Mon, Apr 30, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Researchers ferret out reasons for runner’s high
研究人員找出跑者愉悅感的原因

Runners recover after crossing the finish line of the 2012 London Marathon on April 22.
參加二○一二倫敦馬拉松的跑者四月二十二日在完跑後舒展筋骨調整呼吸。

Photo: AFP
照片:法新社

You have probably had the feeling before. Your running shoes are pounding the pavement — then suddenly your pain fades away, and you are feeling euphoric. The runner’s high.

That biological perk, however, may be limited to mammals that evolved for endurance exercise — like us. So says a study in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Researchers had humans and dogs — both natural-born runners — jog a half hour on a treadmill. Then they sampled their blood for endocannabinoids, some of the compounds thought to trigger the runner’s high.

As expected, humans and dogs had much higher levels after the run. But when sedentary ferrets took the same 30-minute trot, they had no spike in those feel-good molecules.

The authors have ferreted out the reason, saying it was because long-distance running could have helped our hunter-gatherer ancestors find more food, thus increasing their reproductive success, and they speculate that natural selection may have linked up a feel-good reward to that beneficial behavior.

These days, of course, this ancient trait will not help us find extra calories, but it may encourage us to run them off.

(Liberty Times)

你大概有過這樣的感覺。你的跑鞋沉重地踩在路上─突然間痛苦逐漸消失,你感覺愉快。跑者的愉悅感。

但是,那種生物性振奮狀態或許只限於經演化成適合耐力運動的哺乳動物─像我們人類。《實驗性生物學》期刊上的一份研究這麼說。

研究人員讓人和狗在跑步機上跑三十分鐘─這兩種動物都是天生的跑者。接著,採集他們的血液樣本,檢驗內生性大麻鹼,這種化學物質據信會引發跑者愉悅感。

一如預期地,人和狗跑步後,血液中內生性大麻鹼都高得多。但是,定棲性貂鼠同樣跑三十分鐘後,血液中這種產生愉悅感的分子數量卻沒有提高。

報告作者查出這是因為長距離跑步,可能幫助我們以打獵採集為生的祖先找到更多食物,從而促進他們繁殖成功。研究者推測,物競天擇或許讓愉悅回饋機制與這種有利於生存的行為產生關連。

當然,這種祖先留下來的天性,在今日不會幫助我們取得更多熱量,反而是鼓勵我們擺脫卡路里。

(自由時報/翻譯:管淑平)

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. fade away v. phr.

逐漸消失、衰弱 (zhu2 jian4 xiao1 shi1, shuai1 ruo4)

例: Our parents are fading away as they get older.

(我們的父母日漸年邁,身體正逐漸衰弱。)

2. perk n.

振奮 (zhen4 fen4)

例: I felt a sudden perk after drinking three cups of coffee.

(我喝了三杯咖啡而突然感到振奮。)

3. ferret out v. phr.

查出 (cha2 chu1)

例: It will take years to ferret out the truth.

(要查出真相得花上數年。)


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