaker, and while these are not problems in themselves, they are part of the larger, fleshier story whereby the diminution of movement is shackling humans to the very biggest global killers. Heart disease and strokes are responsible for about 17 million deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization.

这种轻松舒适的生活方式导致的结果是:我们的骨头变细了,肌肉变弱了,但这不是骨骼和肌肉本身的问题。活动量的减少禁锢了人类的手脚,成为了全球的头号杀手。如果只关注骨骼与肌肉的变化,无异于管中窥豹。据世界卫生组织的调查,心脏病每年要夺去一千七百万人的生命。


All-day activity trackers like the Apple Watch and the Fitbit (which is only a decade old this year) have attempted to make an intervention into this sandpit of sedentariness. Widespread use of wearables may be helping people to move more, but technology created this problem of sedentary work and leisure, and cannot solve it alone.

Apple Watch和Fitbit(到今年为止面世只有十年)这样的全天运动追踪器试图介入人类久坐不动的困局。可穿戴设备的广泛使用或许能帮助人们多运动。但,久坐不动的工作方式和休闲方式虽然是科技造成的,却不是单靠科技就能解决的。


A 2015 report by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges called Exercise – theMiracle Cure said that regular exercise can assist in the prevention of strokes, some cancers, depression, heart disease and dementia, reducing risk by at least 30%. With regular exercise, the risk of bowel cancer drops by 45%, and of osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes by a whopping 50%.

英国皇家医学院学会在2015年发表了一篇报告,叫“锻炼——催生奇迹的药方”,称有规律的锻炼有助于预防心脏病、部分癌症、抑郁症和老年痴呆,将患病风险减少至少30%。如果进行常规锻炼,患肠癌的几率会减少45%,关节炎、高血压和2型糖尿病的患病风险则会降低50%之多。


Exercise, in these terms, is not a fad, or an option, or an add-on to our busy lifestyles: it is keeping us alive. But before it can work for us, our whole approach needs to change.

锻炼,从以上角度说,不是心血来潮,不是可有可无的选项,也不是忙碌生活的调味剂,而是我们的续命法宝。但,如果想让锻炼变得有效,我们的锻炼方法得整个改过来。


As a result of the Miracle Cure report, doctors were urged to promote regular exercise among their patients. Humans obviously need regular activity, but the modern world strives to take exertion out of our lives. Modernity is characterised by imperatives to simplify, improve and maximise efficiency. In much the same way, medical bodies trying to motivate the population to exercise promise big results with the absolute minimum of disruption to our busy, seated lives.

这篇“奇迹药方”的报告发表后,医生的压力也来了:他们得敦促病人进行有规律的锻炼。人类需要日常锻炼,这是显而易见的,可现代世界却竭力在让我们过上不花力气的生活。现代化的特征就是必须简化办事流程、提升效率、使效率最大化。那些动员人们锻炼健身的医学机构也在遵循同样的原则:承诺锻炼会带来卓越的成效,同时又把锻炼对我们久坐案前的忙碌生活造成的干扰降低到最小。


Anyone researching exercise strategies this new year will find that the government recommends “at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week and strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)”.

随便搜索一下新一年的健身指南,你就会发现政府推荐人们“每周至少进行150分钟中等强度的有氧训练,比如骑车或快走,并且每周至少有2天以上需要进行锻炼全身主要肌肉(腿、臀、背、腹、胸、肩、臂)的体能训练。”


If 150 minutes – or half an hour five times a week – is too much for you, and the data suggests that for most of us it is, another public health strategy promotes the efficacy of being active for just 10 minutes a day. Public Health England launched its Active10 campaign on the grounds that just 10 minutes’ brisk walking each day “counts as exercise” and “can reduce your risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers”.

如果150分钟——或者说每周五次、每次半小时的运动——对你来说太长了,而且数据显示我们大部分人的确觉得这个时间太长了,没关系,还有一个公共健康指南说,每天运动10分钟也会很有效。英国公共卫生部曾推广过一个免费的手机应用Active10,其依据是每天快走10分钟也能“算作是运动”,而且“能降低患上重疾的风险,如心脏病、2型糖尿病、老年痴呆和部分癌症”。


Even less time is required for high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which can involve bouts of just 20 seconds of intense effort a few times a week. It seems there is good evidence for the efficacy of very short bursts of strenuous anaerobic exercise, such as sprinting or cycling hard, followed by a brief recovery period. Interval training may improve insulin sensitivity and oxygen circulation, and increase muscle mass. But one of the early researchers into HIIT, kinesiologist Dr Martin Gibala, worried that despite its benefits, it required “an extremely high level of subject motivation”, because all-out exertion is unpleasant and can lead to dizziness, vomiting or injury. “Given the extreme nature of the exercise,” he wrote, “it is doubtful that the general population could safely or practically adopt the model.”

就连高强度间歇训练(HIIT)需要的时间也减少了,有的只需要你每周做几次20秒的高强度动作就够了。极短时间内爆发式的有氧运动,如百米冲刺或极速单车,然后稍作休息,这种运动的有效性似乎已经得到了充分的证明。间歇训练或许能提高胰岛素敏感度,加快体内的氧气循环,让你练出肌肉来,但最早研究HIIT的专家之一,运动学家马丁•吉比利的担忧是,这种运动即便有益,也需要辅以“强度极高的主体动机”,因为这种使劲浑身力气的运动方式是极不舒服的,可能会导致头晕、呕吐或受伤。他写道:“考虑到这种锻炼方式十分极端,普通人采取这种方式的安全性和可行性是让人怀疑的。”


While all of these three modes of exercise are effective in different ways, and each has its proponents and committed followers, none is an all-round solution for a “fit” human body. But the problem is not really with the exercises themselves; it is what we tend to do in between those bursts of activity.

虽然这三种锻炼方式都能产生不同的效果,而且每种方式都有其支持者和忠诚的拥护者,但没有单独一种能完全打造出“健康”的身体。不过问题并不在于锻炼方式本身,在不进行爆发式活动的时候,我们通常会去做什么,这才是症结所在。


The health effects of being sedentary are as common and recognisable as they are serious. Anxiety, depression, heart disease, breast and colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and the leading cause of global disability, back pain, are all driven by sedentary behaviours.

久坐对健康的不良影响不仅日益普遍、容易识别,而且比较严重。焦虑症、抑郁症、心脏病、乳腺癌、结肠癌、2型糖尿病、高血压、肥胖症、骨质疏松、关节炎,以及危害全世界人类健康的幕后黑手——背痛,全都是由久坐行为促发的。


For our bodies to function properly, they operate on the assumption that we will be burning calories throughout the day, and not in short bursts. It is clear that periods of sedentariness are bad for the human body, and some exercise is always going to be better than none; the issue is not really to do with the types of exercise, but with our approach to them and what we expect them to achieve. We know from the data that the human relationship with exercise is predominantly characterised as both optional and additional to an otherwise sedentary life, which itself causes a ton of problems. As long as physical activity is divorced from the real work of our lives, we will find reasons for not doing it.

为了让我们的身体正常运转,这些锻炼方式的工作原理建立在如下假设之上:我们一整天都在燃烧卡路里,而不是短时间迅速燃烧。很明显,久坐对人体是有害的,做些运动总比不做要好。问题并不在于采用哪种锻炼方式,而是我们如何参与锻炼以及预期达到的效果。通过数据,我们了解到,人类与锻炼之间关系的主要特征是,久坐不动是人类生活的常态,锻炼则是可选和附加的。这本身就会带来很多问题。只要体育运动与我们生活中的实际工作相脱节,我们就会找各种理由不去锻炼。


No matter how low the institutional expectations for physical activity drop, more of us fail to meet them each year. A Public Health England survey last year found that people in England are becoming so inactive that 40% of those aged between 40 and 60 walk briskly for less than 10 minutes a month. The reasons are numerous, but they seem to be connected to our notion of exercise, and the difference between short bursts of running or cycling and low-level, sustained physical activity. If we go back to the beginnings of exercise, we can see why it is still so problematic for us today.

相关机构对人们参与体育运动的预期已经下降得厉害,尽管如此,无法达到此预期的人数还在每年增多。英国公共卫生部去年的一项调查发现,英国人变得越来越不爱运动,40岁至60岁之间的人群中,有40%的人每月快步走的时间不到10分钟。原因有很多,但似乎都取决于我们对锻炼的理解,或者取决于短时内爆发式的跑步或骑车与低强度但持续性的体育运动之间的区别。如果我们追溯锻炼的起源,就能明白为什么时至今日它仍存在这么多问题。


The rise of exercise is synonymous with the rise of leisure. We associate this with the start of the Industrial Revolution, but in fact it dates from much earlier. Once humans settled and began to build, several thousand years ago, hierarchies began to form, particularly in cities, as did the gap between master and servant. To be one of the elite meant others were doing the physical work for you. For the masters, there was time to fill, and into this space grew the idea of leisure. Exercise also emerges here, in the imbalance created in the spread of labour performed across a population. Ever since, we have seen a powerful link between exercise and inequality.

锻炼的兴起就等同于休闲的兴起。虽然我们认为工业革命的开展促进了锻炼的兴起,但事实上锻炼的起源要早得多。几千年前,当人类定居下来并开始建造居所时,等级制度就开始形成,尤其在城市里,主人和仆人之间也开始产生差距。如果能成为一名精英,就意味着会有其他人为你做体力活。领导者们就有了空余时间需要打发,因此产生了休闲的想法。劳动力在总人口中逐渐扩散,造成比例失衡,锻炼行为由此而生。从那以后,我们目睹了锻炼行为和不平等之间的强大关联。


The wealthy men of ancient Greece, deprived of work by their slaves and with little else to do, invented a new place called the gymnasium, an open space in the city where they could strip off and gambol about naked, competing in made-up challenges to keep each other fit for war.

在古希腊,奴隶们从事体力劳动,有钱人们无所事事,就发明了叫做“体育馆”的新地方,这是城市中的一处开放空间,他们可以脱光衣服、追跑打闹,发起虚拟的挑战进行竞赛,以此保持身体健康、为打仗做准备。


Later, the Romans also celebrated the value of exercise. Cicero, the Roman politician and lawyer, said: “It is exercise alone that supports the spirits and keeps the mind in vigour.” Pliny the Younger, a writer and also a lawyer, said: “It is remarkable how one’s wits are sharpened by physical exercise.” Like their Greek gym buddies, these men were privileged and wealthy. They understood that even though the slave class did their work for them, exercise and physical activity were essential for a long and sane life.

后来,罗马人也开始推崇锻炼的价值。罗马政治家兼律师西塞罗表示:“只有锻炼才能支撑精神,保持头脑活力。”作家兼律师小普林尼则提出:“一个人的智慧将如何通过体育锻炼变得敏锐,这一点很值得注意。”和希腊进行健身的同道中人一样,这些罗马人享有特权,很是富有。他们明白,即使有奴隶阶级为他们劳作,锻炼和体育活动对他们的健康长寿也是必不可少的。


After the Greeks and Romans, exercise all but disappeared from western culture. It didn’t resurface properly until the 18th century, when inactivity became a problem for a certain class of gentleman. In 1797, the Monthly Magazine announced a new patent for Francis Lowndes’ Gymnasticon, the earliest of the static exercise machines – a frame in which the user sat, turning a spindle with his arms and operating a treadle with his feet. The article noted that “when peculiar or sedentary occupations enforce confinement to the house, it promises to be equally useful to the healthy as to the sick. The merchant, without withdrawing his attention from his accounts, and the student, while occupied in writing or reading, may have his lower limbs kept in constant motion by the slightest exertion, or, the assistance of a child.” The handle on the contraption’s lower spindle was arranged so that, if desired, a child could be employed to turn the wheel, to save the user valuable energy.

在希腊人和罗马人之后,锻炼行为却几乎从西方文化中消失了。直到18世纪,它才适时重新浮出水面,当时缺乏运动成为了困扰绅士阶层的一项问题。1979年,《每月杂志》上撰文公告了弗朗西斯•朗兹的健身器所获的专利权,这个最早的静态健身器是一个架子,使用者坐在上面,用胳膊转动一个轴承,同时用脚踩踏板。这篇文章指出,“因为从事特殊职业或需要久坐的职业的人们被迫困在屋里,所以这个健身器对他们来说,就像能治病一样。商人们目不转睛盯着账目的同时,或者学生们忙于写作和阅读的同时,只要稍稍一动,或者借助一个孩子的帮助,他们的下肢就能保持活动。”安装在这个装置下端主轴上的手柄设计妥当,所以如果需要的话,可以雇佣一个孩子来转动轮子,以节省使用者的宝贵能量。


In the early 20th century, calisthenics became popular among people with limited means of expending physical energy. In the opening pages of EM Forster’s Howards End, from 1910, we are introduced to the Wilcox family as they come and go in their country-house garden. They are “new money”; they see the world instrumentally, and are mostly allergic to it, too. A visitor reports the scene in a letter: “Then Evie comes out, and does some calisthenic exercises on a machine that is tacked on to a greengage tree – they put everything to use – and then she says ‘a-tissue,’ and in she goes.” Like inactivity, hay fever only seemed to afflict those higher up the social scale.

20世纪初,健美操在那些没什么办法消耗体力的人群中得以流行。在E.M.福斯特1910年出版的《霍华德庄园》一书的开篇中,我们看到了在乡间别墅的花园中来来往往的威尔科特斯家族成员,他们是“暴发户”,带着功利性的态度看待世界,大部分成员还对世界极其反感。一位访客在信中描述了以下场景:“然后伊维走出来,用青梅树上挂着的一台机器做了一会健美操——他们把所有东西都利用起来了——然后她念叨了一句‘得拿张纸巾’,就走回了屋中。”就像缺乏运动一样,花粉病好像只会折磨那些社会地位较高的人。


In 1831 the Journal of Health defined calisthenics as “a reasonable, methodical, and regular employment of the exercises best calculated to develop the physical powers of young girls, without detriment to the perfecting of the moral faculties”. Its adoption was necessary because “young girls have not the same freedom as boys in their outdoor exercise, and their customary amusements and occupations, when not at school, are of a more sedentary nature”.

1831年,《健康杂志》把健美操定义为“一种合理的、系统性的、规律性的运动,它经过完美设计,目的是在不损害完善道德能力的前提下,增强年轻女孩的身体力量”。采用此项运动很有必要,因为“在户外运动方面,年轻女孩不像男孩有那么多自由,她们不上学时通常参与的娱乐活动和职业,更加具有久坐性质。”


Since our modern way of life denies many of us the physical exertion that kept our ancestors healthy, one way to gain social capital is to add it back in.

现代生活方式让许多人无法从事那些能让我们祖先保持健康的强体力劳动,所以,当今人们获得社会资本的方法之一,就是把这些体力活动再加回到生活中。


Any kind of communal exercise gives us a sense of belonging, of shared values and endeavours, aside even from its more general physical and mental benefits. When people gather together in a gym or in an exercise class, at least one aspect of what they are doing is joining together in a civic activity that ensures their collective survival, just like the ancient Greeks before them.

任何一项集体活动,除了给我们带来更为熟知的身心上的益处,还能让我们收获归属感、共同的价值观和努力后的成就感。当人们聚集在体育馆中或健身课上时,他们此时的行为,至少在某一方面上,相当于是共同参与到一种能确保集体生存的公民活动中,就像早先的古希腊人一样。


If being fit promotes long life, you might expect being an elite athlete to help you reach a ripe old age. It doesn’t. Olympians buy themselves an extra 2.8 years on average, according to a 2012 study. Devoting your life to sport and exercise will buy you more time, but once you factor in the Olympians’ lifelong sustained attention to diet and healthy living, as well as tens of thousands of hours spent training, 2.8 years might not really seem sufficient recompense.

如果说保持健康能延长寿命,你可能会希望成为一名优秀运动员,来帮助你活到足够老的年龄。但它不能。2012年一项研究显示,奥运会选手的平均寿命会多出2.8年。把一生都投入到运动和锻炼中,将会使你活得更久,但一旦你考虑到,如果要像奥运会选手那样,一辈子都要持续关注饮食和健康生活,同时要花费数万小时在训练上,2.8年似乎真算不上什么值得的回报。


Instead, the fittest and healthiest people on the planet have never been to a gym. These people, who report high levels of wellbeing and live extraordinarily long lives, inhabit what have been called “blue zones” – areas where lifestyles lead to peculiar longevity. The term was coined by two demographers, Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, who, while collecting data on clusters of centenarians on the island of Sardinia, identified places of especially high longevity on their map with a blue felt-tip pen. Because clusters of long-lived people are often found in geographically remote places (also including parts of Okinawa, Costa Rica and Greece), jackpot genes seem like a strong candidate to explain their longevity. But a famous study of Danish twins has concluded that a long life seems to be only “moderately heritable”. Over the years, many studies have looked at the lifestyles of people in “blue zones” and found that a number of their customs and habits contribute to a long life (everything from a sense of belonging and purpose to not smoking, or eating a predominantly plant-based diet). In the list of contributory factors, there is a noticeable absence of exercise.

但是,世上最健康的人反倒从未去过健身房。据称,这些人身心非常健康,也特别长寿,他们居住在被称为“蓝色宝地”的地方——在那里,生活方式才是人们活得特别长久的主要原因。人口学家詹尼•佩斯和迈克尔•普兰创造了这一术语,他们当时正在撒丁岛上的百岁老人聚居地收集数据,用一支蓝色签字笔在地图上标记出人类特别长寿的地方。因为长寿人群的聚居地通常是在地理位置比较偏远的地方(包括冲绳县、哥斯达黎加和希腊的部分地区),基因的聚集似乎能成为解释长寿的一个重要因素。但有一项针对丹麦双胞胎的著名研究表明,长寿似乎仅仅只能适度遗传。多年来,许多研究已开始关注“蓝色宝地”居民的生活方式,并发现他们有一些习俗和生活习惯是有利于长寿的(从归属感、坚决不吸烟、或是坚持以植物性饮食为主等种种细节可以发现)。然而,“运动”却并不属于有利于长寿的因素。


I travelled to Sardinia to meet Pes and find out more about his work. He has a vested interest in longevity. His great uncle was a supercentenarian (living beyond 110). The years that Pes is interested in finding out more about are the good ones, not those spent with 24-hour care in a nursing home (there are also none of these in Sardinia’s blue zones). A trial by a group of gerontologists based at Boston University reported that 10% of supercentenarians made it to the final three months of their lives without being troubled by major age-related diseases.

我到撒丁岛与佩斯见面,更多地了解他的工作。在长寿这个领域,他可是有切身体验——他的叔祖父就是一个超级百岁老人(年纪超过110岁)。佩斯的兴趣在于去研究长寿人群处于健康身体状态的那些年月,而不是去研究人们在养老院中接受24小时护理的那段时间(撒丁岛蓝色宝地的居民就没住过养老院)。波士顿大学的一群老年病学家进行试验发现,10%的超级百岁老人直到他们生命的最后三个月之前,都未曾受到主要老年疾病的困扰。


In my conversation with Pes, he repeatedly stressed that while diet and environment are important components of longevity, being sedentary is the enemy, and sustained, low-level activity is the key that research by him and others has uncovered: not the intense kinds of activity we tend to associate with exercise, but energy expended throughout the day. The supercentenarians he has worked with all walked several miles each day throughout their working lives. They never spent much time, if any, seated at desks.

在跟佩斯交流的过程中,他反复强调,饮食跟环境是长寿的重要影响因素,久坐则是长寿的大敌,同时他与其他研究人员共同发现,持续性低强度运动也是关键所在:真正产生影响的是人在一天之中消耗多少能量,而不是说做了多少激烈运动。与他一同工作过的超级百岁老人都会在日常工作中坚持每天走好几英里。即便是有需要,他们也不会花太多时间坐在办公桌前。


Pes has recently been studying workers in one of the island’s regions of longevity, Seulo (population around 1,000). He discovered one group of women who had spent their working lives seated, but nonetheless reached a great age. They had been working treadles (pedal-powered sewing machines), which meant they had regularly burned sufficient calories to derive the longevity benefits of remaining active. (Lowndes’ Gymnasticon, which works like a treadle, is starting to look a little less ridiculous as a solution for sedentary workers.)

佩斯最近一直在撒丁岛上的塞乌洛(长寿区域之一,人口约1000)对工人进行研究。他发现有一群女性尽管在工作时间内一直静坐,但还是很长寿。她们通过踩脚踏板进行工作(使用脚踏式缝纫机),这也就意味着她们一直都在有规律性地燃烧充足的卡路里,从而通过保持活动量来实现长寿。(前文提到的朗兹发明的健身器,其工作原理就类似于机器踏板,这么一看,说它是治疗久坐的一种方式,就开始显得没那么荒谬了。)


For all the trillions invested in healthcare year on year, there are regions in high-income nations (such as the UK and the US) where life expectancy is still as low as it was in the mid-60s. In Tower Hamlets, one of the poorer parts of London, men can only expect an average of 61 years of good health – and women just 56.

尽管人们年复一年地在医疗保健方面投入数万亿资金,但在一些高收入水平的国家里(比如英国和美国),还有部分地区人口的预期寿命跟六十年代时一样短。陶尔哈姆莱茨区是伦敦比较贫穷的地区之一,在那里,男性的平均预期健康寿命仅为61岁,女性则仅为56岁。


So far, researchers agree that sustained periods of low-level activity seem to work well. Aiming for 10,000 steps a day is a good idea, but 15,000 better resembles the distances likely covered by our prehistoric ancestors, and indeed by those Sardinian centenarians.

到目前为止,研究人员认为,持续性低强度运动似乎有好的效果。日行一万步是个好主意,但一万五千步是更好的选择,这是我们的祖先的选择,也是撒丁岛百岁老人的选择。


For those of us who can’t move to Sardinia and become a shepherd, a review published in the Lancet in 2016 found that “high levels of moderate-intensity physical activity (ie, about 60-75 min per day) seem to eliminate the increased risk of death associated with high sitting time”.

2016年有一篇刊登在《柳叶刀》的评论曾提到,对于像我们这样没法搬到撒丁岛上成为一个牧羊者的人而言,“中高等强度的体育运动(比方说每天60-75分钟),似乎能消除因为久坐而引发的不断增加的死亡风险”。


So even if we go to the gym on a Saturday morning, our absolute inactivity at other times can still be damaging to the body. Low and moderate activity for longer or sustained periods seems to produce the best results. It looks like excessive high-intensity activity (the kind we see in elite athletes) drives metabolism and cell turnover, and may even, when all factors are taken into account, accelerate the ageing process.

因此,即使我们周六早上去健身房,我们在其它时间段的绝对静止仍旧会对身体造成损害。较长时间的或是持续性的中低强度运动似乎能产生最好的效果。过度的高强度运动(即优秀运动员的日常)看似能促进新陈代谢和细胞更替,但综合考虑各种因素之后,这也许反而会加速衰老过程。

Metabolism [mɛ’tæbəlɪzəm] n. the organic processes (in a cell or organism) that are necessary for life  新陈代谢


As those all-day activity trackers continue to mature into their second decade, they will no doubt find better ways of encouraging us out of our chairs. At the moment, though, they can only count the things we have done, not the opportunities for movement we have missed. They make us more likely to be attentive to our activity than our inactivity.

随着各种全天运动追踪程序进入第二个十年的成熟发展阶段,这无疑会为鼓励我们离开椅子去做运动提供更好的方式。尽管到那时,它们还是只能统计我们完成了什么,而不是我们错过了什么运动机会。但它们会让我们更多地去关注运动,而非静止。


After two centuries of trying, we should accept that exercise is not working as a global fitness strategy while it remains an addition to the working day. In the long view, it is starting to look a lot like a fad. Government guidelines in the UK and other countries that encourage sport and exercise are failing. These strategies struggle because we are trying to get people to give up what little leisure time they have to pursue activities that require substantial additional effort.

在经过两个世纪的尝试之后,我们应该接受这一事实:当锻炼仅仅只是作为工作日的附加物而存在时,它就不算是一项全球健康策略。从长远来看,它开始变得更像是一时的狂热。英国和其它国家关于鼓励运动和锻炼的政府准则正走向失败。这些策略之所以还在作最后挣扎,是因为我们也正在尽力让人们放弃花费闲暇时间去做那些需要持续努力才能成功的运动。


Perhaps instead we should encourage people to make the kinds of daily decisions that result in a healthier life. What is needed are the kinds of strategies that would make exercise unnecessary. Urban planning that better addresses the outdoor experience and encourages movement would be a key part of this change. But on an individual level, we can think about returning a little of the friction that technology has so subtly smoothed out for us, and make it easy to get things done. Exercise becomes physical activity when it is part of your daily life.

也许,我们应该鼓励人们去做一些能够使自己过得更健康的日常决定。我们需要制定策略,让锻炼不再是必须完成的任务。更好地强调户外体验和鼓励运动的城市规划,将会是此次改革的关键环节。但从个人层面来看,虽然科技已经巧妙消除了一些生活不便,但我们可以考虑再把这些不便引入生活中,同时想些办法来很容易地做完这些事情。当锻炼成为了我们日常生活的一部分,它就变成了平时就身体力行的活动。


A year ago, my car lease came up for renewal. I had been a driver for nearly 30 years, but after all the alarming research I had read about the impact of modern lifestyles, I could not possibly keep it. I now walk miles more than I used to. Without a car, getting to the gym involved a 70-minute round trip. By the time I had walked there and back, the workouts seemed less necessary, so I cancelled my membership.

一年前,我的汽车租约该续期了。我已经开了快三十年的车,但在研读了所有关于现代生活方式影响的发人深省的研究之后,我发现自己不可能再这样继续下去了。现在,我走的距离比往常要多。因为没有车,我去健身房来回要花70分钟。等我走完了一趟来回之后,锻炼似乎变得没那么必要了,所以我取消了会员资格。


I tried other things, too. I experimented with a standing desk, but I knew from Pes’s research in Sardinia that it is not sitting itself that is bad, but the inactivity associated with it. Standing in one place for hours is only marginally better than sitting there. The Gymnasticon is also making a comeback. Its new incarnation is the treadmill desk, which seeks to keep office workers permanently on the move. From a health perspective it seems superb, but it is hardly practical. Getting a less comfortable office chair would probably be as effective a strategy, making it less easy to settle into for long periods of immobility.

我也在尝试别的东西。我试验过站在桌前办公,但是从佩斯在撒丁岛的研究中可以得知,静坐本身并非有害,由此产生的不活动才是有害。在一个地方站几个小时比静坐在那好不了多少。体育运动目前再度流行起来。跑步机办公桌就是新式典型,目的在于让办公室的人一直处于运动状态。从健康角度看来,它是极好的,但不切实际。弄一把没那么舒适的办公椅或许还会比较有效,这会让人不那么容易习惯于长时间的不活动状态。


You don’t have to join a gym this year. The numbers tell us that exercise is not the solution to the problems associated with physical inactivity, for the simple reason that these two things are not opposites. The antidote is activity: to find and recover some of the movement that modern life has been taking from us for centuries.

今年你就没有必要去健身房啦。数据告诉我们,运动不是解决缺乏身体锻炼的方法,原因很简单,这两件事本来就不是对立的。活动才是正解:我们要找到并且恢复长久以来现代生活从我们身上夺走的活动。


Vybarr Cregan-Reid is the author of Primate Change: How the World We Made Is Changing Us, which is available to buy at guardianbookshop.com

为什么健身并不能拯救你的人生?

  • 本文原载于 The Guardian

  • 原文链接: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/jan/03/why-exercise-alone-wont-save-us



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为什么健身并不能拯救你的人生?


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